Posts Tagged 'physiology'

Nitrogen availability modulates the effects of ocean acidification on biomass yield and food quality of a marine crop Pyropia yezoensis


• Higher pCO2 reduces growth of Pyropia yezoensis.
• Higher pCO2 induces synthesis of phycobiliprotein and flavor amino acids.
• Higher nitrate alleviates the negative effect of ocean acidification on growth.
• Higher nitrate and pCO2 synergistically stimulate phycobiliprotein synthesis.
• Higher nitrate and higher pCO2 synergistically stimulate amino acid synthesis.


Pyropia yezoensis is an important marine crop in the world. We cultured it under two levels of partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) (408 (LC), 998 (HC) μatm) and nitrate (30 (LN) and 500 (HN) μmol L-1) to investigate the effect of ocean acidification on its growth and food quality under changing nitrogen supply. HC decreased growth rate of P. yezoensis under LN but did not affect it under HN. Phycoerythrin and phycocyanin were enhanced by HC, particularly at HN, which contributed to the darker color. HC stimulated the synthesis of sweat amino acids regardless of nitrate condition and umami amino acid only under LN. HN increased the content of umami amino acids regardless of pCO2 condition and sweet amino acids only under LC. Our findings indicate that future ocean acidification may reduce biomass yield of P. yezoensis but increase its color and flavor, which was regulated by nitrate availability.

Continue reading ‘Nitrogen availability modulates the effects of ocean acidification on biomass yield and food quality of a marine crop Pyropia yezoensis’

Additive effects of pCO2 and temperature on respiration rates of the Antarctic pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica

The Antarctic pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica, is a dominant member of the zooplankton in the Ross Sea and supports the vast diversity of marine megafauna that designates this region as an internationally protected area. Here, we observed the response of respiration rate to abiotic stressors associated with global change—environmentally relevant temperature treatments (−0.8°C, 4°C) and pH treatments reflecting current-day and future modeled extremes (8.2, 7.95 and 7.7 pH at −0.8°C; 8.11, 7.95 and 7.7 pH at 4°C). Sampling repeatedly over a 14-day period in laboratory experiments and using microplate respirometry techniques, we found that the metabolic rate of juvenile pteropods increased in response to low-pH exposure (pH 7.7) at −0.8°C, a near-ambient temperature. Similarly, metabolic rate increased when pteropods were exposed simultaneously to multiple stressors: lowered pH conditions (pH 7.7) and a high temperature (4°C). Overall, the results showed that pCO2 and temperature interact additively to affect metabolic rates in pteropods. Furthermore, we found that L. h. antarctica can tolerate acute exposure to temperatures far beyond its maximal habitat temperature. Overall, L. h. antarctica appears to be susceptible to pH and temperature stress, two abiotic stressors which are expected to be especially deleterious for ectothermic marine metazoans in polar seas.

Continue reading ‘Additive effects of pCO2 and temperature on respiration rates of the Antarctic pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica’

Does nutrient availability regulate seagrass response to elevated CO2?

Future increases in oceanic carbon dioxide concentrations (CO2(aq)) may provide a benefit to submerged plants by alleviating photosynthetic carbon limitation. However, other environmental factors (for example, nutrient availability) may alter how seagrasses respond to CO2(aq) by regulating the supply of additional resources required to support growth. Thus, questions remain in regard to how other factors influence CO2(aq) effects on submerged vegetation. This study factorially manipulated CO2(aq) and nutrient availability, in situ, within a subtropical seagrass bed for 350 days, and examined treatment effects on leaf productivity, shoot density, above- and belowground biomass, nutrient content, carbohydrate storage, and sediment organic carbon (Corg). Clear, open-top chambers were used to replicate CO2(aq) forecasts for the year 2100, whereas nutrient availability was manipulated via sediment amendments of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizer. We provide modest evidence of a CO2 effect, which increased seagrass aboveground biomass. CO2(aq) enrichment had no effect on nutrient content, carbohydrate storage, or sediment Corg content. Nutrient addition increased leaf productivity and leaf N content, however did not alter above- or belowground biomass, shoot density, carbohydrate storage, or Corg content. Treatment interactions were not significant, and thus NP availability did not influence seagrass responses to elevated CO2(aq). This study demonstrates that long-term carbon enrichment may alter the structure of shallow seagrass meadows, even in relatively nutrient-poor, oligotrophic systems.

Continue reading ‘Does nutrient availability regulate seagrass response to elevated CO2?’

Variable metabolic responses of Skagerrak invertebrates to low O2 and high CO2 scenarios (update)

Coastal hypoxia is a problem that is predicted to increase rapidly in the future. At the same time, we are facing rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, which are increasing the pCO2 and acidity of coastal waters. These two drivers are well studied in isolation; however, the coupling of low O2 and pH is likely to provide a more significant respiratory challenge for slow moving and sessile invertebrates than is currently predicted. The Gullmar Fjord in Sweden is home to a range of habitats, such as sand and mud flats, seagrass beds, exposed and protected shorelines and rocky bottoms. Moreover, it has a history of both natural and anthropogenically enhanced hypoxia as well as North Sea upwelling, where salty water reaches the surface towards the end of summer and early autumn. A total of 11 species (Crustacean, Chordate, Echinoderm and Mollusc) of these ecosystems were exposed to four different treatments (high or low oxygen and low or high CO2; varying pCO2 of 450 and 1300 µatm and O2 concentrations of 2–3.5 and 9–10 mg L−1) and respiration measured after 3 and 6 days, respectively. This allowed us to evaluate respiration responses of species of contrasting habitats to single and multiple stressors. Results show that respiratory responses were highly species specific as we observed both synergetic as well as antagonistic responses, and neither phylum nor habitat explained trends in respiratory responses. Management plans should avoid the generalized assumption that combined stressors will result in multiplicative effects and focus attention on alleviating hypoxia in the region.

Continue reading ‘Variable metabolic responses of Skagerrak invertebrates to low O2 and high CO2 scenarios (update)’

Impact of ocean acidification and warming on the diversity and the functioning of macroalgal communities (full thesis in French)

Predicted ocean acidification and warming for the end of the century may have drastic consequences on the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. However, a lack of knowledge persists on the impact of future changes on the response of marine communities. This thesis aims to provide new understanding of the impact of ocean acidification and warming at the community level. For this, two ecosystems have been considered: rockpools, characterized by high physico-chemical variations, and maerl beds, with smaller variations. In the laboratory, artificial assemblages were created from the main calcareous and fleshy macroalgal and grazer species present in these two ecosystems. Created assemblages have been subjected to ambient and future temperature and pCO2 conditions. Ocean acidification and warming altered the structure and functioning of maerl bed assemblages, through an increase in the productivity of non-calcareous macroalgae and a decline in maërl calcification rates. The physiology of grazers is negatively impacted by future changes, which altered assemblages’ trophic structure. On the other hand, ocean acidification and warming had no effect on the productivity of rockpool assemblages. The highly variable environment may thus increase the resistance of rockpool communities to future changes, compared to communities from more stable environments, such as maerl beds.

Continue reading ‘Impact of ocean acidification and warming on the diversity and the functioning of macroalgal communities (full thesis in French)’

Juvenile rockfish show resilience to CO2-acidification and hypoxia across multiple biological scales

California’s coastal ecosystems are forecasted to undergo shifting ocean conditions due to climate change, some of which may negatively impact recreational and commercial fish populations. To understand if fish populations have the capacity to respond to multiple stressors, it is critical to examine interactive effects across multiple biological scales, from cellular metabolism to species interactions. This study examined the effects of CO2-acidification and hypoxia on two naturally co-occurring species, juvenile rockfish (genus Sebastes) and a known predator, cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus). Fishes were exposed to two PCO2 levels at two dissolved oxygen (DO) levels: ~600 (ambient) and ~1600 (high) μatm PCO2 and 8.0 (normoxic) and 4.5 mg l−1 DO (hypoxic) and assessments of cellular metabolism, prey behavior and predation mortality rates were quantified after 1 and 3 weeks. Physiologically, rockfish showed acute alterations in cellular metabolic enzyme activity after 1 week of acclimation to elevated PCO2 and hypoxia that were not evident in cabezon. Alterations in rockfish energy metabolism were driven by increases in anaerobic LDH activity, and adjustments in enzyme activity ratios of cytochrome c oxidase and citrate synthase and LDH:CS. Correlated changes in rockfish behavior were also apparent after 1 week of acclimation to elevated PCO2 and hypoxia. Exploration behavior increased in rockfish exposed to elevated PCO2 and spatial analysis of activity indicated short-term interference with anti-predator responses. Predation rate after 1 week increased with elevated PCO2; however, no mortality was observed under the multiple-stressor treatment suggesting negative effects on cabezon predators. Most noteworthy, metabolic and behavioral changes were moderately compensated after 3 weeks of acclimation, and predation mortality rates also decreased suggesting that these rockfish may be resilient to changes in environmental stressors predicted by climate models. Linking physiological and behavioral responses to multiple stressors is vital to understand impacts on populations and community dynamics.

Continue reading ‘Juvenile rockfish show resilience to CO2-acidification and hypoxia across multiple biological scales’

The effects of low seawater pH on energy storage and heat shock protein 70 expression in a bivalve Limecola balthica


• Seawater acidification affected gross biochemical composition of the bivalve Limecola balthica to a limited extent.
• Moderate hypercapnia (pH 7.0) induced elevated catabolism of carbohydrates including glycogen and lipids.
• Biochemical responses did not involve proteins suggesting that amino acids were not utilized as metabolic substrates.
• Clams demonstrated broad tolerance to reduced seawater pH presumably as pre-adaptation to CO2 variations in the environment.


Though biological consequences of CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) implementation into the marine environment have received substantial research attention, the impact of potential CO2 leakage on benthic infauna in the Baltic Sea remained poorly recognized. This study quantified medium-term (56-day laboratory exposure) effects of CO2-induced seawater acidification (pH 7.7, 7.0 and 6.3) on energetic reserves and heat-shock protein HSP70 expression of adult bivalve Limecola balthica from the southern Baltic. While no clear impact was evident in the most acidic treatment (pH 6.3), moderate seawater hypercapnia (pH 7.0) induced elevated catabolism of high caloric reserves (carbohydrates including glycogen and lipids) in order to provide energy to cover enhanced metabolic requirements for acid-base regulation. Biochemical response did not involve, however, breakdown of proteins, suggesting that they were not utilized as metabolic substrates. As indicated also by subtle variations in the chaperone protein HSP70, the clams demonstrated high CO2 tolerance, presumably through development of efficient defensive/compensatory mechanisms during their larval and/or ontogenic life stages.

Continue reading ‘The effects of low seawater pH on energy storage and heat shock protein 70 expression in a bivalve Limecola balthica’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book