Posts Tagged 'performance'

Effects of elevated carbon dioxide and temperature on locomotion and the repeatability of lateralization in a keystone marine mollusc

Recent work has shown that the behaviour of marine organisms can be affected by elevated pCO2, although little is known about the effect of multiple stressors. We therefore investigated the effect of elevated pCO2 and temperature on locomotion and behaviour during prey searching in the marine gastropod Concholepas concholepas, a predator characteristic of the southeastern Pacific coast. Movement duration, decision time, route finding and lateralization were measured using a T-maze tank with a prey positioned behind a barrier. Four treatments, representing present day and near-future scenarios of ocean acidification and warming were used in rearing the individuals for 6 months. Regardless of the treatment, no significant differences were found in relative and absolute lateralization before and after exposure for 6 months. However, relative lateralization was not repeatable for animals tested after 6 months at elevated pCO2 at both experimental temperatures, whereas it was repeatable in individuals kept at the present day level of pCO2. We suggest that these effects may be related to a behavioural malfunction caused by elevated pCO2. Movement duration, decision time and route finding were not repeatable. However, movement duration and decision time increased and route finding decreased in elevated pCO2 (at 15°C), suggesting that elevated pCO2 has negative effects on the locomotor and sensory performance of C. concholepas in the presence of a prey odour, thereby decreasing their ability to forage efficiently.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated carbon dioxide and temperature on locomotion and the repeatability of lateralization in a keystone marine mollusc’

Intertidal pool fish Girella laevifrons (Kyphosidae) shown strong physiological homeostasis but shy personality: The cost of living in hypercapnic habitats

Tide pools habitats are naturally exposed to a high degree of environmental variability. The consequences of living in these extreme habitats are not well established. In particular, little it is known about of the effects of hypercanic seawater (i.e. high pCO2 levels) on marine vertebrates such as intertidal pool fish. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of increased pCO2 on the physiology and behavior in juveniles of the intertidal pool fish Girella laevifrons. Two nominal pCO2 concentrations (400 and 1600 μatm) were used. We found that exposure to hypercapnic conditions did not affect oxygen consumption and absorption efficiency. However, the lateralization and boldness behavior was significantly disrupted in high pCO2 conditions. In general, a predator-risk cost of boldness is assumed, thus the increased occurrence of shy personality in juvenile fishes may result in a change in the balance of this biological interaction, with significant ecological consequences.

Continue reading ‘Intertidal pool fish Girella laevifrons (Kyphosidae) shown strong physiological homeostasis but shy personality: The cost of living in hypercapnic habitats’

Mineralogical plasticity acts as a compensatory mechanism to the impacts of ocean acidification

Calcifying organisms are considered particularly susceptible to the future impacts of ocean acidification (OA), but recent evidence suggests that they may be able to maintain calcification and overall fitness. The underlying mechanism remains unclear but may be attributed to mineralogical plasticity, which modifies the energetic cost of calcification. To test the hypothesis that mineralogical plasticity enables the maintenance of shell growth and functionality under OA conditions, we assessed the biological performance of a gastropod (respiration rate, feeding rate, somatic growth, and shell growth of Austrocochlea constricta) and analyzed its shell mechanical and geochemical properties (shell hardness, elastic modulus, amorphous calcium carbonate, calcite to aragonite ratio, and magnesium to calcium ratio). Despite minor metabolic depression and no increase in feeding rate, shell growth was faster under OA conditions, probably due to increased precipitation of calcite and trade-offs against inner shell density. In addition, the resulting shell was functionally suitable for increasingly “corrosive” oceans, i.e., harder and less soluble shells. We conclude that mineralogical plasticity may act as a compensatory mechanism to maintain overall performance of calcifying organisms under OA conditions and could be a cornerstone of calcifying organisms to acclimate to and maintain their ecological functions in acidifying oceans.

Continue reading ‘Mineralogical plasticity acts as a compensatory mechanism to the impacts of ocean acidification’

Effects of ocean acidification on the potency of macroalgal allelopathy to a common coral

Many coral reefs have phase shifted from coral to macroalgal dominance. Ocean acidification (OA) due to elevated CO2 is hypothesised to advantage macroalgae over corals, contributing to these shifts, but the mechanisms affecting coral-macroalgal interactions under OA are unknown. Here, we show that (i) three common macroalgae are more damaging to a common coral when they compete under CO2 concentrations predicted to occur in 2050 and 2100 than under present-day conditions, (ii) that two macroalgae damage corals via allelopathy, and (iii) that one macroalga is allelopathic under conditions of elevated CO2, but not at ambient levels. Lipid-soluble, surface extracts from the macroalga Canistrocarpus (=Dictyota) cervicornis were significantly more damaging to the coral Acropora intermedia growing in the field if these extracts were from thalli grown under elevated vs ambient concentrations of CO2. Extracts from the macroalgae Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Amansia glomerata were not more potent when grown under elevated CO2. Our results demonstrate increasing OA advantages seaweeds over corals, that algal allelopathy can mediate coral-algal interactions, and that OA may enhance the allelopathy of some macroalgae. Other mechanisms also affect coral-macroalgal interactions under OA, and OA further suppresses the resilience of coral reefs suffering blooms of macroalgae.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on the potency of macroalgal allelopathy to a common coral’

Effect of elevated carbon dioxide on shoal familiarity and metabolism in a coral reef fish

Atmospheric CO2 is expected to more than double by the end of the century. The resulting changes in ocean chemistry will affect the behaviour, sensory systems and physiology of a range of fish species. Although a number of past studies have examined effects of CO2 in gregarious fishes, most have assessed individuals in social isolation, which can alter individual behaviour and metabolism in social species. Within social groups, a learned familiarity can develop following a prolonged period of interaction between individuals, with fishes preferentially associating with familiar conspecifics because of benefits such as improved social learning and greater foraging opportunities. However, social recognition occurs through detection of shoal-mate cues; hence, it may be disrupted by near-future CO2 conditions. In the present study, we examined the influence of elevated CO2 on shoal familiarity and the metabolic benefits of group living in the gregarious damselfish species the blue-green puller (Chromis viridis). Shoals were acclimated to one of three nominal CO2 treatments: control (450 µatm), mid-CO2 (750 µatm) or high-CO2 (1000 µatm). After a 4–7 day acclimation period, familiarity was examined using a choice test, in which individuals were given the choice to associate with familiar shoal-mates or unfamiliar conspecifics. In control conditions, individuals preferentially associated with familiar shoal-mates. However, this association was lost in both elevated-CO2 treatments. Elevated CO2 did not impact the calming effect of shoaling on metabolism, as measured using an intermittent-flow respirometry methodology for social species following a 17–20 day acclimation period to CO2 treatment. In all CO2 treatments, individuals exhibited a significantly lower metabolic rate when measured in a shoal vs. alone, highlighting the complexity of shoal dynamics and the processes that influence the benefits of shoaling.

Continue reading ‘Effect of elevated carbon dioxide on shoal familiarity and metabolism in a coral reef fish’

Ocean acidification adversely influences metabolism, extracellular pH and calcification of an economically important marine bivalve, Tegillarca granosa

Oceanic uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere has significantly reduced surface seawater pH and altered the carbonate chemistry within, leading to global Ocean Acidification (OA). The blood clam, Tegillarca granosa, is an economically and ecologically significant marine bivalve that is widely distributed along the coastal and estuarine areas of Asia. To investigate the physiological responses to OA, blood clams were exposed to ambient and three reduced seawater pH levels (8.1, 7.8, 7.6 and 7.4) for 40 days, respectively. Results obtained suggest that OA suppresses the feeding activity and aerobic metabolism, but elevates proteins catabolism of blood clams. OA also causes extracellular acidosis and decreases haemolymph Ca2+ concentration. In addition, our data also suggest that OA impairs the calcification process and inner shell surface integrity. Overall, OA adversely influences metabolism, acid-base status and calcification of blood clams, subsequently leading to a decrease in the fitness of this marine bivalve species.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification adversely influences metabolism, extracellular pH and calcification of an economically important marine bivalve, Tegillarca granosa’

Ocean acidification alters predator behaviour and reduces predation rate

Ocean acidification poses a range of threats to marine invertebrates; however, the emerging and likely widespread effects of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on marine invertebrate behaviour are still little understood. Here, we show that ocean acidification alters and impairs key ecological behaviours of the predatory cone snail Conus marmoreus. Projected near-future seawater CO2levels (975 µatm) increased activity in this coral reef molluscivore more than threefold (from less than 4 to more than 12 mm min−1) and decreased the time spent buried to less than one-third when compared with the present-day control conditions (390 µatm). Despite increasing activity, elevated CO2 reduced predation rate during predator–prey interactions with control-treated humpbacked conch, Gibberulus gibberulus gibbosus; 60% of control predators successfully captured and consumed their prey, compared with only 10% of elevated CO2 predators. The alteration of key ecological behaviours of predatory invertebrates by near-future ocean acidification could have potentially far-reaching implications for predator–prey interactions and trophic dynamics in marine ecosystems. Combined evidence that the behaviours of both species in this predator–prey relationship are altered by elevated CO2 suggests food web interactions and ecosystem structure will become increasingly difficult to predict as ocean acidification advances over coming decades.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification alters predator behaviour and reduces predation rate’


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