Posts Tagged 'physiology'

Acclimation and adaptation to elevated pCO2 increase arsenic resilience in marine diatoms

Arsenic pollution is a widespread threat to marine life, but the ongoing rise pCO2 levels is predicted to decrease bio-toxicity of arsenic. However, the effects of arsenic toxicity on marine primary producers under elevated pCO2 are not well characterized. Here, we studied the effects of arsenic toxicity in three globally distributed diatom species (Phaeodactylum tricornutumThalassiosira pseudonana, and Chaetoceros mulleri) after short-term acclimation (ST, 30 days), medium-term exposure (MT, 750 days), and long-term (LT, 1460 days) selection under ambient (400 µatm) and elevated (1000 and 2000 µatm) pCO2. We found that elevated pCO2 alleviated arsenic toxicity even after short acclimation times but the magnitude of the response decreased after mid and long-term adaptation. When fed with these elevated pCO2 selected diatoms, the scallop Patinopecten yessoensis had significantly lower arsenic content (3.26–52.83%). Transcriptomic and biochemical analysis indicated that the diatoms rapidly developed arsenic detoxification strategies, which included upregulation of transporters associated with shuttling harmful compounds out of the cell to reduce arsenic accumulation, and upregulation of proteins involved in synthesizing glutathione (GSH) to chelate intracellular arsenic to reduce arsenic toxicity. Thus, our results will expand our knowledge to fully understand the ecological risk of trace metal pollution under increasing human activity induced ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Acclimation and adaptation to elevated pCO2 increase arsenic resilience in marine diatoms’

Ocean acidification interacts with growth light to suppress CO2 acquisition efficiency and enhance mitochondrial respiration in a coastal diatom


  • Ocean acidification (OA) enhances growth of Thalassiosira weissflogii only at limiting low light levels.
  • The energy saved from down-regulation of CCMs under OA rather than “CO2 fertilization aids in the enhancement under low levels of light energy supply.
  • Coastal diatoms can benefit from OA, especially under cloudy weather or conditions of low solar exposures.


Diatom responses to ocean acidification have been documented with variable and controversial results. We grew the coastal diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii under 410 (LC, pH 8.13) vs 1000 μatm (HC, pH 7.83) pCO2 and at different levels of light (80, 140, 220 μmol photons m−2 s−1), and found that light level alters physiological responses to OA. CO2 concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) were down-regulated in the HC-grown cells across all the light levels, as reflected by lowered activity of the periplasmic carbonic anhydrase and decreased photosynthetic affinity for CO2 or dissolved inorganic carbon. The specific growth rate was, however, enhanced significantly by 9.2% only at the limiting low light level. These results indicate that rather than CO2 “fertilization”, the energy saved from down-regulation of CCMs promoted the growth rate of the diatom when light availability is low, in parallel with enhanced respiration under OA to cope with the acidic stress by providing extra energy.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification interacts with growth light to suppress CO2 acquisition efficiency and enhance mitochondrial respiration in a coastal diatom’

Dichotomy between regulation of coral bacterial communities and calcification physiology under ocean acidification conditions

Ocean acidification (OA) threatens the growth and function of coral reef ecosystems. A key component to coral health is the microbiome, but little is known about the impact of OA on coral microbiomes. A submarine CO2 vent at Maug Island in the Northern Marianas Islands provides a natural pH gradient to investigate coral responses to long-term OA conditions. Three coral species (Pocillopora eydouxiPorites lobata, and Porites rus) were sampled from three sites where mean seawater pH is 8.04, 7.98, and 7.94. We characterized coral bacterial communities (using 16S rRNA gene sequencing) and determined pH of the extracellular calcifying fluid (ECF) (using skeletal boron isotopes) across the seawater pH gradient. Bacterial communities of both Porites species stabilized (decreases in community dispersion) with decreased seawater pH, coupled with large increases in the abundance of Endozoicomonas, an endosymbiont. P. lobata experienced a significant decrease in ECF pH near the vent, whereas P. rus experienced a trending decrease in ECF pH near the vent. By contrast, Pocillopora exhibited bacterial community destabilization (increases in community dispersion), with significant decreases in Endozoicomonas abundance, while its ECF pH remained unchanged across the pH gradient. Our study shows that OA has multiple consequences on Endozoicomonas abundance and suggests that Endozoicomonas abundance may be an indicator of coral response to OA. We reveal an interesting dichotomy between two facets of coral physiology (regulation of bacterial communities and regulation of calcification), highlighting the importance of multidisciplinary approaches to understanding coral health and function in a changing ocean.

Continue reading ‘Dichotomy between regulation of coral bacterial communities and calcification physiology under ocean acidification conditions’

Gene expression patterns of red sea urchins (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) exposed to different combinations of temperature and pCO2 during early development


The red sea urchin Mesocentrotus franciscanus is an ecologically important kelp forest herbivore and an economically valuable wild fishery species. To examine how M. franciscanus responds to its environment on a molecular level, differences in gene expression patterns were observed in embryos raised under combinations of two temperatures (13 °C or 17 °C) and two pCO2 levels (475 μatm or 1050 μatm). These combinations mimic various present-day conditions measured during and between upwelling events in the highly dynamic California Current System with the exception of the 17 °C and 1050 μatm combination, which does not currently occur. However, as ocean warming and acidification continues, warmer temperatures and higher pCO2 conditions are expected to increase in frequency and to occur simultaneously. The transcriptomic responses of the embryos were assessed at two developmental stages (gastrula and prism) in light of previously described plasticity in body size and thermotolerance under these temperature and pCO2 treatments.

Continue reading ‘Gene expression patterns of red sea urchins (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) exposed to different combinations of temperature and pCO2 during early development’

Thermal stress reduces pocilloporid coral resilience to ocean acidification by impairing control over calcifying fluid chemistry

The combination of thermal stress and ocean acidification (OA) can more negatively affect coral calcification than an individual stressors, but the mechanism behind this interaction is unknown. We used two independent methods (microelectrode and boron geochemistry) to measure calcifying fluid pH (pHcf) and carbonate chemistry of the corals Pocillopora damicornis and Stylophora pistillata grown under various temperature and pCO2 conditions. Although these approaches demonstrate that they record pHcf over different time scales, they reveal that both species can cope with OA under optimal temperatures (28°C) by elevating pHcf and aragonite saturation state (Ωcf) in support of calcification. At 31°C, neither species elevated these parameters as they did at 28°C and, likewise, could not maintain substantially positive calcification rates under any pH treatment. These results reveal a previously uncharacterized influence of temperature on coral pHcf regulation—the apparent mechanism behind the negative interaction between thermal stress and OA on coral calcification.

Continue reading ‘Thermal stress reduces pocilloporid coral resilience to ocean acidification by impairing control over calcifying fluid chemistry’

Acidification stress effect on umbonate veliger larval development in Panopea globosa


  • The pH significantly influenced the biometric variables in Panopea globosa larvae.
  • Larvae exposed to lower pH showed shell dissolution at the umbo level.
  • The metabolic rate was higher in larvae exposed to acidification compared to the control.
  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase expression levels to pH 7.5 suggest a higher energy requirement.


Ocean acidification generates a decrease in calcium carbonate availability essential for biomineralization in organisms such as mollusks. This effect was evaluated on Panopea globosa exposing for 7 days umbonate veliger larvae to two pH treatments: experimental (pH 7.5) and control (pH 8.0). Exposure to pH 7.5 affected growth, reducing larval shell length from 5.15–13.34% compared to the control group. This size reduction was confirmed with electron microscopy, also showing shell damage. The physiological response showed an increase in oxygen consumption in larvae exposed to low pH with a maximum difference of 1.57 nmol O2 h−1 larvae−1 at day 7. The gene expression analyses reported high expression values for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) dehydrogenase and Perlucin in larvae at pH 7.5, suggesting a higher energetic cost in this larval group to maintain homeostasis. In conclusion, this study showed that acidification affected development of P. globosa umbonate veliger larvae.

Continue reading ‘Acidification stress effect on umbonate veliger larval development in Panopea globosa’

Ocean acidification increases polyspermy of a broadcast spawning bivalve species by hampering membrane depolarization and cortical granule exocytosis


  • Ocean acidification (OA) increases polyspermy risk in the blood clam
  • Population recruitment of broadcast spawning marine species might be threatened by OA
  • OA induces polyspermy via hampering membrane depolarization and cortical reaction
  • Disrupted polyspermy blocking may be due to alterations in intracellular Ca2+ and ATP


Ensuring that oocytes are fertilized by a single sperm during broadcast spawning is crucial for the fertilization success of many marine invertebrates. Although the adverse impacts of ocean acidification (OA) on various marine species have been revealed in recent years, its impact on polyspermy and the underlying mechanisms involved remain largely unknown. Therefore, in the present study, the effect of OA on polyspermy risk was assessed in a broadcast spawning bivalve, Tegillarca granosa. In addition, the impacts of OA on the two polyspermy blocking processes, the fast block (membrane depolarization) and the permanent block (cortical reaction), were investigated. The results show that the exposure of oocytes to two future OA scenarios (pH 7.8 and pH 7.4) leads to significant increases in polyspermy risk, about 1.70 and 2.38 times higher than the control, respectively. The maximum change in the membrane potential during oocyte membrane depolarization markedly decreased to 15.79% (pH 7.8) and 34.06% (pH 7.4) of the control value. Moreover, the duration of oocyte membrane depolarization was significantly reduced to approximately 63.38% (pH 7.8) and 21.91% (pH 7.4) of the control. In addition, cortical granule exocytosis, as well as microfilament migration, were significantly arrested by OA treatment. Exposure to future OA scenarios also led to significant reductions in the ATP and Ca2+ content of the oocytes, which may explain the hampered polyspermy blocking. Overall, the present study suggests that OA may significantly increase polyspermy risk in T. granosa by inhibiting membrane depolarization and arresting cortical granule exocytosis.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification increases polyspermy of a broadcast spawning bivalve species by hampering membrane depolarization and cortical granule exocytosis’

American lobster postlarvae alter gene regulation in response to ocean warming and acidification

Anthropogenic carbon emissions released into the atmosphere is driving rapid, concurrent increases in temperature and acidity across the world’s oceans. Disentangling the interactive effects of warming and acidification on vulnerable life stages is important to our understanding of responses of marine species to climate change. This study evaluates the interactive effects of these stressors on the acute response of gene expression of postlarval American lobster (Homarus americanus), a species whose geographic range is warming and acidifying faster than most of the world’s oceans. In the context of our experiment, we found two especially noteworthy results: First, although physiological end points have consistently been shown to be more responsive to warming in similar experimental designs, our study found gene regulation to be considerably more responsive to elevated pCO2. Furthermore, the combined effect of both stressors on gene regulation was significantly greater than either stressor alone. Using a full factorial experimental design, lobsters were raised in control and elevated pCO2 concentrations (400 ppm and 1,200 ppm) and temperatures (16°C and 19°C). A transcriptome was assembled from an identified 414,517 unique transcripts. Overall, 1,108 transcripts were differentially expressed across treatments, several of which were related to stress response and shell formation. When temperature alone was elevated (19°C), larvae downregulated genes related to cuticle development; when pCO2 alone was elevated (1,200 ppm), larvae upregulated chitinase as well as genes related to stress response and immune function. The joint effects of end‐century stressors (19°C, 1,200 ppm) resulted in the upregulation of those same genes, as well as cellulase, the downregulation of calcified cuticle proteins, and a greater upregulation of genes related to immune response and function. These results indicate that changes in gene expression in larval lobster provide a mechanism to respond to stressors resulting from a rapidly changing environment.

Continue reading ‘American lobster postlarvae alter gene regulation in response to ocean warming and acidification’

Effects of experimental ocean acidification on the larval morphology and metabolism of a temperate Sparid, Chrysoblephus laticeps

Ocean acidification is predicted to have widespread impacts on marine species. The early life stages of fishes, being particularly sensitive to environmental deviations, represent a critical bottleneck to recruitment. We investigated the effects of ocean acidification (∆pH = −0.4) on the oxygen consumption and morphometry during the early ontogeny of a commercially important seabream, Chrysoblephus laticeps, up until flexion. Hatchlings appeared to be tolerant to hypercapnic conditions, exhibiting no difference in oxygen consumption or morphometry between treatments, although the yolk reserves were marginally reduced in the low-pH treatment. The preflexion stages appeared to undergo metabolic depression, exhibiting lower metabolic rates along with lower growth metrics in hypercapnic conditions. However, although the sample sizes were low, the flexion-stage larvae exhibited greater rates of metabolic and growth metric increases in hypercapnic conditions. This study shows that the effects of OA may be stage specific during early ontogeny and potentially related to the development of crucial organs, such as the gills. Future studies investigating the effects of climate change on fish larvae should endeavour to include multiple developmental stages in order to make more accurate predictions on recruitment dynamics for the coming decades.

Continue reading ‘Effects of experimental ocean acidification on the larval morphology and metabolism of a temperate Sparid, Chrysoblephus laticeps’

Ocean acidification inhibits the sperm motility of Tegillarca granosavia disturbing ATP synthesis and intracellular CA2+ activity (Chinese)

Since the industrial revolution, massive amount of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) have been generated to elevate the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Some anthropogenic CO2 have been absorbed by the ocean to cause “ocean acidification” (OA). Although the negative impacts of OA on sperm motility are increasingly found in various marine invertebrate species, the cellular and molecular mechanisms for these effects are still poorly understood. This study investigated the effect of OA (pH7.8 and 7.4) on sperm motility and energy supplying pathway in blood clam Tegillarca granosa. The results showed that the sperm swimming speed reduced significantly in acidified seawater. Since the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) level of sperm is closely related to its motility, we analyzed the sperm ATP content and activities of key enzymes during ATP synthesis under different OA scenarios. OA treatments significantly reduced ATP content as well as activities of 6-phosphofructokinase and pyruvate kinase in the sperm of T. granosa. The sperm Ca2+-ATPase of various animals has been reported to regulate sperm motility. Therefore, we explored the Ca2+-ATPase activity of T. granosa sperm under OA treatment. The results found that Ca2+-ATPase activities in the sperm of T. granosa were significantly declined under OA scenarios. In conclusion, these results suggested that OA could constrain sperm motility through inhibiting ATP synthesis and disturbing intracellular Ca2+ regulation.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification inhibits the sperm motility of Tegillarca granosavia disturbing ATP synthesis and intracellular CA2+ activity (Chinese)’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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