Posts Tagged 'phytoplankton'

Biodiversity distribution patterns of marine phytoplankton and their main threats (climate change, eutrophication and acidification)

Marine phytoplankton is generally defined as the unicellular photoautrophic algae that “wander” drifted by the water body movements. This group accounts for 45% of the annual net carbon fixed by photosynthesis on the Earth, although they represent less than 1% of the photoautotroph biomass. Taxonomically, marine phytoplankton is an umbrella term that includes organisms fairly different from an evolutionary perspective from prokaryote cells, Cyanophyta, as well as eukaryotic organisms belonging to eight major divisions or phyla. They are Haptophyta, Cryptophyta, Bacillariophyta, Chlorophyta, Chrysophyceae, Dictyophycea, Xanthophycea, and Dinophycea. Other common features of the phytoplankton communities, tightly linked to the coexistence of multiple species, is that their abundance distribution follows a power function of the cell mass. One of the main features of the phytoplankton communities is their elevated spatial and temporal variability in comparison to their terrestrial counterparts.

Continue reading ‘Biodiversity distribution patterns of marine phytoplankton and their main threats (climate change, eutrophication and acidification)’

Physiological responses of Skeletonema costatum to the interactions of seawater acidification and combination of photoperiod and temperature

Ocean acidification (OA), which is a major environmental change caused by increasing atmospheric CO2, has considerable influences on marine phytoplankton. But few studies have investigated interactions of OA and seasonal changes in temperature and photoperiod on marine diatoms. In the present study, a marine diatom Skeletonema costatum was cultured under two different CO2 levels (LC, 400 μatm; HC, 1000 μatm) and three different combinations of temperature and photoperiod length (8:16 L:D with 5 ℃, 12:12 L:D with 15 ℃, 16:8 L:D with 25 ℃), simulating different seasons in typical temperate oceans, to investigate the combined effects of these factors. The results showed that specific growth rate of S. costatum increased with increasing temperature and daylength. However, OA showed contrasting effects on growth and photosynthesis under different combinations of temperature and daylength: while positive effects of OA were observed under spring and autumn conditions, it significantly decreased growth (11 %) and photosynthesis (21 %) in winter. In addition, low temperature and short daylength decreased the proteins of PSII (D1, CP47 and RubcL) at ambient pCO2 level, while OA alleviated the negative effect. These data indicated that future ocean acidification may show differential effects on diatoms in different cluster of other factors.

Continue reading ‘Physiological responses of Skeletonema costatum to the interactions of seawater acidification and combination of photoperiod and temperature’

Impact of dust enrichment on Mediterranean plankton communities under present and future conditions of pH and temperature: an experimental overview

In Low Nutrient Low Chlorophyll areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea, atmospheric fluxes represent a considerable external source of nutrients likely supporting primary production especially during stratification periods. These areas are expected to expand in the future due to lower nutrient supply from sub-surface waters caused by enhanced stratification, likely further increasing the role of atmospheric deposition as a source of new nutrients to surface waters. Yet, whether plankton communities will react differently to dust deposition in a warmer and acidified environment remains an open question. The impact of dust deposition both in present and future climate conditions was assessed through three perturbation experiments in the open Mediterranean Sea. Climate reactors (300 L) were filled with surface water collected in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Ionian Sea and in the Algerian basin during a cruise conducted in May/June 2017 in the frame of the PEACETIME project. The experimental protocol comprised two unmodified control tanks, two tanks enriched with a Saharan dust analog and two tanks enriched with the dust analog and maintained under warmer (+3 °C) and acidified (−0.3 pH unit) conditions. Samples for the analysis of an extensive number of biogeochemical parameters and processes were taken over the duration of the experiments (3–4 d). Here, we present the general setup of the experiments and the impacts of dust seeding and/or future climate change scenario on nutrients and biological stocks. Dust addition led to a rapid and maximum input of nitrate whereas phosphate release from the dust analog was much smaller. Our results showed that the impacts of Saharan dust deposition in three different basins of the open Northwestern Mediterranean Sea are at least as strong as those observed previously in coastal waters. However, interestingly, the effects of dust deposition on biological stocks were highly different between the three investigated stations and could not be attributed to differences in their degree of oligotrophy but rather to the initial metabolic state of the community. Finally, ocean acidification and warming did not drastically modify the composition of the autotrophic assemblage with all groups positively impacted by warming and acidification, suggesting an exacerbation of effects from atmospheric dust deposition in the future.

Continue reading ‘Impact of dust enrichment on Mediterranean plankton communities under present and future conditions of pH and temperature: an experimental overview’

Ocean acidification reduces growth and grazing impact of Antarctic heterotrophic nanoflagellates

High-latitude oceans have been identified as particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification if anthropogenic CO2 emissions continue. Marine microbes are an essential part of the marine food web and are a critical link in biogeochemical processes in the ocean, such as the cycling of nutrients and carbon. Despite this, the response of Antarctic marine microbial communities to ocean acidification is poorly understood. We investigated the effect of increasing fCO2 on the growth of heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNFs), nano- and picophytoplankton, and prokaryotes (heterotrophic Bacteria and Archaea) in a natural coastal Antarctic marine microbial community from Prydz Bay, East Antarctica. At CO2 levels ≥634 µatm, HNF abundance was reduced, coinciding with increased abundance of picophytoplankton and prokaryotes. This increase in picophytoplankton and prokaryote abundance was likely due to a reduction in top-down control of grazing HNFs. Nanophytoplankton abundance was elevated in the 634 µatm treatment, suggesting that moderate increases in CO2 may stimulate growth. The taxonomic and morphological differences in CO2 tolerance we observed are likely to favour dominance of microbial communities by prokaryotes, nanophytoplankton, and picophytoplankton. Such changes in predator–prey interactions with ocean acidification could have a significant effect on the food web and biogeochemistry in the Southern Ocean, intensifying organic-matter recycling in surface waters; reducing vertical carbon flux; and reducing the quality, quantity, and availability of food for higher trophic levels.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification reduces growth and grazing impact of Antarctic heterotrophic nanoflagellates’

Physiological and molecular responses to ocean acidification among strains of a model diatom

Differential responses of diatoms, an important group of marine primary producers to ocean acidification, have been well documented. However, studies so far are based on limited representative strains from key species. Investigation of strain level responses will help us better understand the contrasting discrepancy in diatom responses to ocean acidification. Here, we selected four strains of the model diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum isolated from different regions of the global ocean, representing all genotypes based on internal transcribed spacer 2 sequences, and investigated strain‐specific responses to ocean acidification. In response to ocean acidification, changes in carbon metabolism varied among strains, although no significant effects of ocean acidification on growth rates or pigments were observed in any strains. The expression of genes encoding plasma membrane bicarbonate transporters was downregulated in strain Pt4, reflecting a potential decrease in active urn:x-wiley:00243590:media:lno11565:lno11565-math-0001 uptake, which was not observed in the other strains. Reduction of CO2 concentrating mechanism efficiency was also indicated by the regulated expression of genes encoding carbonic anhydrases that catalyze the interconversion of urn:x wiley:00243590:media:lno11565:lno11565-math-0002 and CO2 in the pyrenoids and pyrenoid‐penetrating thylakoid, which exhibited different patterns among the strains. Under ocean acidification conditions, C4‐like metabolism appeared to redistribute carbon flux to gluconeogenesis in strain Pt1, and lipid synthesis in strains Pt8 and Pt11, rather than participating in net photosynthetic carbon fixation. These variations were incompletely correlated with phylogenetic relationship in different strains, implying that the habitat‐adapted imprints of the different strains could also be responsible for their differential responses to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Physiological and molecular responses to ocean acidification among strains of a model diatom’

Ocean acidification impacts on biomass and fatty acid composition of a post-bloom marine plankton community

A mesocosm approach was used to investigate the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on a natural plankton community in coastal waters off Norway by manipulating CO2 partial pressure ( pCO2). Eight enclosures were deployed in the Raunefjord near Bergen. Treatment levels were ambient (~320 µatm) and elevated pCO2 (~2000 µatm), each in 4 replicate enclosures. The experiment lasted for 53 d in May-June 2015. To assess impacts of OA on the plankton community, phytoplankton and protozooplankton biomass and total seston fatty acid content were analyzed. In both treatments, the plankton community was dominated by the dinoflagellate Ceratium longipes. In the elevated pCO2 treatment, however, biomass of this species as well as that of other dinoflagellates was strongly negatively affected. At the end of the experiment, total dinoflagellate biomass was 4-fold higher in the control group than under elevated pCO2 conditions. In a size comparison of C. longipes, cell size in the high pCO2 treatment was significantly larger. The ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids of seston decreased at high pCO2. In particular, the concentration of docosahexaenoic acid (C 22:6n3c), essential for development and reproduction of metazoans, was less than half at high pCO2 compared to ambient pCO2. Thus, elevated pCO2 led to a deterioration in the quality and quantity of food in a natural plankton community, with potential consequences for the transfer of matter and energy to higher trophic levels.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification impacts on biomass and fatty acid composition of a post-bloom marine plankton community’

Population growth, nauplii production and post-embryonic development of Pseudodiaptomus annandalei (Sewell, 1919) in response to temperature, light intensity, pH, salinity and diets

The present attempt revealed influence of salinity, temperature, pH, light intensity and diet on survival, fecundity, population density and embryonic development of the marine calanoid copepod, Pseudodiaptomus annandalei. Various levels of salinity viz., 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 ppt; temperature (21, 24, 27, 30, 33, and 36 °C); pH (6.5, 7, 7.5, 8.0, and 8.5); light intensity (500, 1500, 3000, and 4500 lux); and different microalgal feed viz., Chlorella marina (CHL), Isochrysis galbana (ISO), Tetraselmis suecica (TET), Nannochloropsis occulata (NAN), Dunaliella salina (DUN), Picochlorum maculatum (PICO) and mixed microalgae (MIX) at equal ratio were employed to determine the impact on biology of P. annandalei. The better survival and reproduction was achieved under the salinity 25 ppt, temperature 27 °C, pH 8, light intensity 500 lux and with ISO diet. The developmental time was recorded to be short at 25 ppt, 30 ºC, pH 8 and light intensity 500 lux with ISO diet. Although, the highest yield was obtained under those parameter regimes, P. annandalei seems to be optimistic with wide range of environmental conditions. This study has confirmed that P. annandalei can be cultured at commercial scale as aqua feed and as model organism in toxicity experiments.

Continue reading ‘Population growth, nauplii production and post-embryonic development of Pseudodiaptomus annandalei (Sewell, 1919) in response to temperature, light intensity, pH, salinity and diets’

Interactive effects of increased temperature, elevated pCO2 and different nitrogen sources on the coccolithophore Gephyrocapsaoceanica

As a widespread phytoplankton species, the coccolithophore Gephyrocapsaoceanica has a significant impact on the global biogeochemical cycle through calcium carbonate precipitation and photosynthesis. As global change continues, marine phytoplankton will experience alterations in multiple parameters, including temperature, pH, CO2, and nitrogen sources, and the interactive effects of these variables should be examined to understand how marine organisms will respond to global change. Here, we show that the specific growth rate of G. oceanica is reduced by elevated CO2 (1000 μatm) in -grown cells, while it is increased by high CO2 in -grown ones. This difference was related to intracellular metabolic regulation, with decreased cellular particulate organic carbon and particulate organic nitrogen (PON) content in the and high CO2 condition compared to the low CO2 condition. In contrast, no significant difference was found between the high and low CO2 levels in cultures (p > 0.05). The temperature increase from 20°C to 25°C increased the PON production rate, and the enhancement was more prominent in cultures. Enhanced or inhibited particulate inorganic carbon production rate in cells supplied with relative to was observed, depending on the temperature and CO2 condition. These results suggest that a greater disruption of the organic carbon pump can be expected in response to the combined effects of increased / ratio, temperature, and CO2 level in the oceans of the future. Additional experiments conducted under nutrient limitation conditions are needed before we can extrapolate our findings to the global oceans.

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Effects of multiple drivers of ocean global change on the physiology and functional gene expression of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

Ongoing ocean global change due to anthropogenic activities is causing multiple chemical and physical seawater properties to change simultaneously, which may affect the physiology of marine phytoplankton. The coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi is a model species often employed in the study of the marine carbon cycle. The effect of ocean acidification (OA) on coccolithophore calcification has been extensively studied; however, physiological responses to multiple environmental drivers are still largely unknown. Here we examined two‐way and multiple driver effects of OA and other key environmental drivers—nitrate, phosphate, irradiance, and temperature—on the growth, photosynthetic, and calcification rates, and the elemental composition of E. huxleyi. In addition, changes in functional gene expression were examined to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning the physiological responses. The single driver manipulation experiments suggest decreased nitrate supply being the most important driver regulating E. huxleyi physiology, by significantly reducing the growth, photosynthetic, and calcification rates. In addition, the interaction of OA and decreased nitrate supply (projected for year 2100) had more negative synergistic effects on E. huxleyi physiology than all other two‐way factorial manipulations, suggesting a linkage between the single dominant driver (nitrate) effects and interactive effects with other drivers. Simultaneous manipulation of all five environmental drivers to the conditions of the projected year 2100 had the largest negative effects on most of the physiological metrics. Furthermore, functional genes associated with inorganic carbon acquisition (RubisCO, AEL1, and δCA) and calcification (CAX3, AEL1, PATP, and NhaA2) were most downregulated by the multiple driver manipulation, revealing linkages between responses of functional gene expression and associated physiological metrics. These findings together indicate that for more holistic projections of coccolithophore responses to future ocean global change, it is necessary to understand the relative importance of environmental drivers both individually (i.e., mechanistic understanding) and interactively (i.e., cumulative effect) on coccolithophore physiology.

Continue reading ‘Effects of multiple drivers of ocean global change on the physiology and functional gene expression of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi’

Coccolithophore community response to ocean acidification and warming in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: results from a mesocosm experiment

Mesocosm experiments have been fundamental to investigate the effects of elevated CO2 and ocean acidification (OA) on planktic communities. However, few of these experiments have been conducted using naturally nutrient-limited waters and/or considering the combined effects of OA and ocean warming (OW). Coccolithophores are a group of calcifying phytoplankton that can reach high abundances in the Mediterranean Sea, and whose responses to OA are modulated by temperature and nutrients. We present the results of the first land-based mesocosm experiment testing the effects of combined OA and OW on an oligotrophic Eastern Mediterranean coccolithophore community. Coccolithophore cell abundance drastically decreased under OW and combined OA and OW (greenhouse, GH) conditions. Emiliania huxleyi calcite mass decreased consistently only in the GH treatment; moreover, anomalous calcifications (i.e. coccolith malformations) were particularly common in the perturbed treatments, especially under OA. Overall, these data suggest that the projected increase in sea surface temperatures, including marine heatwaves, will cause rapid changes in Eastern Mediterranean coccolithophore communities, and that these effects will be exacerbated by OA.

Continue reading ‘Coccolithophore community response to ocean acidification and warming in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: results from a mesocosm experiment’


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