Posts Tagged 'physiology'

Changes in growth performance and biochemical composition of Nannochloropsis oceanica in response to elevated CO2 concentrations

We studied the growth performance and biochemical composition (including
soluble carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, phenols, chlorophyll-a, carotenoid and the C/N-ratio) of Nannochloropsis oceanica under various CO2 concentrations. The cell density of N. oceanic increased with a rise in CO2 concentration and got the high level at a CO2 concentration of 1000ppm or 1500ppm. In addition, except the proteins all tested biochemical composition were significantly affected by CO2 concentration (0.01 <P< 0.05; one factorial ANOVA). However comparing with other biochemical components, the contents of phenols in N. oceanic showed the opposite trends (P<0.01; one factorial ANOVA). In general, the short-term stimulation of elevated CO2 concentration to N. oceanic can promote cell division and synthesis of most of biochemical components (expect proteins and phenols).

Continue reading ‘Changes in growth performance and biochemical composition of Nannochloropsis oceanica in response to elevated CO2 concentrations’

Seawater acidification affects the immune enzyme activities of the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum

Ocean acidification leads to changes in physiological and immune responses of bivalves, but the effect on the immune enzyme activities of the Manila clam, Ruditapes philippinarum, when the pH is lower than the normal value has not been studied in detail. In this study, experiments were conducted to determine how pH (7.4, 7.7, 8.0) affects the immune enzyme activities in the gill and hemocytes of the Manila clam. Membrane stability and phagocytosis increased with decrease of pH from 8.0 to 7.7 and then decreased at pH 7.4. The total protein content in the hemocytes and gills decreased with decreasing pH. Lysozyme content in the hemocytes increased with decreasing pH, and the differences were significant among the different pH groups ( P < 0.05). Adenosine triphosphatase activity at pH 7.4 was significantly higher than in the other two groups, but no significant difference was observed between pH 7.7 and 8.0. Catalase activity decreased from pH 8.0 to 7.7 and then increased at pH 7.4, and the differences were significant among the experimental groups ( P < 0.05). These findings provide valuable information about the immune response of R. philippinarum to reduced water pH and insights for future research investigating exposure of bivalves to elevated CO2 conditions.

Continue reading ‘Seawater acidification affects the immune enzyme activities of the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum’

Impact de l’acidification et du réchauffement sur les communautés planctoniques de l’estuaire du Saint-Laurent et la production de diméthylsulfure (in French)

Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have increased since the industrial revolution, leading to modifications in atmospheric CO2 content and an increase in oceanic CO2 partial pressures (pCO2). The uptake of CO2 by the oceans has resulted in a lowering of surface water pH, corresponding to an increase in the acidity of the oceans by ~30 % compared with pre-industrial times. Furthermore, climate change resulting from the accumulation of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere is responsible for the observed warming of sea surface temperatures since the mid 20th century. The fate of planktonic communities in the face of these changes in the marine environment over the next century remains uncertain. Even less understood are the possible interactions of acidification and warming on the production of dimethylsulfide (DMS), a sulfur-containing gas produced by planktonic communities and involved in climate regulation. The aim of this thesis is to determine the impact of heightened pCO2 on the development of the phytoplanktonic blooms in the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary (LSLE), and their production of DMS, as well as to evaluate how concomitant warming could modulate the effects of acidification. Two intricate experiments were carried out during this study. First, a microcosm experiment (~20 L) was conducted in the summer of 2013 to assess the effects of pCO2 on the development of the LSLE spring diatom bloom, paying special attention to the microbial processes governing the production of DMS. Second, a multifactorial mesocosm experiment (~2600 L) was carried out in the fall of 2014 to investigate the combined effects of pCO2 and temperature on the development of the fall bloom in the LSLE and the production of DMS. Results from our microcosm experiment show that the blooming phytoplankton community of the LSLE during spring is resistant to pCO2 increases superior to the expected values for 2100. This resistance likely reflects its adaptation to the estuarine setting, an environment known for rapid and intense fluctuations of pCO2. This first experiment has also highlighted a reduction of the average concentrations of DMS by 15 and 40 % in planktonic assemblages respectively subjected to pCO2 of ~1850 μatm and ~2700 μatm compared to the control (~775 μatm). Parallel incubations have shown, using 35S-DMSPd, that the negative effect of acidification on DMS mostly stemmed from a decrease in the conversion efficiency of DMSP to DMS by bacteria. The second experiment has also highlighted a strong resistance of the diatom Skeletonema costatum to a wide range of pH (~8.0–7.2), and corresponding pCO2 (~90–3000 μatm). In this study, a warming of 5 °C accelerated the development and decline of the bloom, but did not affect the integrated primary production over the duration of the experiment. As in the first experiment, heightened pCO2 resulted in a decrease of average concentrations of DMS of ~66 % in the most acidified mesocosms compared to the least acidified mesocosms at in situ temperature (10 °C). However, the negative effect of an increase in pCO2 on the net production of DMS could be mitigated by a warming of surface waters. Indeed, my results reveal that the net production of DMS was higher at 15 °C compared to 10 °C over the whole pCO2 gradient in our mesocosm study. These novel results suggest that warming of surface waters could mitigate, at least partly, the negative effect of acidification on DMS net production in the LSLE and perhaps in the world’s oceans.

Continue reading ‘Impact de l’acidification et du réchauffement sur les communautés planctoniques de l’estuaire du Saint-Laurent et la production de diméthylsulfure (in French)’

Ocean acidification buffers the physiological responses of the king ragworm Alitta virens to the common pollutant copper


• Whilst ocean acidification (OA) often increases the toxicity of copper to marine invertebrates, here we find the opposite in the ragworm Alitta virens.

• There was no increase in copper-induced DNA damage or lipid peroxidation under OA conditions.

• Instead OA appeared to buffer the effects of copper on lipid peroxidation and acid-base disturbance, reducing these effects relative to ambient seawater conditions.


Ocean acidification (OA) has the potential to alter the bioavailability of pH sensitive metals contaminating coastal sediments, particularly copper, by changing their speciation in seawater. Hence OA may drive increased toxicity of these metals to coastal biota. Here, we demonstrate complex interactions between OA and copper on the physiology and toxicity responses of the sediment dwelling polychaete Alitta virens. Worm coelomic fluid pCO2 was not increased by exposure to OA conditions (pHNBS 7.77, pCO2 530 μatm) for 14 days, suggesting either physiological or behavioural responses to control coelomic fluid pCO2. Exposure to 0.25 µM nominal copper caused a decrease in coelomic fluid pCO2 by 43.3% and bicarbonate ions by 44.6% but paradoxically this copper-induced effect was reduced under near-future OA conditions. Hence OA appeared to ‘buffer’ the copper-induced acid-base disturbance. DNA damage was significantly increased in worms exposed to copper under ambient pCO2 conditions, rising by 11.1% compared to the worms in the no copper control, but there was no effect of OA conditions on the level of DNA damage induced by copper when exposed in combination. These interactions differ from the increased copper toxicity under OA conditions reported for several other invertebrate species. Hence this new evidence adds to the developing paradigm that species’ physiology is key in determining the interactions of these two stressors rather than it purely being driven by the changes in metal chemistry under lower seawater pH.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification buffers the physiological responses of the king ragworm Alitta virens to the common pollutant copper’

Stress responses in Crassostrea gasar exposed to combined effects of acute pH changes and phenanthrene


• Acidification is capable to unbalance transcription of biotransformation genes.

• CYP2AU1, CYP2-like2 and GSTΩ genes were upregulated at pH 6.5.

• Water acidification increases gill’s susceptibility to oxidative stress.

• PHE activated enzymatic antioxidant system after 96 h exposure.

• Oysters can protect against with oxidative stress.


Ocean acidification is a result of the decrease in the pH of in marine water, caused mainly by the increase in CO2 released in the atmosphere and its consequent dissolution in seawater. These changes can be dramatic for marine organisms especially for oysters Crassostrea gasar if other stressors such as xenobiotics are present. The effect of pH changes (6.5, 7.0 and 8.2) was assessed on the transcript levels of biotransformation [cytochromes P450 (CYP2AU1, CYP2-like2) and glutathione S-transferase (GSTΩ-like)] and antioxidant [superoxide dismutase (SOD-like), catalase (CAT-like) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx-like)] genes, as well as enzyme activities [superoxide dismutase, (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione-S-transferases (GST) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH)] and lipid peroxidation (MDA) in the gills of Crassostrea gasar exposed to 100 μg·L−1 of phenanthrene (PHE) for 24 and 96 h. Likewise, the PHE burdens was evaluated in whole soft tissues of exposed oysters. The accumulation of PHE in oysters was independent of pH. However, acidification promoted a significant decrease in the transcript levels of some protective genes (24 h exposure: CYP2AU1 and GSTΩ-like –; 96 h exposure: CAT-like and GPx-like), which was not observed in the presence of PHE. Activities of GST, CAT and SOD enzymes increased in the oysters exposed to PHE at the control pH (8.2), but at a lower pH values, this activation was suppressed, and no changes were observed in the G6PDH activity and MDA levels. Biotransformation genes showed better responses after 24 h, and antioxidant-coding genes after 96 h, along with the activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT), probably because biotransformation of PHE increases the generation of reactive oxygen species. The lack of change in MDA levels suggests that antioxidant modulation efficiently prevented oxidative stress. The effect of pH on the responses to PHE exposure should be taken into account before using these and any other genes as potential molecular biomarkers for PHE exposure.

Continue reading ‘Stress responses in Crassostrea gasar exposed to combined effects of acute pH changes and phenanthrene’

Functional responses of smaller and larger diatoms to gradual CO2 rise


• The growth of diatoms appears to be saturated under the contemporary CO2 level.

• A smaller diatom is more prone to photoinhibition with gradual CO2 rise.

• CO2 modulation methods significantly affect growth and physiological responses to CO2.


Diatoms and other phytoplankton groups are exposed to abrupt changes in pCO2, in waters in upwelling areas, near CO2 seeps, or during their blooms; or to more gradual pCO2 rise through anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Gradual CO2 rises have, however, rarely been included in ocean acidification (OA) studies. We therefore compared how small (Thalassiosira pseudonana) and larger (Thalassiosira weissflogii) diatom cell isolates respond to gradual pCO2 rises from 180 to 1000 μatm in steps of ~40 μatm with 5–10 generations at each step, and whether their responses to gradual pCO2 rise differ when compared to an abrupt pCO2 rise imposed from ambient 400 directly to 1000 μatm. Cell volume increased in T. pseudonana but decreased in T. weissflogii with an increase from low to moderate CO2 levels, and then remained steady under yet higher CO2 levels. Growth rates were stimulated, but Chl a, particulate organic carbon (POC) and cellular biogenic silica (BSi) decreased from low to moderate CO2 levels, and then remained steady with further CO2 rise in both species. Decreased saturation light intensity (Ik) and light use efficiency (α) with CO2 rise in T. pseudonana indicate that the smaller diatom becomes more susceptible to photoinhibition. Decreased BSi/POC (Si/C) in T. weissflogii indicates the biogeochemical cycles of both silicon and carbon may be more affected by elevated pCO2 in the larger diatom. The different CO2 modulation methods resulted in different responses of some key physiological parameters. Increasing pCO2 from 180 to 400 μatm decreased cellular POC and BSi contents, implying that ocean acidification to date has already altered diatom contributions to carbon and silicon biogeochemical processes.

Continue reading ‘Functional responses of smaller and larger diatoms to gradual CO2 rise’

Physiological trade-offs, acid-base balance and ion-osmoregulatory plasticity in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) juveniles under complex scenarios of salinity variation, ocean acidification and high ammonia challenge


• Ocean acidification (OA) is becoming a serious threat to the marine ecosystem.

• OA can co-occur with other perturbations including salinity reduction and high ammonia.

• Interactive effects of these three stressers were evaluated on performance of European sea bass.

• Physiological, ion-osmoregulatory and gene-expression responses were modulated differentially under experimental conditions.

• Fish became more vulnerable to OA and ammonia toxicity at low salinities.


In this era of global climate change, ocean acidification is becoming a serious threat to the marine ecosystem. Despite this, it remains almost unknown how fish will respond to the co-occurrence of ocean acidification with other conventional environmental perturbations typically salinity fluctuation and high ammonia threat. Therefore, the present work evaluated the interactive effects of elevated pCO2, salinity reduction and high environmental ammonia (HEA) on the ecophysiological performance of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Fish were progressively acclimated to seawater (32 ppt), to brackish water (10 ppt) and to hyposaline water (2.5 ppt). Following acclimation to different salinities for at least two weeks, fish were exposed to CO2-induced water acidification representing present-day (control pCO2, 400 μatm, LoCO2) and future (high pCO2, 1000 μatm, HiCO2) sea-surface CO2 level for 3, 7 and 21 days. At the end of each exposure period, fish were challenged with HEA for 6 h (1.18 mM representing 50% of 96 h LC50). Results show that, in response to the individual HiCO2 exposure, fish within each salinity compensated for blood acidosis. Fish subjected to HiCO2 were able to maintain ammonia excretion rate (Jamm) within control levels, suggesting that HiCO2 exposure alone had no impact on Jamm at any of the salinities. For 32 and 10 ppt fish, up-regulated expression of Na+/K+-ATPase was evident in all exposure groups (HEA, HiCO2 and HEA/HiCO2 co-exposed), whereas Na+/K+/2Cl− co-transporter was up-regulated mainly in HiCO2 group. Plasma glucose and lactate content were augmented in all exposure conditions for all salinity regimes. During HEA and HEA/HiCO2, Jamm was inhibited at different time points for all salinities, which resulted in a significant build-up of ammonia in plasma and muscle. Branchial expressions of Rhesus glycoproteins (Rhcg isoforms and Rhbg) were upregulated in response to HiCO2 as well as HEA at 10 ppt, with a more moderate response in 32 ppt groups. Overall, our findings denote that the adverse effect of single exposures of ocean acidification or HEA is exacerbated when present together, and suggests that fish are more vulnerable to these environmental threats at low salinities.

Continue reading ‘Physiological trade-offs, acid-base balance and ion-osmoregulatory plasticity in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) juveniles under complex scenarios of salinity variation, ocean acidification and high ammonia challenge’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book