Posts Tagged 'photosynthesis'

The potential environmental response to increasing ocean alkalinity for negative emissions

The negative emissions technology, artificial ocean alkalinization (AOA), aims to store atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ocean by increasing total alkalinity (TA). Calcium carbonate saturation state (ΩCaCO3) and pH would also increase meaning that AOA could alleviate sensitive regions and ecosystems from ocean acidification. However, AOA could raise pH and ΩCaCO3 well above modern-day levels, and very little is known about the environmental and biological impact of this. After treating a red calcifying algae (Corallina spp.) to elevated TA seawater, carbonate production increased by 60% over a control. This has implication for carbon cycling in the past, but also constrains the environmental impact and efficiency of AOA. Carbonate production could reduce the efficiency of CO2 removal. Increasing TA, however, did not significantly influence Corallina spp. primary productivity, respiration, or photophysiology. These results show that AOA may not be intrinsically detrimental for Corallina spp. and that AOA has the potential to lessen the impacts of ocean acidification. However, the experiment tested a single species within a controlled environment to constrain a specific unknown, the rate change of calcification, and additional work is required to understand the impact of AOA on other organisms, whole ecosystems, and the global carbon cycle.

Continue reading ‘The potential environmental response to increasing ocean alkalinity for negative emissions’

Rising CO2 levels alter the responses of the red macroalga Pyropia yezoensis under light stress


• The aquaculture can be effected by light intensity.
• The effects of pCO2 on the production depended on the light intensity changes.
• Pyropia yezoensis might be benefited from ocean acidification at low light.


Increased ocean uptake of CO2, due to rising atmospheric CO2 is leading to ocean acidification (OA) and alters light intensity due to increased turbidity and depth variation in seawater. Macroalgae have been found to alter their behavior in response to OA and other climate factors. In order to optimize farming strategies for economically important seaweeds, this study assesses the growth of Pyropia yezoensis at three different light intensities (HL:35%; ML:10%; LL:5%) and two CO2 concentrations (ambient CO2, 400 ppm; elevated CO2, 1000 ppm). Results show that P. yezoensis growth was significantly inhibited by decreased light intensity, due to reductions in photosynthesis, relative electron transfer rate (rETR) and carotenoid synthesis. However, under LL conditions, the relative growth rates (RGR), maximum net photosynthetic rate (Pmax) and maximum relative electron transfer rate (rETRmax) of PSI and PSII in P. yezoensis, were significantly enhanced under elevated CO2 concentrations. Phycocyanin (PC) and phycoerythrin (PE) levels in P. yezoensis were simultaneously increased under elevated CO2 concentrations. This study demonstrates that algal species may adapt to ocean acidification in the future and avoid light-induced growth inhibition.

Continue reading ‘Rising CO2 levels alter the responses of the red macroalga Pyropia yezoensis under light stress’

Effects of light intensity on the photosynthetic responses of Sargassum fusiforme seedlings to future CO2 rising

Mariculture of the economically important seaweed will likely be affected by the combined conditions of ocean acidification that resulting from increasing CO2 rising and decreased light levels, especially under high culture intensity and high biomass accumulation. To examine this coupling effect on the photosynthetic performance of Sargassum fusiforme seedlings, we cultured seedlings of this alga under different light and CO2 levels. Under low light conditions, elevated CO2 significantly decreased the photosynthesis of S. fusiforme seedlings, including a decreased photosynthetic electron transport rate. Seedlings grown under the low light intensity exhibited higher photosynthetic rates and compensation irradiance, and displayed higher photosynthetic pigment contents and light absorption than seedlings grown under high light intensity, providing strong evidence of photosynthetic acclimation to low light. However, the captured light and energy were insufficient to support photosynthesis in acidified seawater regardless of increased dissolved inorganic carbon, resulting in declined carbohydrate and biomass accumulation. This indicated that S. fusiforme photosynthesis was more sensitive to acidified seawater in its early growth stage, and strongly affected by light intensity. Future research should evaluate the practical manipulation of biomass accumulation and mariculture densities during the early culture period at the CO2 level predicted for the end of the century.

Continue reading ‘Effects of light intensity on the photosynthetic responses of Sargassum fusiforme seedlings to future CO2 rising’

CO2 modulation of the rates of photosynthesis and light-dependent O2 consumption in Trichodesmium

We established the relationship between gross photosynthetic O2 evolution and light-dependent O2 consumption in Trichodesmium erythraeum IMS101 acclimated to three targeted pCO2 concentrations (180 µmol mol-1 = low-CO2, 380 µmol mol-1 = mid-CO2 and 720 µmol mol-1 = high-CO2). We found that biomass (carbon) specific, light-saturated maximum net O2 evolution rates (PnC,max) and acclimated growth rates increased from low- to mid-CO2, but did not differ significantly between mid- and high-CO2. Dark respiration rates were five-times higher than required to maintain cellular metabolism, suggesting that respiration provides a substantial proportion of the ATP and reductant for N2 fixation. Oxygen uptake increased linearly with gross O2 evolution across light intensities ranging from darkness to 1100 µmol photons m-2 s-1. The slope of this relationship decreased with increasing CO2, which we attribute to the increased energetic cost of operating the carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM) at lower CO2 concentrations. Our results indicate that net photosynthesis and growth of T. erythraeum IMS101 would have been severely CO2 limited at the last glacial maximum, but that the direct effect of future increases of CO2 may only cause marginal increases in growth.

Continue reading ‘CO2 modulation of the rates of photosynthesis and light-dependent O2 consumption in Trichodesmium’

Differential physiological responses of the coastal cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC7002 to elevated pCO2 at lag, exponential, and stationary growth phases

We studied the effects of expected end-of-the-century pCO2 (1000 ppm) on the photosynthetic performance of a coastal marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC7002 during the lag, exponential, and stationary growth phases. Elevated pCO2 significantly stimulated growth, and enhanced the maximum cell density during the stationary phase. Under ambient pCO2 conditions, the lag phase lasted for 6 days, while elevated pCO2 shortened the lag phase to two days and extended the exponential phase by four days. The elevated pCO2 increased photosynthesis levels during the lag and exponential phases, but reduced them during the stationary phase. Moreover, the elevated pCO2 reduced the saturated growth light (Ik) and increased the light utilization efficiency (α) during the exponential and stationary phases, and elevated the phycobilisome:chlorophyll a (Chl a) ratio. Furthermore, the elevated pCO2 reduced the particulate organic carbon (POC):Chl a and particulate organic nitrogen (PON):Chl a ratios during the lag and stationary phases, but enhanced them during the exponential phase. Overall, Synechococcus showed differential physiological responses to elevated pCO2 during different growth phases, thus providing insight into previous studies that focused on only the exponential phase, which may have biased the results relative to the effects of elevated pCO2 in ecology or aquaculture.

Continue reading ‘Differential physiological responses of the coastal cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC7002 to elevated pCO2 at lag, exponential, and stationary growth phases’

The impacts of iron limitation and ocean acidification on the cellular stoichiometry, photophysiology, and transcriptome of Phaeocystis antarctica

Phaeocystis antarctica is an integral player of the phytoplankton community of the Southern Ocean (SO), the world’s largest high-nutrient low-chlorophyll region, and faces chronic iron (Fe) limitation. As the SO is responsible for 40% of anthropogenic CO2 uptake, P. antarctica must also deal with ocean acidification (OA). However, mechanistic studies investigating the effects of Fe limitation and OA on trace metal (TM) stoichiometry, transcriptomic, and photophysiological responses of this species, as well as on the Fe chemistry, are lacking. This study reveals that P. antarctica responded strongly to Fe limitation by reducing its growth rate and particulate organic carbon (POC) production. Cellular concentrations of all TMs, not just Fe, were greatly reduced, suggesting that Fe limitation may drive cells into secondary limitation by another TM. P. antarctica was able to adjust its photophysiology in response to Fe limitation, resulting in similar absolute electron transport rates across PSII. Even though OA-stimulated growth in Fe-limited and -replete treatments, the slight reduction in cellular POC resulted in no net effect on POC production. In addition, relatively few genes were differentially expressed due to OA. Finally, this study demonstrates that, under our culture conditions, OA did not affect inorganic Fe or humic-acid-like substances in seawater but triggered the production of humic-acid-like substances by P. antarctica. This species is well adapted to OA under all Fe conditions, giving it a competitive advantage over more sensitive species in a future ocean.

Continue reading ‘The impacts of iron limitation and ocean acidification on the cellular stoichiometry, photophysiology, and transcriptome of Phaeocystis antarctica’

Physiological and biochemical responses of a coralline alga and a sea urchin to climate change: Implications for herbivory


• Algal metabolism and phenolic content were unaffected by CO2 and temperature treatments.
• CaCO3 content of algae decreased in high CO2 treatments.
• Total sugar content of algae was affected by both CO2 and temperature.
• Sea urchin respiration and feeding increased under high CO2, low temperature.
• Direct effects to sea urchin metabolism drove feeding more than algal palatability.


Direct responses to rising temperatures and ocean acidification are increasingly well known for many single species, yet recent reviews have highlighted the need for climate change research to consider a broader range of species, how stressors may interact, and how stressors may affect species interactions. The latter point is important in the context of plant-herbivore interactions, as increasing evidence shows that increasing seawater temperature and/or acidification can alter algal traits that dictate their susceptibility to herbivores, and subsequently, community and ecosystem properties. To better understand how marine rocky shore environments will be affected by a changing ocean, in the present study we investigated the direct effects of short-term, co-occurring increased temperature and ocean acidification on a coralline alga (Jania rubens) and a sea urchin herbivore (Echinometra lucunter) and assessed the indirect effects of these factors on the algal-herbivore interaction. A 21-day mesocosm experiment was conducted with both algae and sea urchins exposed to ambient (24 °C, Low CO2), high-temperature (28 °C, Low CO2), acidified (24 °C, High CO2), or high-temperature plus acidified (28 °C, High CO2) conditions. Algal photosynthesis, respiration, and phenolic content were unaffected by increased temperature and CO2, but calcium carbonate content was reduced under high CO2 treatments in both temperatures, while total sugar content of the algae was reduced under acidified, lower temperature conditions. Metabolic rates of the sea urchin were elevated in the lower temperature, high CO2 treatment, and feeding assays showed that consumption rates also increased in this treatment. Despite some changes to algal chemical composition, it appears that at least under short-term exposure to climate change conditions, direct effects on herbivore metabolism dictated herbivory rates, while indirect effects caused by changes in algal palatability seemed to be of minor importance.

Continue reading ‘Physiological and biochemical responses of a coralline alga and a sea urchin to climate change: Implications for herbivory’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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