Posts Tagged 'phytoplankton'

Copper exposure and seawater acidification interaction: Antagonistic effects on biomarkers in the zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Mussismilia harttii

Highlights

• 76% of the interactions between reduced seawater pH and increasing copper concentrations were antagonistic, and only 24% of these interactions were additive or synergistic;

• The combination of seawater acidification and increasing copper concentrations had no significant deleterious effects in the photosynthetic metabolism of endosymbionts (Symbiodinium spp.) or Ca-ATPase activity;

• Low copper concentrations had a consistent positive effect on Ca-ATPase activity in corals facing reduced seawater pH conditions;

• Potential deleterious effects on the acid-base balance of corals, associated with changes in carbonic anhydrase activity, were intensified by the combination of stressors;

• Toxic effects of copper in future ocean acidification scenarios can be less severe than previously suggested.

Abstract

Coral reefs are threatened by global and local impacts, such as ocean acidification (OA) and metal contamination. Toxicity of metals, such as copper (Cu), is expected to be enhanced with OA. However, the interaction between these environmental stressors is still poorly evaluated. In the present study, the interactive effects of seawater acidification and increasing Cu concentrations were evaluated in a zooxanthellate scleractinian coral (Mussismilia harttii), using biochemical biomarkers involved in the coral calcification process and the photosynthetic metabolism of endosymbionts. Corals were kept under control conditions (no seawater acidification and no Cu addition in seawater) or exposed to combined treatments of reduced seawater pH (8.1, 7.8, 7.5 and 7.2) and environmentally relevant concentrations of dissolved Cu (measured: 1.0, 1.6, 2.3 and 3.2 µg/L) in a mesocosm system. After 15- and 35-days exposure, corals were analyzed for photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), chlorophyll a content, Ca-ATPase and carbonic anhydrase (CA) activity. Results showed that 76% of the interactions between reduced seawater pH and increasing Cu concentrations were antagonistic. Only 24% of these interactions were additive or synergistic. In general, the combination of stressors had no significant deleterious effects in the photosynthetic metabolism of endosymbionts or Ca-ATPase activity. In fact, the lowest dissolved Cu concentration tested had a consistent positive effect on Ca-ATPase activity in corals facing any of the reduced seawater pH conditions tested. In turn, potentially deleterious effects on acid-base balance in M. harttii, associated with changes in CA activity, were intensified by the combination of stressors. Findings reported here indicate that Cu toxicity in future OA scenarios can be less severe than previously suggested in this coral holobiont.

Continue reading ‘Copper exposure and seawater acidification interaction: Antagonistic effects on biomarkers in the zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Mussismilia harttii’

Effect of elevated pCO2 on trace gas production during an ocean acidification mesocosm experiment (update)

A mesocosm experiment was conducted in Wuyuan Bay (Xiamen), China, to investigate the effects of elevated pCO2 on the phytoplankton species Phaeodactylum tricornutum (P. tricornutum), Thalassiosira weissflogii (T. weissflogii) and Emiliania huxleyi (E. huxleyi) and their production ability of dimethylsulfide (DMS), dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), as well as four halocarbon compounds, bromodichloromethane (CHBrCl2), methyl bromide (CH3Br), dibromomethane (CH2Br2) and iodomethane (CH3I). Over a period of 5 weeks, P. tricornuntum outcompeted T. weissflogii and E. huxleyi, comprising more than 99% of the final biomass. During the logarithmic growth phase (phase I), mean DMS concentration in high pCO2 mesocosms (1000µatm) was 28% lower than that in low pCO2 mesocosms (400µatm). Elevated pCO2 led to a delay in DMSP-consuming bacteria concentrations attached to T. weissflogii and P. tricornutum and finally resulted in the delay of DMS concentration in the high pCO2 treatment. Unlike DMS, the elevated pCO2 did not affect DMSP production ability of T. weissflogii or P. tricornuntum throughout the 5-week culture. A positive relationship was detected between CH3I and T. weissflogii and P. tricornuntum during the experiment, and there was a 40% reduction in mean CH3I concentration in the high pCO2 mesocosms. CHBrCl2, CH3Br, and CH2Br2 concentrations did not increase with elevated chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentrations compared with DMS(P) and CH3I, and there were no major peaks both in the high pCO2 or low pCO2 mesocosms. In addition, no effect of elevated pCO2 was identified for any of the three bromocarbons.

Continue reading ‘Effect of elevated pCO2 on trace gas production during an ocean acidification mesocosm experiment (update)’

Spatio-temporal influence of physicochemical parameters on phytoplankton assemblage in coastal brackish lagoon: Gomishan Lagoon, Caspian Sea, Iran

The objective of this study was to determine the spatiotemporal distribution pattern of phytoplankton assemblage due to physico-chemical heterogeneity in coastal brackish lagoon of Gomishan. An inter-annual cycle of sampling period (April 2014-March 2015) and spatially stratified random sampling were established to examine 24 spatiotemporal scenarios. Water samples were preserved in 1 and 0.5 liter dark Polythene bottles from each station for assessing plankton community and chlorophyll a, respectively. The applied multivariate approach including hierarchical cluster analysis for (dis)similarity test of environmental factors, principle component analysis (PCA) and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used to illustrate the pattern of phytoplankton variability in relation to environmental characteristics. The results showed that mean salinity, temperature, pH, total nitrogen, phosphorus, silica, turbidity, and electrical conductivity (EC) were 22.8±5.9 (ppt), 23.4° C, 8.18, 2.49 (mg.l-1), 0.258 (mg.l-1), 3.39 (mg.l-1), 42.12 (NTU), and 3.78 (dS/m3), respectively. Scenarios S5AT, S5W, S6W, S6AT were distinguished from other scenarios with more than 90% similarity, subsequently S1SU and S5SU with about 80% similarity. Inter-annual mean density of total phytoplankton (cell.l-1) was 2.45×106, whereas in northern sector it was constant with only a peak in June, but in southern sector it was more tolerant, so in April it tended to increase with a peak (7.2×106) in July which was the maximum density over the year. The phytoplankton assemblage of the lagoon comprised 47 species from 5 different classes including Bacillariophyta, Pyrrophyta, Chlorophyta, Cyanophyta, and Euglenophyta.

Continue reading ‘Spatio-temporal influence of physicochemical parameters on phytoplankton assemblage in coastal brackish lagoon: Gomishan Lagoon, Caspian Sea, Iran’

Non-linear physiology and gene expression responses of harmful alga Heterosigma akashiwo to rising CO2

Heterosigma akashiwo is a raphidophyte known for forming ichthyotoxic blooms. In order to predict the potential impacts of rising CO2 on H. akashiwo it is necessary to understand the factors influencing growth rates over a range of CO2 concentrations. Here we examined the physiology and gene expression response of H. akashiwo to concentrations from 200 to 1000 ppm CO2. Growth rate data were combined from this and previous studies and fit with a CO2 limitation-inhibition model that revealed an apparent growth optimum around 600–800 ppm CO2. Physiological changes included a significant increase in C:N ratio at ∼800 ppm CO2 and a significant decrease in hydrogen peroxide concentration at ∼1000 ppm. Whole transcriptome sequencing of H. akashiwo revealed sharp distinctions in metabolic pathway gene expression between ∼600 and ∼800 ppm CO2. Hierarchical clustering by co-expression identified groups of genes with significant correlations to CO2 and growth rate. Genes with significant differential expression with CO2 included carbon concentrating mechanism genes such as beta-carbonic anhydrases and a bicarbonate transporter, which may underpin shifts in physiology. Genes involved in cell motility were significantly changed by both elevated CO2 and growth rate, suggesting that future ocean conditions could modify swimming behavior in this species.

Continue reading ‘Non-linear physiology and gene expression responses of harmful alga Heterosigma akashiwo to rising CO2’

Response of pelagic calcifiers (Foraminifera, Thecosomata) to ocean acidification during oligotrophic and simulated up-welling conditions in the subtropical North Atlantic off Gran Canaria

Planktonic Foraminifera and thecosome pteropods are major producers of calcite and aragonite in the ocean and play an important role for pelagic carbonate flux. The responses of planktonic foraminifers to ocean acidification (OA) are variable among the species tested and so far do not allow for reliable conclusion. Thecosome pteropods respond with reduced calcification and shell dissolution to OA and are considered at high risk especially at high latitudes. The present investigation was part of a large-scale in situ mesocosm experiment in the oligotrophic waters of the eastern subtropical North Atlantic. Over 62 days, we measured the abundance and vertical flux of pelagic foraminifers and thecosome pteropods as part of a natural plankton community over a range of OA scenarios. A bloom phase was initiated by the introduction of deep-water collected from approx. 650 m depth simulating a natural up-welling event. Foraminifers occurred throughout the entire experiment in both the water column and the sediment traps. Pteropods were present only in small numbers and disappeared after the first two weeks of the experiment. No significant CO2 related effects were observed for foraminifers, but cumulative sedimentary flux was reduced at the highest CO2 concentrations. This flux reduction was most likely accompanying an observed flux reduction of particulate organic matter (POM) so that less foraminifers were intercepted and transported downward.

Continue reading ‘Response of pelagic calcifiers (Foraminifera, Thecosomata) to ocean acidification during oligotrophic and simulated up-welling conditions in the subtropical North Atlantic off Gran Canaria’

The impacts of iron limitation and ocean acidification on the cellular stoichiometry, photophysiology, and transcriptome of Phaeocystis antarctica

Phaeocystis antarctica is an integral player of the phytoplankton community of the Southern Ocean (SO), the world’s largest high-nutrient low-chlorophyll region, and faces chronic iron (Fe) limitation. As the SO is responsible for 40% of anthropogenic CO2 uptake, P. antarctica must also deal with ocean acidification (OA). However, mechanistic studies investigating the effects of Fe limitation and OA on trace metal (TM) stoichiometry, transcriptomic, and photophysiological responses of this species, as well as on the Fe chemistry, are lacking. This study reveals that P. antarctica responded strongly to Fe limitation by reducing its growth rate and particulate organic carbon (POC) production. Cellular concentrations of all TMs, not just Fe, were greatly reduced, suggesting that Fe limitation may drive cells into secondary limitation by another TM. P. antarctica was able to adjust its photophysiology in response to Fe limitation, resulting in similar absolute electron transport rates across PSII. Even though OA-stimulated growth in Fe-limited and -replete treatments, the slight reduction in cellular POC resulted in no net effect on POC production. In addition, relatively few genes were differentially expressed due to OA. Finally, this study demonstrates that, under our culture conditions, OA did not affect inorganic Fe or humic-acid-like substances in seawater but triggered the production of humic-acid-like substances by P. antarctica. This species is well adapted to OA under all Fe conditions, giving it a competitive advantage over more sensitive species in a future ocean.

Continue reading ‘The impacts of iron limitation and ocean acidification on the cellular stoichiometry, photophysiology, and transcriptome of Phaeocystis antarctica’

Microzooplankton grazing responds to simulated ocean acidification indirectly through changes in prey cellular characteristics

Microzooplankton (MZP) grazing is a factor that regulates oceanic primary production and is a controlling mechanism for marine biogeochemical cycling. Despite the prominent ecological role of MZP, few studies have explored their responses to ocean acidification (OA). Studies to date generally indicate that MZP are affected indirectly by OA through changes in phytoplankton prey composition and biomass concentration. Here, we conducted a series of experiments testing whether OA-induced changes in cellular characteristics of individual prey species can cause changes in MZP grazing. Two tintinnid ciliates (Eutintinnus sp. and Schmidingerella sp.) and a heterotrophic dinoflagellate (Oxyrrhis marina) were offered phytoplankton prey (Emiliania huxleyi) cultured under 3 pCO2 concentrations. Using linear mixed effects models, we found that Eutintinnus sp. and O. marina exhibited a step-wise increase in ingestion rates on E. huxleyi cells cultured under elevated pCO2. Schmidingerella sp. ingestion showed a non-linear response, whereby cells cultured under high pCO2 were ingested at higher rates than cells from moderate pCO2. The percentages of all 3 MZP populations observed feeding were higher on E. huxleyi cells cultured under elevated pCO2, with Eutintinnus sp. showing a step-wise increase. We postulate that this response is caused by the observed increased coccosphere volume in E. huxleyi cells cultured under elevated pCO2. If changes in phytoplankton cell volume are widespread under OA, this could be an important mechanism by which MZP grazing behavior shifts and planktonic food web dynamics are altered in the future ocean.

Continue reading ‘Microzooplankton grazing responds to simulated ocean acidification indirectly through changes in prey cellular characteristics’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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