Posts Tagged 'pathogens'



Parasitic infection alters the physiological response of a marine gastropod to ocean acidification

Increased hydrogen ion concentration and decreased carbonate ion concentration in seawater are the most physiologically relevant consequences of ocean acidification (OA). Changes to either chemical species may increase the metabolic cost of physiological processes in marine organisms, and reduce the energy available for growth, reproduction and survival. Parasitic infection also increases the energetic demands experienced by marine organisms, and may reduce host tolerance to stressors associated with OA. This study assessed the combined metabolic effects of parasitic infection and OA on an intertidal gastropod, Zeacumantus subcarinatus. Oxygen consumption rates and tissue glucose content were recorded in snails infected with one of three trematode parasites, and an uninfected control group, maintained in acidified (7·6 and 7·4 pH) or unmodified (8·1 pH) seawater. Exposure to acidified seawater significantly altered the oxygen consumption rates and tissue glucose content of infected and uninfected snails, and there were clear differences in the magnitude of these changes between snails infected with different species of trematode. These results indicate that the combined effects of OA and parasitic infection significantly alter the energy requirements of Z. subcarinatus, and that the species of the infecting parasite may play an important role in determining the tolerance of marine gastropods to OA.

Continue reading ‘Parasitic infection alters the physiological response of a marine gastropod to ocean acidification’

Parasitic infection: a buffer against ocean acidification?

Recently, there has been a concerted research effort by marine scientists to quantify the sensitivity of marine organisms to ocean acidification (OA). Empirical data generated by this research have been used to predict changes to marine ecosystem health, biodiversity and productivity that will be caused by continued acidification. These studies have also found that the effects of OA on marine organisms can be significantly modified by additional abiotic stressors (e.g. temperature or oxygen) and biotic interactions (e.g. competition or predation). To date, however, the effects of parasitic infection on the sensitivity of marine organisms to OA have been largely ignored. We show that parasitic infection significantly altered the response of a marine gastropod to simulated OA conditions by reducing the mortality of infected individuals relative to uninfected conspecifics. Without the inclusion of infection data, our analysis would not have detected the significant effect of pH on host mortality. These results strongly suggest that parasitic infection may be an important confounding factor in OA research and must be taken into consideration when assessing the response of marine species to OA.

Continue reading ‘Parasitic infection: a buffer against ocean acidification?’

Photosynthetic responses of ‘Neosiphonia sp. epiphyte-infected’ and healthy Kappaphycus alvarezii (Rhodophyta) to irradiance, salinity and pH variations

Understanding the physiological condition of seaweeds as influenced by biotic and abiotic stress is vital from the perspective of massive expansion and sustainability of seaweed-based industries. The photosynthetic responses of Neosiphonia sp. epiphyte-infected (INF) and healthy (HEA) Kappaphycus alvarezii under various combinations of irradiance, salinity and pH were studied using photosynthesis-irradiance (P-E) curves. Measurements of algal photosynthetic rates, expressed in terms of amount of oxygen production per fresh weight biomass per unit time (mg O2 g−1 FW h−1), were carried out using the light-dark bottle technique. Neosiphonia-infected K. alvarezii (INF) had lower photosynthetic rates than healthy ones (HEA). Similarities (p > 0.05) in light-saturated photosynthesis rates (P max) and significant differences (p < 0.05) in initial slope of curve (α) between INF and HEA K. alvarezii suggest that both samples are adapted to similar light conditions and differs only on photosynthetic efficiency. Low P max (0.7–2.0 mg O2 g−1 FW h−1) and high initial saturation irradiances (E k  = 90–519 μmol photons m−2 s−1) of INF seaweeds resulted to their low photosynthetic efficiency (α = 0.002–0.010). Such decline in α is attributed to the epiphyte, as Neosiphonia sp. covered almost the entire surface of K. alvarezii. An increase in chlorophyll-a (35–42.1 vs. 27.7–31.5 μg g−1 FW, HEA) and phycobilin (1.96–2.39 vs. 1.16–1.58 mg g−1 FW, HEA) contents was also observed in INF samples, suggesting acclimation to low-irradiance conditions, as a result of competition for light between the epiphyte and host. Both INF and HEA K. alvarezii also exhibited broad photosynthetic tolerance to short-term changes in irradiance, with no photoinhibition at the highest irradiance of 850 μmol photons m−2 s−1. K. alvarezii had a euryhaline photosynthetic response, with optimum salinity of 35 psu. Photosynthetic rates increased with decreasing pH, revealing K. alvarezii’s ability to modify its photosynthetic affinity for acidic seawater conditions; yet, their underlying mechanism of response to pH shifts still need to be further examined.

Continue reading ‘Photosynthetic responses of ‘Neosiphonia sp. epiphyte-infected’ and healthy Kappaphycus alvarezii (Rhodophyta) to irradiance, salinity and pH variations’

Interactive effects of parasitic infection and ocean acidification on the calcification of a marine gastropod

The interactive effects of ocean acidification (OA) and parasitic infection have the potential to alter the performance of many marine organisms. Parasitic infection can affect host organisms’ response to abiotic stressors, and vice versa, while the response of marine organisms to stressors associated with OA can vary within and between taxonomic groups (host or parasite). Accordingly, it seems likely that the combination of infection stress and the novel stressors associated with OA could alter previously stable host–parasite interactions. This study is a detailed investigation into the changes to shell growth, dissolution, and tensile strength in the New Zealand mud snail Zeacumantus subcarinatus caused by trematode infection in combination with exposure to simulated OA conditions. This study also tests the effects of reduced pH on snails infected by 3 different trematode species to investigate potential species-specific effects of infection. After a 90 d exposure to 3 pH treatments (pH 8.1, 7.6, and 7.4), acidified seawater caused significant reductions in shell growth, length, and tensile strength in all snails. Trematode infected snails displayed increased shell growth and dissolution and reduced shell strength relative to uninfected conspecifics. In all measured variables, there were also significant differences between snails maintained at the same pH but infected by different species of parasite. These results indicate that parasitic infection has the potential to alter host organisms’ response to OA and that the magnitude of this effect varies among parasite species.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of parasitic infection and ocean acidification on the calcification of a marine gastropod’

Technical Note: Maximising accuracy and minimising cost of a potentiometrically regulated ocean acidification simulation system (update)

This article describes a potentiometric ocean acidification simulation system which automatically regulates pH through the injection of 100% CO2 gas into temperature-controlled seawater. The system is ideally suited to long-term experimental studies of the effect of acidification on biological processes involving small-bodied (10–20 mm) calcifying or non-calcifying organisms. Using hobbyist-grade equipment, the system was constructed for approximately USD 1200 per treatment unit (tank, pH regulation apparatus, chiller, pump/filter unit). An overall tolerance of ±0.05 pHT units (SD) was achieved over 90 days in two acidified treatments (7.60 and 7.40) at 12 °C using glass electrodes calibrated with synthetic seawater buffers, thereby preventing liquid junction error. The performance of the system was validated through the independent calculation of pHT (12 °C) using dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity data taken from discrete acidified seawater samples. The system was used to compare the shell growth of the marine gastropod Zeacumantus subcarinatus infected with the trematode parasite Maritrema novaezealandensis with that of uninfected snails at pH levels of 7.4, 7.6, and 8.1.

Continue reading ‘Technical Note: Maximising accuracy and minimising cost of a potentiometrically regulated ocean acidification simulation system (update)’

Viral attack exacerbates the susceptibility of a bloom-forming alga to ocean acidification

Both ocean acidification and viral infection bring about changes in marine phytoplankton physiological activities and community composition. However, little information is available on how the relationship between phytoplankton and viruses may be affected by ocean acidification and what impacts this might have on photosynthesis-driven marine biological CO2 pump. Here we show that when the harmful bloom alga Phaeocystis globosa is infected with viruses under future ocean conditions, its photosynthetic performance further decreased and cells became more susceptible to stressful light levels, showing enhanced photoinhibition and reduced carbon fixation, up-regulation of mitochondrial respiration and decreased virus burst size. Our results indicate that ocean acidification exacerbates the impacts of viral attack on P. globosa, which implies that, while ocean acidification directly influences marine primary producers, it may also affect them indirectly by altering their relationship with viruses. Therefore, viruses as a biotic stressor need to be invoked when considering the overall impacts of climate change on marine productivity and carbon sequestration.

Continue reading ‘Viral attack exacerbates the susceptibility of a bloom-forming alga to ocean acidification’

Technical Note: maximising accuracy and minimising cost of a potentiometrically regulated ocean acidification simulation system

This article describes a potentiometric ocean acidification simulation system which automatically regulates pH through the injection of 100% CO2 gas into temperature-controlled seawater. The system is ideally suited to long-term experimental studies of the effect of acidification on biological processes involving small-bodied (10–20 mm) calcifying or non-calcifying organisms. Using hobbyist grade equipment, the system was constructed for approximately USD 1200 per treatment unit (tank, pH regulation apparatus, chiller, pump/filter unit). An overall accuracy of ±0.05 pHT units (SD) was achieved over 90 days in two acidified treatments (7.60 and 7.40) at 12 °C using glass electrodes calibrated with salt water buffers, thereby preventing liquid junction error. The accuracy of the system was validated through the independent calculation of pHT (12 °C) using dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (AT) data taken from discrete acidified seawater samples. The system was used to compare the shell growth of the marine gastropod Zeacumantus subcarinatus infected with the trematode parasite Maritrema novaezealandensis with that of uninfected snails, at pH levels of 7.4, 7.6, and 8.1.

Continue reading ‘Technical Note: maximising accuracy and minimising cost of a potentiometrically regulated ocean acidification simulation system’


Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,298,284 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book