Posts Tagged 'phanerogams'

Anthropogenic impacts on mangrove and saltmarsh communities in eastern Australia

The global phenomenon of mangrove encroachment into saltmarshes has been observed across five continents. It has been proposed that this encroachment is driven in part by rising atmospheric CO2 concentration and reduced salinity in saltmarshes resulting from rising sea levels enhancing the establishment success of mangrove seedlings. However, this is yet to be empirically tested at the community-level. In this study, we examined the effect of CO2 and salinity on seedling growth of two mangrove species, Aegiceras corniculatum and Avicennia
marina, grown individually and in a model saltmarsh community in a glasshouse experiment. We found that the shoot (210%) and root (91%) biomass of the saltmarsh species was significantly greater under elevated CO2. As a result, both mangrove species experienced a stronger competitive effect from the saltmarsh species under elevated CO2. Nevertheless, A. marina seedlings produced on average 48% more biomass under elevated CO2 when grown in competition with the saltmarsh species which they used to grow taller suggesting they were light
limited. In contrast, A. corniculatum growth did not significantly differ between CO2 treatments. However, it had on average 36% greater growth under seawater salinity compared to hypersaline conditions. Avicenna marina seedlings were not affected by salinity. From these results, we suggest that although CO2 and salinity are not universal drivers determining saltmarsh-mangrove boundaries, it is likely that rising atmospheric CO2 concentration and reduced salinity associated with sea level rise will enhance the establishment success of mangrove seedlings in saltmarshes, which may facilitate mangrove encroachment in the future.

Continue reading ‘Anthropogenic impacts on mangrove and saltmarsh communities in eastern Australia’

Water motion and vegetation control the pH dynamics in seagrass-dominated bays

Global oceanic pH is lowering, which is causing great concern for the natural functioning of marine ecosystems. Current pH predictions are based on open ocean models; however, coastal zones are dynamic systems with seawater pH fluctuating temporally and spatially. To understand how coastal ecosystems will respond in the future, we first need to quantify the extent that local processes influence the pH of coastal zones. With this study, we show that over a single diurnal cycle, the total pH can fluctuate up to 0.2 units in a shallow seagrass-dominated bay, driven by the photosynthesis and respiration of the vegetation. However, these biologically controlled pH fluctuations vary significantly over small distances. Monitoring conducted at neighboring sites with contrasting hydrodynamic regimes highlights how water motion controls the extent that the local pH is altered by the metabolism of vegetation. The interactive effects of hydrodynamics and vegetation were further investigated with an in situ experiment, where the hydrodynamics were constrained and thus the local water residence time was increased, displaying the counteractive effect of hydrodynamics on the pH change caused by vegetation. With this research, we provide detailed in situ evidence of the spatial variation of pH within marine ecosystems, highlighting the need to include hydrodynamic conditions when assessing the pH-effects of vegetation, and identifying potential high-pH refuges in a future low pH ocean.

Continue reading ‘Water motion and vegetation control the pH dynamics in seagrass-dominated bays’

Ocean acidification alters meiobenthic assemblage composition and organic matter degradation rates in seagrass sediments

Seagrass meadows are an important organic matter (OM) reservoir but, are currently being lost due to global and regional stressors. Yet, there is limited research investigating the cumulative impacts of anthropogenic stressors on the structure and functioning of seagrass benthic assemblages, key drivers of OM mineralization and burial. Here, using a 16‐month field experiment, we assessed how meiobenthic assemblages and extracellular enzymatic activities (as a proxy of OM degradation) in Posidonia oceanica sediments responded to ocean acidification (OA) and nutrient loadings, at CO2 vents. P. oceanica meadows were exposed to three nutrient levels (control, moderate, and high) at both ambient and low pH sites. OA altered meiobenthic assemblage structure, resulting in increased abundance of annelids and crustaceans, along with a decline in foraminifera. In addition, low pH enhanced OM degradation rates in seagrass sediments by enhancing extracellular enzymatic activities, potentially decreasing the sediment carbon storage capacity of seagrasses. Nutrient enrichment had no effect on the response variables analyzed, suggesting that, under nutrient concentration unlikely to cause N or P imitation, a moderate increase of dissolved nutrients in the water column had limited influence on meiobenthic assemblages. These findings show that OA can significantly alter meiobenthic assemblage structure and enhance OM degradation rates in seagrass sediments. As meiofauna are ubiquitous key actors in the functioning of benthic ecosystems, we postulated that OA, altering the structure of meiobenthic assemblages and OM degradation, could affect organic carbon sequestration over large spatial scales.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification alters meiobenthic assemblage composition and organic matter degradation rates in seagrass sediments’

Direct and indirect impacts of marine acidification on the ecosystem services provided by coralligenous reefs and seagrass systems

Increasing emissions of CO2 and the resultant ocean acidification (OA) will have large implications for the marine ecosystems sustained by habitat-forming species and their related ecosystem services (ES), with potentially significant impacts on human well-being. Here, we provide an assessment of the direct and indirect impacts of OA on ES. The changes in the functioning of coralligenous reefs and Posidonia oceanica meadows promoted by OA were investigated by i) synthesizing current knowledge into conceptual models. The models were then used to, ii) assessing the impacts of exposure of the selected taxa at the acidification level associated with two CO2 emission scenarios and iii) using the conceptual model outputs to project the cascading impacts from individuals to functions to ES.

The results highlight that the combination of the direct and indirect effects of acidification will alter many functions of both coralligenous and P.oceanica systems, triggering habitat modifications and the loss of highly valuable ES.

While the exact timing of the expected changes will depend on the severity of the emission scenarios, significant and hardly reversible changes can be expected as quickly as a few decades under the business-as-usual scenario, and many ecosystem services are at risk even under much more conservative scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Direct and indirect impacts of marine acidification on the ecosystem services provided by coralligenous reefs and seagrass systems’

Interaction of short-term copper pollution and ocean acidification in seagrass ecosystems: toxicity, bioconcentration and dietary transfer

Highlights

• Toxicity and bioconcentration of copper in seagrasses were not affected by pH.
• Complex copper-pH interactions were observed in the seagrass photosynthesis.
• Seagrasses can act as a copper source in the food web via direct consumption.

Abstract

We aimed to show how the predicted pH decrease in the ocean would alter the toxicity, bioconcentration and dietary transfer of trace metal copper on seagrass ecosystems, on a short-term basis. Seagrass Zostera noltei was exposed to two pH levels (8.36 and 8.03) and three copper levels (nominal concentrations, <3, 30 and 300 μg Cu L−1) in a factorial design during 21 days, while Gammarus locusta amphipods were continuously fed with the treated seagrass leaves. We found that the toxicity and bioconcentration of copper in seagrasses were not affected by pH, yet complex copper-pH interactions were observed in the seagrass photosynthesis. We demostrated that seagrasses can act as a copper source in the food web via direct consumption by herbivores. Future research need to investigate the interactive effects on a long-term basis, and to include biochemical and molecular endpoints to provide additional insights to the complex phisiological interactions observed.

Continue reading ‘Interaction of short-term copper pollution and ocean acidification in seagrass ecosystems: toxicity, bioconcentration and dietary transfer’

Studentized bootstrap model-averaged tail area intervals

In many scientific studies, the underlying data-generating process is unknown and multiple statistical models are considered to describe it. For example, in a factorial experiment we might consider models involving just main effects, as well as those that include interactions. Model-averaging is a commonly-used statistical technique to allow for model uncertainty in parameter estimation. In the frequentist setting, the model-averaged estimate of a parameter is a weighted mean of the estimates from the individual models, with the weights typically being based on an information criterion, cross-validation, or bootstrapping. One approach to building a model-averaged confidence interval is to use a Wald interval, based on the model-averaged estimate and its standard error. This has been the default method in many application areas, particularly those in the life sciences. The MA-Wald interval, however, assumes that the studentized model-averaged estimate has a normal distribution, which can be far from true in practice due to the random, data-driven model weights. Recently, the model-averaged tail area Wald interval (MATA-Wald) has been proposed as an alternative to the MA-Wald interval, which only assumes that the studentized estimate from each model has a N(0, 1) or t-distribution, when that model is true. This alternative to the MA-Wald interval has been shown to have better coverage in simulation studies. However, when we have a response variable that is skewed, even these relaxed assumptions may not be valid, and use of these intervals might therefore result in poor coverage. We propose a new interval (MATA-SBoot) which uses a parametric bootstrap approach to estimate the distribution of the studentized estimate for each model, when that model is true. This method only requires that the studentized estimate from each model is approximately pivotal, an assumption that will often be true in practice, even for skewed data. We illustrate use of this new interval in the analysis of a three-factor marine global change experiment in which the response variable is assumed to have a lognormal distribution. We also perform a simulation study, based on the example, to compare the lower and upper error rates of this interval with those for existing methods. The results suggest that the MATA-SBoot interval can provide better error rates than existing intervals when we have skewed data, particularly for the upper error rate when the sample size is small.

Continue reading ‘Studentized bootstrap model-averaged tail area intervals’

Habitat effects of macrophytes and shell on carbonate chemistry and juvenile clam recruitment, survival, and growth

Highlights

• Field experiment testing two substrate treatments as OA adaptation strategies
• Clam growth increased in absence of macrophytes, regardless of shell hash treatment.
• Neither treatment improved clam recruitment or survival.
• pH in water column was higher during the day and outside eelgrass beds.
• Added shell hash improved carbonate chemistry in sediment pore-water.

Abstract

Adverse habitat conditions associated with reduced seawater pH often, but not always, negatively affect bivalves in early life history phases. Improving our understanding of how habitat-specific parameters affect clam recruitment, survival, and growth could assist natural resource managers and researchers in developing appropriate adaptation strategies for increasingly acidified nearshore ecosystems. Two proposed adaptation strategies, the presence of macrophytes and addition of shell hash, have the potential to raise local seawater pH and aragonite saturation state and, therefore, to improve conditions for shell-forming organisms. This field study examined the effects of these two substrate treatments on biological and geochemical response variables. Specifically, we measured (1) recruitment, survival, and growth of juvenile clams (Ruditapes philippinarum) and (2) local water chemistry at Fidalgo Bay and Skokomish Delta, Washington, USA, in response to experimental manipulations. Results showed no effect of macrophyte or shell hash treatment on recruitment or survival of R. philippinarum. Contrary to expectations, clam growth was significantly greater in the absence of macrophytes, regardless of the presence or absence of shell hash. Water column pH was higher outside the macrophyte bed than inside at Skokomish Delta and higher during the day than at night at Fidalgo Bay. Additionally, pore-water pH and aragonite saturation state were higher in the absence of macrophytes and the presence of shell. Based on these results, we propose that with increasingly corrosive conditions shell hash may help provide chemical refugia under future ocean conditions. Thus, we suggest adaptation strategies target the use of shell hash and avoidance of macrophytes to improve carbonate chemistry conditions and promote clam recruitment, survival, and growth.

Continue reading ‘Habitat effects of macrophytes and shell on carbonate chemistry and juvenile clam recruitment, survival, and growth’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book