Posts Tagged 'photosynthesis'



Responses of macroalgae to CO2 enrichment cannot be inferred solely from their inorganic carbon uptake strategy

Increased plant biomass is observed in terrestrial systems due to rising levels of atmospheric CO2, but responses of marine macroalgae to CO2 enrichment are unclear. The 200% increase in CO2 by 2100 is predicted to enhance the productivity of fleshy macroalgae that acquire inorganic carbon solely as CO2 (non‐carbon dioxide‐concentrating mechanism [CCM] species—i.e., species without a carbon dioxide‐concentrating mechanism), whereas those that additionally uptake bicarbonate (CCM species) are predicted to respond neutrally or positively depending on their affinity for bicarbonate. Previous studies, however, show that fleshy macroalgae exhibit a broad variety of responses to CO2 enrichment and the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. This physiological study compared the responses of a CCM species (Lomentaria australis) with a non‐CCM species (Craspedocarpus ramentaceus) to CO2 enrichment with regards to growth, net photosynthesis, and biochemistry. Contrary to expectations, there was no enrichment effect for the non‐CCM species, whereas the CCM species had a twofold greater growth rate, likely driven by a downregulation of the energetically costly CCM(s). This saved energy was invested into new growth rather than storage lipids and fatty acids. In addition, we conducted a comprehensive literature synthesis to examine the extent to which the growth and photosynthetic responses of fleshy macroalgae to elevated CO2 are related to their carbon acquisition strategies. Findings highlight that the responses of macroalgae to CO2 enrichment cannot be inferred solely from their carbon uptake strategy, and targeted physiological experiments on a wider range of species are needed to better predict responses of macroalgae to future oceanic change.

Continue reading ‘Responses of macroalgae to CO2 enrichment cannot be inferred solely from their inorganic carbon uptake strategy’

Effects of light and darkness on pH regulation in three coral species exposed to seawater acidification

The resilience of corals to ocean acidification has been proposed to rely on regulation of extracellular calcifying medium pH (pHECM), but few studies have compared the capacity of coral species to control this parameter at elevated pCO2. Furthermore, exposure to light and darkness influences both pH regulation and calcification in corals, but little is known about its effect under conditions of seawater acidification. Here we investigated the effect of acidification in light and darkness on pHECM, calcifying cell intracellular pH (pHI), calcification, photosynthesis and respiration in three coral species: Stylophora pistillata, Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora hyacinthus. We show that S. pistillata was able to maintain pHECM under acidification in light and darkness, but pHECM decreased in P. damicornis and A. hyacinthus to a much greater extent in darkness than in the light. Acidification depressed calcifying cell pHI in all three species, but we identified an unexpected positive effect of light on pHI. Calcification rate and pHECM decreased together under acidification, but there are inconsistencies in their relationship indicating that other physiological parameters are likely to shape how coral calcification responds to acidification. Overall our study reveals interspecies differences in coral regulation of pHECM and pHI when exposed to acidification, influenced by exposure to light and darkness.

Continue reading ‘Effects of light and darkness on pH regulation in three coral species exposed to seawater acidification’

Implicações fisiológicas e ecológicas de interações interespecíficas nos bentos marinho-subsídio para o entendimento de cenários atuais e futuros (in Portuguese)

Biotic interactions are increasingly known to shape ecosystem community structure. Recently, there has been a renewed focus on species interactions in light of global change, especially ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) in marine ecosystems. In coastal environments, macroalgae are among the most important taxa as they are often the most abundant primary producers and form the base of food webs. However, due to their sedentary nature, they are also vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In order to better understand how species interactions will be affected by climate change stressors, a solid understanding of how interspecies interactions operate under present-day conditions is needed. The first chapter of this thesis attempts to characterize seasonal variation in macroalgal physiology and biochemistry, and how interspecific interactions might affect algal fitness and palatability to a sea urchin herbivore (Echinometra lucunter). Specimens of Jania rubens, Sargassum cymosum, and Ulva lactuca were collected from monospecific patches or from associations , where individuals were in physical contact with another species, in both summer and winter. Net photosynthesis, nitrogen reductase activity, and pigment, phenolic and carbonate content of algae were evaluated among different associations across the two seasons. The results indicate that in addition to seasonal variation in most parameters measured, interactions between algae could change in both magnitude and sign (positive, negative or neutral) in different seasons. The no-choice herbivory assay (conducted in winter) revealed that both Jania and Ulva were consumed at higher rates when they were associated with each other, whereas Sargassum was not affected. These results suggest that macroalgae may influence the physiology and biochemical composition of neighboring species and subsequently affect their palatability, which may influence local community structure. To further evaluate effects of species interactions under climate change stressors, an experiment was performed to assess algal-herbivore interactions under OW and OA conditions. The most preferentially consumed algae from the first experiment (Jania rubens) and the sea urchin E. lucunter were evaluated in a 21-day mesocosm study with treatments of control, OW, OA, and OW+OA. Algal physiology was unaffected by increased temperature (+4°C) and pCO2 (1,000 ppm), but changes in the biochemical composition of the algal tissue were found. Metabolic rates of the sea urchin E. lucunter were higher in the ambient temperature, high pCO2 treatment, and feeding assays showed that this influenced consumption, with increased feeding rates in this treatment. The results here show that although algal biochemical composition was affected by future pCO2, at least in the short term, direct effects to sea urchin metabolism were more important for impacting this algae-herbivore interaction.

Continue reading ‘Implicações fisiológicas e ecológicas de interações interespecíficas nos bentos marinho-subsídio para o entendimento de cenários atuais e futuros (in Portuguese)’

In-situ behavioural and physiological responses of Antarctic microphytobenthos to ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) is predicted to alter benthic marine community structure and function, however, there is a paucity of field experiments in benthic soft sediment communities and ecosystems. Benthic diatoms are important components of Antarctic coastal ecosystems, however very little is known of how they will respond to ocean acidification. Ocean acidification conditions were maintained by incremental computer controlled addition of high fCO2 seawater representing OA conditions predicted for the year 2100. Respiration chambers and PAM fluorescence techniques were used to investigate acute behavioural, photosynthetic and net production responses of benthic microalgae communities to OA in in-situ field experiments. We demonstrate how OA can modify behavioural ecology, which changes photo-physiology and net production of benthic microalgae. Ocean acidification treatments significantly altered behavioural ecology, which in turn altered photo-physiology. The ecological trends presented here have the potential to manifest into significant ecological change over longer time periods.

Continue reading ‘In-situ behavioural and physiological responses of Antarctic microphytobenthos to ocean acidification’

Hyposalinity tolerance inthecoccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi under the influence of ocean acidification involves enhanced photosynthetic performance

While seawater acidification induced by elevated CO2 is known to impact coccolithophores, the effects in combination with decreased salinity caused by sea ice melting and/or hydrological events have not been documented. Here we show the combined effects of seawater acidification and reduced salinity on growth, photosynthesis and calcification of Emiliania huxleyi grown at 2 CO2 concentrations (low CO2 LC: 400 μatm; high CO2 HC: 1000 μatm) and 3 levels of salinity (25, 30 and 35 ‰). A decrease of salinity from 35 to 25‰ increased growth rate, cell size and effective photochemical efficiency under both LC or HC. Calcification rates were relatively insensitive to combined effects of salinity and OA treatment but were highest under 3 5‰ and HC conditions, with higher ratios of calcification to photosynthesis (C : P) in the cells grown under 35 ‰ compared with those grown at 25 ‰. In addition, elevated dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration at the salinity of 35 ‰ stimulated its calcification. In contrast, photosynthetic carbon fixation increased almost linearly with decreasing salinity, regardless of the pCO2 treatments. When subjected to short-term exposure to high light, the low-salinity-grown cells showed the highest photochemical effective quantum yield with the highest repair rate, though HC treatment enhanced PSII damage rate. Our results suggest Emiliania huxleyi can tolerate low salinity plus acidification conditions by up-regulating its photosynthetic performance together with a relatively insensitive calcification response, which may help it better adapt to future ocean global environmental changes, especially in the coastal areas of high latitudes.

Continue reading ‘Hyposalinity tolerance inthecoccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi under the influence of ocean acidification involves enhanced photosynthetic performance’

Environmental and physiochemical controls on coral calcification along a latitudinal temperature gradient in Western Australia

The processes that occur at the micro‐scale site of calcification are fundamental to understanding the response of coral growth in a changing world. However, our mechanistic understanding of chemical processes driving calcification is still evolving. Here, we report the results of a long‐term in situ study of coral calcification rates, photo‐physiology, and calcifying fluid (cf) carbonate chemistry (using boron isotopes, elemental systematics, and Raman spectroscopy) for seven species (four genera) of symbiotic corals growing in their natural environments at tropical, subtropical, and temperate locations in Western Australia (latitudinal range of ~11°). We find that changes in net coral calcification rates are primarily driven by pHcf and carbonate ion concentration []cf in conjunction with temperature and DICcf. Coral pHcf varies with latitudinal and seasonal changes in temperature and works together with the seasonally varying DICcf to optimize []cf at species‐dependent levels. Our results indicate that corals shift their pHcf to adapt and/or acclimatize to their localized thermal regimes. This biological response is likely to have critical implications for predicting the future of coral reefs under CO2‐driven warming and acidification.

Continue reading ‘Environmental and physiochemical controls on coral calcification along a latitudinal temperature gradient in Western Australia’

Future climate change is predicted to affect the microbiome and condition of habitat-forming kelp

Climate change is driving global declines of marine habitat-forming species through physiological effects and through changes to ecological interactions, with projected trajectories for ocean warming and acidification likely to exacerbate such impacts in coming decades. Interactions between habitat-formers and their microbiomes are fundamental for host functioning and resilience, but how such relationships will change in future conditions is largely unknown. We investigated independent and interactive effects of warming and acidification on a large brown seaweed, the kelp Ecklonia radiata, and its associated microbiome in experimental mesocosms. Microbial communities were affected by warming and, during the first week, by acidification. During the second week, kelp developed disease-like symptoms previously observed in the field. The tissue of some kelp blistered, bleached and eventually degraded, particularly under the acidification treatments, affecting photosynthetic efficiency. Microbial communities differed between blistered and healthy kelp for all treatments, except for those under future conditions of warming and acidification, which after two weeks resembled assemblages associated with healthy hosts. This indicates that changes in the microbiome were not easily predictable as the severity of future climate scenarios increased. Future ocean conditions can change kelp microbiomes and may lead to host disease, with potentially cascading impacts on associated ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Future climate change is predicted to affect the microbiome and condition of habitat-forming kelp’


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