Posts Tagged 'photosynthesis'

The influence of CO2 enrichment on net photosynthesis of seagrass Zostera marina in a brackish water environment

Seagrasses are distributed across the globe and their communities may play key roles in the coastal ecosystems. Seagrass meadows are expected to benefit from the increased carbon availability which might be used in photosynthesis in a future high CO2 world. The main aim of this study was to examine the effect of elevated pCO2 on the net photosynthesis of seagrass Zostera marina in a brackish water environment. The short-term mesocosm experiments were conducted in Kõiguste Bay (northern part of Gulf of Riga, the Baltic Sea) in June–July 2013 and 2014. As the levels of pCO2 naturally range from ca. 150 μatm to well above 1000 μatm under summer conditions in Kõiguste Bay we chose to operate in mesocosms with the pCO2 levels of ca. 2000, ca. 1000, and ca. 200 μatm. Additionally, in 2014 the photosynthesis of Z. marina was measured outside of the mesocosm in the natural conditions. In the shallow coastal Baltic Sea seagrass Z. marina lives in a highly variable environment due to seasonality and rapid changes in meteorological conditions. This was demonstrated by the remarkable differences in water temperatures between experimental years of ca. 8°C. Thus, the current study also investigated the effect of elevated pCO2 in combination with short-term natural fluctuations of environmental factors, i.e., temperature and PAR on the photosynthesis of Z. marina. Our results show that elevated pCO2 alone did not enhance the photosynthesis of the seagrass. The photosynthetic response of Z. marina to CO2 enrichment was affected by changes in water temperature and light availability.

Continue reading ‘The influence of CO2 enrichment on net photosynthesis of seagrass Zostera marina in a brackish water environment’

Ocean acidification modulates expression of genes and physiological performance of a marine diatom

Ocean Acidification (OA) is known to affect various aspects of physiological performances of diatoms, but little is known about the underlining molecular mechanisms involved. Here, we show that in the model diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, the expression of key genes associated with photosynthetic light harvesting as well as those encoding Rubisco, carbonic anhydrase, NADH dehydrogenase and nitrite reductase, are modulated by OA (1000 μatm, pHnbs 7.83). Growth and photosynthetic carbon fixation were enhanced by elevated CO2. OA treatment decreased the expression of β-carbonic anhydrase (β-ca), which functions in balancing intracellular carbonate chemistry and the CO2 concentrating mechanism (CCM). The expression of the genes encoding fucoxanthin chlorophyll a/c protein (lhcf type (fcp)), mitochondrial ATP synthase (mtATP), ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase large subunit gene (rbcl) and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ndh2), were down-regulated during the first four days (< 8 generations) after the cells were transferred from LC (cells grown under ambient air condition; 390 μatm; pHnbs 8.19) to OA conditions, with no significant difference between LC and HC treatments with the time elapsed. The expression of nitrite reductase (nir) was up-regulated by the OA treatment. Additionally, the genes for these proteins (NiR, FCP, mtATP synthase, β-CA) showed diel expression patterns. It appeared that the enhanced photosynthetic and growth rates under OA could be attributed to stimulated nitrogen assimilation, increased CO2 availability or saved energy from down-regulation of the CCM and consequently lowered cost of protein synthesis versus that of non-nitrogenous cell components.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification modulates expression of genes and physiological performance of a marine diatom’

Photosynthetic responses of the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana to CO2-induced seawater acidification

Ocean acidification due to atmospheric CO2 rise is expected to influence marine phytoplankton. Diatoms are responsible for about 40% of the total primary production in the ocean. In order to investigate the physiological response of marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana to ocean acidification, we grew the cells under ambient CO2 level (380 µatm) versus the elevated CO2 level (800 µatm) at a light level of 180 µmol m−2 s−1 for 30 generations. Our results showed that the elevated CO2 concentration caused a decrease of the effective photochemical efficiency of PSII (F′v/F′m) and increase of the dark respiration in T. pseudonana. The intracellular carbonic anhydrase activity was suppressed and the photosynthetic affinity for CO2 was lowered in the high CO2-grown cells, reflecting a downregulation of the CO2 concentrating mechanism (CCM). PSI activity was enhanced to support an increase in ATP synthesis by cyclic electron transfer as required for transport of inorganic carbon and regulation of intracellular pH. The energetic benefit from the downregulation of CCM to growth as reported in other diatom species was not observed here in T. pseudonana.

Continue reading ‘Photosynthetic responses of the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana to CO2-induced seawater acidification’

Light availability and temperature, not increased CO2, will structure future meadows of Posidonia oceanica

We evaluated the photosynthetic performance of Posidonia oceanica during short-term laboratory exposures to ambient and elevated temperatures (24–25 °C and 29–30 °C) warming and pCO2 (380, 750 and 1000 ppm pCO2) under normal and low light conditions (200 and 40 μmol photons m−2 s−1 respectively). Plant growth was measured at the low light regime and showed a negative response to warming. Light was a critical factor for photosynthetic performance, although we found no evidence of compensation of photosynthetic quantum efficiency in high light. Relative Electron Rate Transport (rETRmax) was higher in plants incubated in high light, but not affected by pCO2 or temperature. The saturation irradiance (Ik) was negatively affected by temperature. We conclude that elevated CO2 does not enhance photosynthetic activity and growth, in the short term for P. oceanica, while temperature has a direct negative effect on growth. Low light availability also negatively affected photosynthetic performance during the short experimental period examined here. Therefore increasing concentrations of CO2 may not compensate for predicted future conditions of warmer water and higher turbidity for seagrass meadows.

Continue reading ‘Light availability and temperature, not increased CO2, will structure future meadows of Posidonia oceanica’

Physiological response of a golden tide alga (Sargassum muticum) to the interaction of ocean acidification and phosphorus enrichment (update)

The development of golden tides is potentially influenced by global change factors, such as ocean acidification and eutrophication, but related studies are very scarce. In this study, we cultured a golden tide alga, Sargasssum muticum, at two levels of pCO2 (400 and 1000 µatm) and phosphate (0.5 and 40 µM) to investigate the interactive effects of elevated pCO2 and phosphate on the physiological properties of the thalli. Higher pCO2 and phosphate (P) levels alone increased the relative growth rate by 41 and 48 %, the net photosynthetic rate by 46 and 55 %, and the soluble carbohydrates by 33 and 62 %, respectively, while the combination of these two levels did not promote growth or soluble carbohydrates further. The higher levels of pCO2 and P alone also enhanced the nitrate uptake rate by 68 and 36 %, the nitrate reductase activity (NRA) by 89 and 39 %, and the soluble protein by 19 and 15 %, respectively. The nitrate uptake rate and soluble protein was further enhanced, although the nitrate reductase activity was reduced when the higher levels of pCO2 and P worked together. The higher pCO2 and higher P levels alone did not affect the dark respiration rate of the thalli, but together they increased it by 32 % compared to the condition of lower pCO2 and lower P. The neutral effect of the higher levels of pCO2 and higher P on growth and soluble carbohydrates, combined with the promoting effect on soluble protein and dark respiration, suggests that more energy was drawn from carbon assimilation to nitrogen assimilation under conditions of higher pCO2 and higher P; this is most likely to act against the higher pCO2 that caused acid–base perturbation via synthesizing H+ transport-related protein. Our results indicate that ocean acidification and eutrophication may not boost golden tide events synergistically, although each one has a promoting effect.

Continue reading ‘Physiological response of a golden tide alga (Sargassum muticum) to the interaction of ocean acidification and phosphorus enrichment (update)’

Seagrass ecophysiological performance under ocean warming and acidification

Seagrasses play an essential ecological role within coastal habitats and their worldwide population decline has been linked to different types of anthropogenic forces. We investigated, for the first time, the combined effects of future ocean warming and acidification on fundamental biological processes of Zostera noltii, including shoot density, leaf coloration, photophysiology (electron transport rate, ETR; maximum PSII quantum yield, Fv/Fm) and photosynthetic pigments. Shoot density was severely affected under warming conditions, with a concomitant increase in the frequency of brownish colored leaves (seagrass die-off). Warming was responsible for a significant decrease in ETR and Fv/Fm (particularly under control pH conditions), while promoting the highest ETR variability (among experimental treatments). Warming also elicited a significant increase in pheophytin and carotenoid levels, alongside an increase in carotenoid/chlorophyll ratio and De-Epoxidation State (DES). Acidification significantly affected photosynthetic pigments content (antheraxanthin, β-carotene, violaxanthin and zeaxanthin), with a significant decrease being recorded under the warming scenario. No significant interaction between ocean acidification and warming was observed. Our findings suggest that future ocean warming will be a foremost determinant stressor influencing Z. noltii survival and physiological performance. Additionally, acidification conditions to occur in the future will be unable to counteract deleterious effects posed by ocean warming.

Continue reading ‘Seagrass ecophysiological performance under ocean warming and acidification’

Size-dependent physiological responses of the branching coral Pocillopora verrucosa to elevated temperature and pCO2

Body size has large effects on organism physiology, but these effects remain poorly understood in modular animals with complex morphologies. Using two trials of a ∼24 day experiment conducted in 2014 and 2015, we tested the hypothesis that colony size of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa affects the response of calcification, aerobic respiration and gross photosynthesis to temperature (∼26.5 and ∼29.7°C) and pCO2 (∼40 and ∼1000 µatm). Large corals calcified more than small corals, but at a slower size-specific rate; area-normalized calcification declined with size. Whole-colony and area-normalized calcification were unaffected by temperature, pCO2, or the interaction between the two. Whole-colony respiration increased with colony size, but the slopes of these relationships differed between treatments. Area-normalized gross photosynthesis declined with colony size, but whole-colony photosynthesis was unaffected by pCO2, and showed a weak response to temperature. When scaled up to predict the response of large corals, area-normalized metrics of physiological performance measured using small corals provide inaccurate estimates of the physiological performance of large colonies. Together, these results demonstrate the importance of colony size in modulating the response of branching corals to elevated temperature and high pCO2.

Continue reading ‘Size-dependent physiological responses of the branching coral Pocillopora verrucosa to elevated temperature and pCO2’


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