Seagrass ecosystem is one of the most productive ecosystems in coastal waters providing numerous ecological functions and supporting a large biodiversity. However, various anthropogenic stressors including climate change are impacting these vulnerable habitats. Here, we investigated the independent and combined effects of ocean warming and ocean acidification on plant–herbivore interactions in a tropical seagrass community. Direct and indirect effects of high temperature and high pCO2 on the physiology of the tropical seagrass Thalassia hemprichii and sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla were evaluated. Productivity of seagrass was found to increase under high pCO2, while sea urchin physiology including feeding rate decreased particularly under high temperature. The present study indicated that future climate change will affect the bottom-up and top-down balance, which potentially can modify the ecosystem functions and services of tropical seagrass ecosystems.
- The carbonate system and its controlling factors in a mariculture area were studied.
- Massive bay scallop farming was a potential factor for coastal acidification.
- Scallop calcification reduced 75.66 μmol kg−1 of total alkalinity in surface water.
- Biochemical and physical processes jointly controlled the other CO2 parameters.
Seven cruises were carried out in a bay scallop (Argopecten irradians) farming area and its surrounding waters, North Yellow Sea, from March to November 2017 to study the dynamics of the carbonate system and its controlling factors. Results indicated that the studied parameters were highly variability over a range of spatiotemporal scales, comprehensively forced by various physical and biochemical processes. Mixing effect and scallop calcification played the most important role in the seasonal variation of total alkalinity (TAlk). For dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), in addition to mixing, air-sea exchange and microbial activity, e.g. photosynthesis and microbial respiration processes, had more important effects on its dynamics. Different from the former, the changes of water pHT, partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) and aragonite saturation state (ΩA) were mainly controlled by the combining of the temperature, air-sea exchange, microbial activity and scallop metabolic activities. In addition, our results suggested that massive scallop farming can significantly increase the DIC/TAlk ratio by reducing the TAlk concentration in seawater, thereby reducing the buffering capacity of seawater to the carbonate system especially for ΩA. Preliminary calculated, ~75.7 μmol kg−1 and ~45.5 μmol kg−1 of TAlk was removed from the surface and bottom water in one scallop cultivating cycle. If these carbonates cannot be replenished in time, it is likely to accelerate the acidification process of coastal waters. This study highlighted the control mechanism of the carbonate system under the influence of bay scallop farming, and provided useful information for revealing the potential link between human activities (shelled-mollusc mariculture) and coastal acidification.
Pseudo-nitzschia australis (Frenguelli), a toxigenic pennate diatom capable of producing the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), was examined in unialgal laboratory cultures to quantify its physiological response to ocean acidification (OA) – the decline in pH resulting from increasing partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) in the oceans. Toxic blooms of P. australis are common in the coastal waters of eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUS), including those of the California Current System (CCS) off the west coast of the United States where increased pCO2 and decreased seawater pH are well-known. This study determined the production of dissolved (dDA) and particulate DA (pDA), the rates of growth and nutrient (nitrate, silicate and phosphate) utilization, cellular elemental ratios of carbon and nitrogen, and the photosynthetic response to declining pH during the exponential and stationary growth phases of a strain of P. australis isolated during a massive toxic bloom that persisted for months along much of the U.S. west coast during 2015. Our controlled lab studies showed that DA production significantly increased as pCO2 increased, and total DA (pDA + dDA) normalized to cell density was 2.7 fold greater at pH 7.8 compared to pH 8.1 (control) during nutrient-limited stationary growth. However, exponential growth rates did not increase with declining pH, but remained constant until pH of 7.8 was reached, and then specific growth rates declined by ca. 30%. The toxin results demonstrate that despite minimal effects of OA observed during the nutrient-replete exponential growth phase, the enhancement of DA production, notably the 3-fold increase in particulate DA per cell, with declining pH from 8.1 to 7.8 during the nutrient-depleted stationary phase, supports the hypothesis that increasing pCO2 will result in greater toxic risk to coastal ecosystems from elevated ambient concentrations of particulate DA. The ecological consequences of decreasing silicate uptake rates and increasing cellular carbon quotas with declining pH may potentially ameliorate some negative impacts of OA on Pseudo-nitzschia growth in natural systems.
In this study, the variations of the seawater carbonate system parameters and air-sea CO2 flux (FCO2) of Shen’ao Bay, a typical subtropical aquaculture bay located in China, were investigated in spring 2016 (March to May). Parameters related to the seawater carbonate system and FCO2 were measured monthly in 3 different aquaculture areas (fish, oyster and seaweed) and in a non-culture area near the bay mouth. The results showed that the seawater carbonate system was markedly influenced by the biological processes of the culture species. Total alkalinity was significantly lower in the oyster area compared with the fish and seaweed areas, mainly because of the calcification process of oysters. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and CO2 partial pressure ( pCO2) were highest in the fish area, followed by the oyster and non-culture areas, and lowest in the seaweed area. Oysters and fish can have indirect influences on DIC and pCO2by releasing nutrients, which facilitate the growth of seaweed and phytoplankton and therefore promote photosynthetic CO2 fixation. For these reasons, Shen’ao Bay acts as a potential CO2 sink in spring, with an average FCO2 ranging from -1.2 to -4.8 mmol m-2 d-1. CO2 fixation in the seaweed area was the largest contributor to CO2 flux, accounting for ca. 58% of the total CO2 sink capacity of the entire bay. These results suggest that the carbonate system and FCO2 of Shen’ao Bay were significantly affected by large-scale mariculture activities. A higher CO2 sink capacity could be acquired by extending the culture area of seaweed.
- High CO2 conditions profoundly affected biofilm community composition
- Species turnover explained differences in community composition
- Biofilm communities were more homogeneous under high CO2 conditions
- Toxin producing and turf-forming algae were enriched under high CO2 conditions
Biofilms harbour a wealth of microbial diversity and fulfil key functions in coastal marine ecosystems. Elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) conditions affect the structure and function of biofilm communities, yet the ecological patterns that underpin these effects remain unknown. We used high-throughput sequencing of the 16S and 18S rRNA genes to investigate the effect of elevated CO2 on the early successional stages of prokaryotic and eukaryotic biofilms at a CO2 seep system off Shikine Island, Japan. Elevated CO2 profoundly affected biofilm community composition throughout the early stages of succession, leading to greater compositional homogeneity between replicates and the proliferation of the potentially harmful algae Prymnesium sp. and Biddulphia biddulphiana. Species turnover was the main driver of differences between communities in reference and high CO2 conditions, rather than differences in richness or evenness. Our study indicates that species turnover is the primary ecological pattern that underpins the effect of elevated CO2 on both prokaryotic and eukaryotic components of biofilm communities, indicating that elevated CO2 conditions represent a distinct niche selecting for a distinct cohort of organisms without the loss of species richness.
Ocean warming is altering the biogeographical distribution of marine organisms. In the tropics, rising sea surface temperatures are restructuring coral reef communities with sensitive species being lost. At the biogeographical divide between temperate and tropical communities, warming is causing macroalgal forest loss and the spread of tropical corals, fishes and other species, termed “tropicalization”. A lack of field research into the combined effects of warming and ocean acidification means there is a gap in our ability to understand and plan for changes in coastal ecosystems. Here, we focus on the tropicalization trajectory of temperate marine ecosystems becoming coral-dominated systems. We conducted field surveys and in situ transplants at natural analogues for present and future conditions under (i) ocean warming and (ii) both ocean warming and acidification at a transition zone between kelp and coral-dominated ecosystems. We show that increased herbivory by warm-water fishes exacerbates kelp forest loss and that ocean acidification negates any benefits of warming for range extending tropical corals growth and physiology at temperate latitudes. Our data show that, as the combined effects of ocean acidification and warming ratchet up, marine coastal ecosystems lose kelp forests but do not gain scleractinian corals. Ocean acidification plus warming leads to overall habitat loss and a shift to simple turf-dominated ecosystems, rather than the complex coral-dominated tropicalized systems often seen with warming alone. Simplification of marine habitats by increased CO2 levels cascades through the ecosystem and could have severe consequences for the provision of goods and services.
Ocean acidification (OA) has both detrimental as well as beneficial effects on marine life; it negatively affects calcifiers while enhancing the productivity of photosynthetic organisms. To date, many studies have focused on the impacts of OA on calcification in reef-building corals, a process particularly susceptible to acidification. However, little is known about the effects of OA on their photosynthetic algal partners, with some studies suggesting potential benefits for symbiont productivity. Here, we investigated the transcriptomic response of the endosymbiont Symbiodinium microadriaticum (CCMP2467) in the Red Sea coral Stylophora pistillata subjected to different long-term (2 years) OA treatments (pH 8.0, 7.8, 7.4, 7.2). Transcriptomic analyses revealed that symbionts from corals under lower pH treatments responded to acidification by increasing the expression of genes related to photosynthesis and carbon-concentrating mechanisms. These processes were mostly up-regulated and associated metabolic pathways were significantly enriched, suggesting an overall positive effect of OA on the expression of photosynthesis-related genes. To test this conclusion on a physiological level, we analyzed the symbiont’s photochemical performance across treatments. However, in contrast to the beneficial effects suggested by the observed gene expression changes, we found significant impairment of photosynthesis with increasing pCO2. Collectively, our data suggest that over-expression of photosynthesis-related genes is not a beneficial effect of OA but rather an acclimation response of the holobiont to different water chemistries. Our study highlights the complex effects of ocean acidification on these symbiotic organisms and the role of the host in determining symbiont productivity and performance.
The objective of this study was to assess experimentally the potential impact of anthropogenic pH perturbation (ApHP) on concentrations of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), as well as processes governing the microbial cycling of sulfur compounds. A summer planktonic community from surface waters of the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary was monitored in microcosms over 12 days under three pCO2 targets: 1 × pCO2 (775 µatm), 2 × pCO2 (1,850 µatm), and 3 × pCO2 (2,700 µatm). A mixed phytoplankton bloom comprised of diatoms and unidentified flagellates developed over the course of the experiment. The magnitude and timing of biomass buildup, measured by chlorophyll a concentration, changed in the 3 × pCO2 treatment, reaching about half the peak chlorophyll a concentration measured in the 1 × pCO2 treatment, with a 2-day lag. Doubling and tripling the pCO2 resulted in a 15% and 40% decline in average concentrations of DMS compared to the control. Results from 35S-DMSPd uptake assays indicated that neither concentrations nor microbial scavenging efficiency of dissolved DMSP was affected by increased pCO2. However, our results show a reduction of the mean microbial yield of DMS by 34% and 61% in the 2 × pCO2 and 3 × pCO2 treatments, respectively. DMS concentrations correlated positively with microbial yields of DMS (Spearman’s ρ = 0.65; P < 0.001), suggesting that the impact of ApHP on concentrations of DMS in diatom-dominated systems may be strongly linked with alterations of the microbial breakdown of dissolved DMSP. Findings from this study provide further empirical evidence of the sensitivity of the microbial DMSP switch under ApHP. Because even small modifications in microbial regulatory mechanisms of DMSP can elicit changes in atmospheric chemistry via dampened efflux of DMS, results from this study may contribute to a better comprehension of Earth’s future climate.
Global change driven by anthropogenic carbon emissions is altering ecosystems at unprecedented rates, especially coral reefs, whose symbiosis with algal endosymbionts ise particularly vulnerable to increasing ocean temperatures and altered carbonate chemistry. Here, we assess the physiological responses of the coral holobiont (animal host + algal symbiont) of three Caribbean coral species from two reef environments after exposure to simulated ocean warming (28, 31 °C), acidification (300 – 3290 μatm), and the combination of stressors for 93 days. We used multidimensional analyses to assess how multiple coral holobiont physiological parameters respond to ocean acidification and warming. Our results demonstrate significantly diminishing holobiont physiology in S. siderea and P. astreoides in response to projected ocean acidification, while future warming elicited severe declines in P. strigosa. Offshore S. siderea fragments exhibited higher physiological plasticity than inshore counterparts, suggesting that this offshore population has the capacity to modulate their physiology in response to changing conditions, but at a cost to the holobiont. Plasticity of P. strigosa and P. astreoides was not clearly different between natal reef environments, however, temperature evoked a greater plastic response in both species. Interestingly, while these species exhibit unique physiological responses to ocean acidification and warming, when data from all three species are modeled together, convergent stress responses to these conditions are observed, highlighting the overall sensitivities of tropical corals to these stressors. Our results demonstrate that while ocean warming is a severe acute stressor that will have dire consequences for coral reefs globally, chronic exposure to acidification may also impact coral physiology to a greater extent than previously assumed. The variety of responses to global change we observe across species will likely manifest in altered Caribbean reef assemblages in the future.
With coral reefs declining globally, resilience of these ecosystems hinges on successful coral recruitment. However, knowledge of the acclimatory and/or adaptive potential in response to environmental challenges such as ocean acidification (OA) in earliest life stages is limited. Our combination of physiological measurements, microscopy, computed tomography techniques and gene expression analysis allowed us to thoroughly elucidate the mechanisms underlying the response of early-life stages of corals, together with their algal partners, to the projected decline in oceanic pH. We observed extensive physiological, morphological and transcriptional changes in surviving recruits, and the transition to a less-skeleton/more-tissue phenotype. We found that decreased pH conditions stimulate photosynthesis and endosymbiont growth, and gene expression potentially linked to photosynthates translocation. Our unique holistic study discloses the previously unseen intricate net of interacting mechanisms that regulate the performance of these organisms in response to OA.
Global change, including rising temperatures and acidification, threatens corals globally. Although bleaching events reveal fine-scale patterns of resilience, traits enabling persistence under global change remain elusive. We conducted a 95-d controlled-laboratory experiment investigating how duration of exposure to warming (~28, 31°C), acidification (pCO2 ~ 343 [present day], ~663 [end of century], ~3109 [extreme] μatm), and their combination influences physiology of reef-building corals (Siderastrea siderea, Pseudodiploria strigosa) from two reef zones on the Belize Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Every 30 d, net calcification rate, host protein and carbohydrate, chlorophyll a, and symbiont density were quantified for the same coral individual to characterize acclimation potential under global change. Coral physiologies of the two species were differentially affected by stressors and exposure duration was found to modulate these responses. Siderastrea siderea exhibited resistance to end of century pCO2 and temperature stress, but calcification was negatively affected by extreme pCO2. However, S. siderea calcification rates remained positive after 95 d of extreme pCO2 conditions, suggesting acclimation. In contrast, P. strigosa was more negatively influenced by elevated temperatures, which reduced most physiological parameters. An exception was nearshore P. strigosa, which maintained calcification rates under elevated temperature, suggesting local adaptation to the warmer environment of their natal reef zone. This work highlights how tracking coral physiology across various exposure durations can capture acclimatory responses to global change stressors.
Recognition that ocean acidification (OA) alters calcification rates in many tropical corals and photosynthetic processes in some has motivated research into coral’s carbon processing systems. Here, a multi-compartment coral model is used to assess inorganic carbon fluxes, accounting for carbon uptake, photosynthesis, transport across and between coral tissue and calcification. The increased complexity of this model is enabled by incorporating recent measurements of carbonic anhydrase activity and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) related photosynthetic parameters, allowing the model to respond to changes in external inorganic carbon chemistry. The model reproduced measured gross photosynthesis, calcification rates and calcifying fluid pH from Orbicella faveolata at current oceanic conditions. Model simulations representing OA conditions showed an increase in net photosynthesis and modest decreases in calcification which fall within trends seen in experimental data. Photosynthesis increased due to higher diffusive influx of CO2 into the oral tissue layers, increasing DIC where symbiotic algae reside. The model suggests that decreases in calcification result from increased fluxes of CO2 into the calcifying fluid from the aboral tissue layer and the bulk seawater, lowering its pH and reducing the aragonite saturation state. However, modeled pH drops in the calcifying fluid exceed those observed, pointing to the need for additional empirical constraints on DIC fluxes associated with calcification and coelenteron transport.
Studying the local impacts of natural marine discharges can help in understanding the local impacts of large-scale restoration programs. This paper reviews studies of naturally occurring CO2 rich hydrothermal vents to understand how nature responds. Venting CO2 raises both total DIC, and the CO2 partial pressure by a factor of 10 or 20 times, lowering the pH and the saturation state of calcium carbonate, impeding calcification by calcifying organisms.
The ocean is a relatively stable environment and significant changes to water chemistry caused by high levels of CO2 input impacts marine organisms. Many algae are able to survive and photosynthesise at low pH levels, and some may actually benefit from an increase in dissolved CO2. However, coralline and calcareous algae that form carbonate skeletons are negatively impacted at low pH. Ecologically and economically valuable marine flora such as kelp, seagrass and certain seaweeds can benefit from increased DIC, exhibiting increases in photosynthetic and growth rates. Kelp and seagrass may also increase local pH levels, creating refuges for calcifying marine species.
The calcification rates of Many marine invertebrates decrease with increasing pCO2. At sites closer to vent openings, with lower pH, the abundance and diversity of invertebrates is significantly reduced. This can impact species valuable to the fishery and aquaculture industry by directly affecting recruitment, growth and survivorship of species such as mussels and oysters and indirectly through reduced abundance of invertebrate prey for herring and mackerel. Corals are also negatively impacted by declining pH and calcium carbonate saturation, yet not all hard corals respond evenly. More resilient genera such as Porites can survive pH drops to approximately 7.8, however below this value reef development is virtually absent and the habitat is dominated by algae and soft corals.
Naturally occurring low pH sites are relatively common in the marine environment and though they clearly alter species composition and abundance, the locally lower pH does not kill marine life, and beyond dispersion zones species are unaffected. Global ocean acidification is a serious problem, however the impacts of local releases of CO2 are relatively limited, resulting in community shifts towards low pH tolerant species. Reversal of global ocean acidification is essential, and restoration of the oceans will require huge carbon dioxide removal (CDR) processes.
Under predicted future ocean conditions, reefs exposed to elevated nutrients will simultaneously experience ocean acidification and elevated temperature. We evaluated if moderate nutrients mitigate, minimize, or exacerbate negative effects of predicted future ocean conditions on coral physiology. For 30 days, Acropora millepora and Turbinaria reniformis were exposed to a fully factorial experiment of eight treatments including two seawater temperatures (26.4 °C and 29.8 °C), pCO2 levels (401 μatm pCO2 and 760 μatm pCO2), and nutrient concentrations (ambient: 0.40 μmol L−1 NO3− and 0.22 μmol L−1 PO43−, and moderate: 3.56 μmol L−1 NO3− and 0.31 μmol L−1 PO43−). Added nitrate was taken up by the algal endosymbionts and transferred to the coral hosts in both species, though to a much higher degree in A. millepora. When exposed to elevated temperature, elevated pCO2, or both, effects observed for chlorophyll a, calcification, biomass, and energy reserves were not compounded by the moderate nutrient concentrations in either species. Moderate nutrients enabled A. millepora to continue to meet daily metabolic demand via photosynthesis under predicted future ocean conditions and T. reniformis to greatly exceed daily metabolic demand via photosynthesis and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that balanced moderate nutrients are not detrimental to corals under predicted future ocean conditions and may even provide some benefits.
Increasing temperature and CO2 concentration are among the most important factors affecting marine ecosystems under climate change. We investigated the morphological, biochemical, and physiological trait responses of seedlings of the tropical seagrass Enhalus acoroides under experimental conditions. Trait responses were greater under temperature effects than increasing CO2 concentration. Seedlings under rising temperatures showed enhanced leaf growth, lower leaf nutrient content, and stimulated down-regulating mechanisms in terms of photo-physiology. Increasing CO2 concentrations did not show any significant effects independently. There was a significant interaction for some of the trait responses considered, such as leaf number and carbon content in the roots, and trends of higher starch concentrations in the leaves and lower rETRmax under combined enriched CO2 and high temperature, even though none of these interactions were synergistic. Understanding the single and interactive trait responses of seagrass seedlings to increasing temperature and CO2 concentration is of importance to determine the relative responses of early life stages of seagrasses, which may differ from adult plants, in order to form a more holistic view of seagrass ecosystem health under climate change.
- Skeletonema costatum was tolerant to low and moderate benzo(a)pyrene concentrations.
- The high benzo(a)pyrene concentration remarkably inhibited growth and photosynthesis.
- Negative effects of ocean acidification were detected at the high benzo(a)pyrene level.
The combined effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and seawater acidification are poorly understood. Hence, we exposed the bloom-forming diatom Skeletonema costatum to four concentrations (0, 0.1, 1 and 10 μg L-1) of benzo(a)pyrene and two pCO2 levels (400 and 1000 μatm) to investigate its physiological performance. The growth and photosynthesis of S. costatum were tolerant to low and moderate benzo(a)pyrene concentrations regardless of the pCO2 level. However, the highest benzo(a)pyrene concentration had remarkably adverse effects on most parameters, decreasing the growth rate by 69%. Seawater acidification increased the sensitivity to high light stress, as shown by the lower relative maximum electron transport rate and light saturation point at the highest benzo(a)pyrene concentration. Our results suggested that benzo(a)pyrene could be detrimental to diatoms at a habitat-relevant level, and seawater acidification might further decrease its light tolerance, which would have important ramifications for the community structure and primary production in coastal waters.
- Global climate change and local stressors are the main threats to reef-building organisms and habitats they build, such as rhodolith beds.
- Through an experimental essay and ecological niche modelling, we were able to determine the environmental factors that determine the distribution and affect the physiology of an important rhodolith-forming species in the southwestern Atlantic.
- Our results raise the possibility of some rhodolith-forming species being resilient to future environmental change based on our current understanding of their distributions, a perspective that will need to be further explored by future studies.
- This information is helpful in informing policies for the conservation of priority areas, aiding the preservation of marine biodiversity in the South Atlantic.
Given the ecological and biogeochemical importance of rhodolith beds, it is necessary to investigate how future environmental conditions will affect these organisms. We investigated the impacts of increased nutrient concentrations, acidification, and marine heatwaves on the performance of the rhodolith-forming species Lithothamnion crispatum in a short-term experiment, including the recovery of individuals after stressor removal. Furthermore, we developed an ecological niche model to establish which environmental conditions determine its current distribution along the Brazilian coast and to project responses to future climate scenarios. Although L. crispatum suffered a reduction in photosynthetic performance when exposed to stressors, they returned to pre-experiment values following the return of individuals to control conditions. The model showed that the most important variables in explaining the current distribution of L. crispatum on the Brazilian coast were maximum nitrate and temperature. In future ocean conditions, the model predicted a range expansion of habitat suitability for this species of approximately 58.5% under RCP 8.5. Physiological responses to experimental future environmental conditions corroborated model predictions of the expansion of this species’ habitat suitability in the future. This study, therefore, demonstrates the benefits of applying combined approaches to examine potential species responses to climate-change drivers from multiple angles.
- Seasonal variability of temperature under ambient or enriched CO2 conditions affect productivity in two model fleshy seaweeds, Ulva rigida and Gracilaria conferta.
- The growth of these seaweeds can be doubled when exposed to high CO2 concentrations.
- Maximal short-run profits were obtained at ca. 22.5 °C and 27.5 °C for U. rigida and G. conferta, respectively.
- Based on the seaweeds respond to external seasonal changes in temperature and CO2 concentration, farmers may decide what and where to grow seasonally.
By the end of the current century atmospheric CO2 concentration may reach 1000 ppm, more than twice the present level set at ca. 400 ppm. Marine macroalgae (seaweeds) contribute to global primary production and by taking up CO2 they may ameliorate and regulate global climate change. Seaweeds also have direct and indirect economic importance by providing food and bioactive compounds for human benefit. Nonetheless, all these benefits could be jeopardized by the ongoing pressures, both local and global, on marine environments. In this study we examine the effects of dissolved CO2 and seasonal seawater temperature on the growth rates (measured weekly changes in biomass and expressed on a daily basis) of two model species, Ulva rigida (Chlorophyta) and Gracilaria conferta (Rhodophyta), which are common in the intertidal zone of the Israeli Mediterranean Sea, and cultivated by the local seaweed industry. The seaweeds were grown in land-based 40 L fiberglass tanks fertilized with sufficient N and P, supplied with running seawater and continuous air bubbling to keep equal exposure of the seaweeds to nutrients and light. The tanks were also provided with aeration with regular air (ambient CO2, ~ 400 ppm) or CO2-enriched air (~780 ppm). Seaweeds exposed to CO2–enriched seawater grew faster, 32.5 and 8.5% growth per day for U. rigida and G. conferta, respectively. Following calculations of productivity rates, market price, and input cost, we estimate production and show a quadratic production function with respect to temperature for each CO2 concentration. Thus, there is an optimal temperature that maximizes seaweed output. Based on the production function estimates and using market prices, maximal short-run profits were obtained at ca. 22.5 °C and 27.5 °C for U. rigida and G. conferta, respectively. These results may provide useful information for seaweed growers on what and where to grow seasonally, and how farming activities should adapt to external changes in temperature and CO2 concentration.
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is threatened by climate change and local pressures, including contaminants in nearshore habitats. This study investigated the combined effects of a GBR-relevant contaminant, the herbicide diuron, under current and two future climate scenarios on the coral Acropora millepora. All physiological responses tested (effective quantum yield (ΔF/Fm′), photosynthesis, calcification rate) were negatively affected with increasing concentrations of diuron. Interactive effects between diuron and climate were observed for all responses; however, climate had no significant effect on ΔF/Fm′ or calcification rates. Photosynthesis was negatively affected as the climate scenarios were adjusted from ambient (28.1 °C, pCO2 = 397 ppm) to RCP8.5 2050 (29.1 °C, pCO2 = 680 ppm) and 2100 (30.2 °C, pCO2 = 858 ppm) with EC50 values declining from 19.4 to 10.6 and 2.6 μg L−1 diuron in turn. These results highlight the likelihood that water quality guideline values may need to be adjusted as the climate changes.
Coral reefs are declining worldwide due to global changes in the marine environment. The increasing frequency of massive bleaching events in the tropics is highlighting the need to better understand the stages of coral physiological responses to extreme conditions. Moreover, like many other coastal regions, coral reef ecosystems are facing additional localized anthropogenic stressors such as nutrient loading, increased turbidity, and coastal development. Different strategies have been developed to measure the health status of a damaged reef, ranging from the resolution of individual polyps to the entire coral community, but techniques for measuring coral physiology in situ are not yet widely implemented. For instance, while there are many studies of the coral holobiont response in single or limited-number multiple stressor experiments, they provide only partial insights into metabolic performance under more complex and temporally and spatially variable natural conditions. Here, we discuss the current status of coral reefs and their global and local stressors in the context of experimental techniques that measure core processes in coral metabolism (respiration, photosynthesis, and biocalcification) in situ, and their role in indicating the health status of colonies and communities. We highlight the need to improve the capability of in situ studies in order to better understand the resilience and stress response of corals under multiple global and local scale stressors.