Posts Tagged 'phytoplankton'

Solar UVR sensitivity of phyto- and bacterioplankton communities from Patagonian coastal waters under increased nutrients and acidification

The effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) under future expected conditions of acidification and increase in nutrient inputs were studied on a post-bloom phytoplankton and bacterioplankton community of Patagonian coastal waters. We performed an experiment using microcosms where two environmental conditions were mimicked using a cluster approach: present (ambient nutrients and pH) and future (increased nutrients and acidification), and acclimating the samples for five days to two radiation treatments (full solar radiation [+UVR] and exclusion of UVR [–UVR]). We evaluated the short-term (hours) sensitivity of the community to solar UVR through chlorophyll afluorescence parameters (e.g. the effective photochemical quantum yield of PSII [ΦPSII]) at the beginning, at the mid-point and at the end of the acclimation period. Primary production and heterotrophic bacterial production (HBP) were determined, and biological weighting functions were calculated, at the beginning and at the end of the acclimation period. Mid-term effects (days) were evaluated as changes in taxonomic composition, growth rates and size structure of the community. Although the UVR-induced inhibition on ΦPSII decreased in both clusters, samples remained sensitive to UVR after the 5 days of acclimation. Also, under the future conditions, there was, in general, an increase in the phytoplankton carbon incorporation rates along the experiment as compared to the present conditions. Bacterioplankton sensitivity to UVR changed along the experiment from inhibition to enhancement of HBP, and future environmental conditions stimulated bacterial growth, probably due to indirect effects caused by phytoplankton. Those changes in the microbial loop functioning and structure under future global change conditions might have important consequences for the carbon pump and thus for the carbon sequestration and trophodynamics of Patagonian coastal waters.

Continue reading ‘Solar UVR sensitivity of phyto- and bacterioplankton communities from Patagonian coastal waters under increased nutrients and acidification’

Combined effects of elevated pCO2 and warming facilitate Cyanophage infections

Elevated pCO2 and warming are generally expected to influence cyanobacterial growth, and may promote the formation of blooms. Yet, both climate change factors may also influence cyanobacterial mortality by favoring pathogens, such as viruses, which will depend on the ability of the host to adapt. To test this hypothesis, we grew Plectonema boryanum IU597 under two temperature (25 and 29°C) and two pCO2 (400 and 800 μatm) conditions for 1 year, after which all treatments were re-exposed to control conditions for a period of 3 weeks. At several time points during the 1 year period, and upon re-exposure, we measured various infection characteristics of it associated cyanophage PP, including the burst size, latent period, lytic cycle and the efficiency of plaquing (EOP). As expected, elevated pCO2 promoted growth of P. boryanumequally over the 1 year period, but warming did not. Burst size increased in the warm treatment, but decreased in both the elevated pCO2 and combined treatment. The latent period and lytic cycle both became shorter in the elevated pCO2 and higher temperature treatment, and were further reduced by the combined effect of both factors. Efficiency of plaquing (EOP) decreased in the elevated pCO2 treatment, increased in the warm treatment, and increased even stronger in the combined treatment. These findings indicate that elevated pCO2 enhanced the effect of warming, thereby further promoting the virus infection rate. The re-exposure experiments demonstrate adaptation of the host leading to higher biomass build-up with elevated pCO2 over the experimental period, and lower performance upon re-exposure to control conditions. Similarly, virus burst size and EOP increased when given warm adapted host, but were lower as compared to the control when the host was re-exposed to control conditions. Our results demonstrate that adaptation but particularly physiological acclimation to climate change conditions favored viral infections, while limited host plasticity and slow adaptation after re-exposure to control conditions impeded host biomass build-up and viral infections.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of elevated pCO2 and warming facilitate Cyanophage infections’

Effects of temperature and pCO2 on population regulation of Symbiodinium spp. in a tropical reef coral

This study tested the bleaching response of the Pacific coral Seriatopora caliendrumto short-term exposure to high temperature and elevated partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2). Juvenile colonies collected from Nanwan Bay, Taiwan, were used in a factorial experimental design in which 2 temperatures (∼27.6 °C and ∼30.4 °C) and 2 pCO2 values (∼47.2 Pa and ∼90.7 Pa) were crossed to evaluate, over 12 days, the effects on the densities and physiology of the symbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium) in the corals. Thermal bleaching, as defined by a reduction of Symbiodinium densities at high temperature, was unaffected by high pCO2. The division, or mitotic index (MI), of Symbiodinium remaining in thermally bleached corals was about 35% lower than in control colonies, but they contained about 53% more chlorophyll. Bleaching was highly variable among colonies, but the differences were unrelated to MI or pigment content of Symbiodinium remaining in the coral host. At the end of the study, all of the corals contained clade C Symbiodinium (either C1d or C15), and the genetic variation of symbionts did not account for among-colony bleaching differences. These results showed that high temperature causes coral bleaching independent of pCO2, and underscores the potential role of the coral host in driving intraspecific variation in coral bleaching.

Continue reading ‘Effects of temperature and pCO2 on population regulation of Symbiodinium spp. in a tropical reef coral’

Distribution of planktonic biogenic carbonate organisms in the Southern Ocean south of Australia: a baseline for ocean acidification impact assessment

The Southern Ocean provides a vital service by absorbing about one sixth of humankind’s annual emissions of CO2. This comes with a cost – an increase in ocean acidity that is expected to have negative impacts on ocean ecosystems. The reduced ability of phytoplankton and zooplankton to precipitate carbonate shells is a clearly identified risk. The impact depends on the significance of these organisms in Southern Ocean ecosystems, but there is very little information on their abundance or distribution. To quantify their presence, we used coulometric measurement of particulate inorganic carbonate (PIC) on particles filtered from surface seawater into two size fractions: 50–1000 μm to capture foraminifera (the most important biogenic carbonate forming zooplankton) and 1–50 μm to capture coccolithophores (the most important biogenic carbonate forming phytoplankton). Ancillary measurements of biogenic silica (BSi) and particulate organic carbon (POC) provided context, as estimates of the abundance of diatoms (the most abundant phytoplankton in polar waters), and total microbial biomass, respectively. Results for 9 transects from Australia to Antarctica in 2008–2015 showed low levels of PIC compared to northern hemisphere polar waters. Coccolithophores slightly exceeded the biomass of diatoms in Subantarctic waters, but their abundance decreased more than 30-fold poleward, while diatom abundances increased, so that on a molar basis PIC was only 1 % of BSi in Antarctic waters. This limited importance of coccolithophores in the Southern Ocean is further emphasized in terms of their associated POC, representing less than 1 % of total POC in Antarctic waters and less than 10 % in Subantarctic waters. NASA satellite ocean colour based PIC estimates were in reasonable agreement with (though somewhat higher than) the shipboard results in Subantarctic waters, but greatly over-estimated PIC in Antarctic waters. Contrastingly, the NASA Ocean Biogeochemical Model (NOBM) shows coccolithophores as overly restricted to Subtropical and northern Subantarctic waters. The cause of the strong southward decrease in PIC abundance in the Southern Ocean is not yet clear. Poleward decrease in pH is small and while calcite saturation decreases strongly southward it remains well above saturation (> 2). Nitrate and phosphate variations would predict a poleward increase. Temperature and competition with diatoms for limiting iron appear likely to be important. While the future trajectory of coccolithophore distributions remains uncertain, their current low abundances suggest small impacts on overall Southern Ocean pelagic ecology.

Continue reading ‘Distribution of planktonic biogenic carbonate organisms in the Southern Ocean south of Australia: a baseline for ocean acidification impact assessment’

Ocean acidification changes the structure of an Antarctic coastal protistan community

Antarctic near-shore waters are amongst of the most vulnerable in the world to ocean acidification. Microbes occupying these waters are critical drivers of ecosystem productivity, elemental cycling and ocean biogeochemistry, yet little is known about their sensitivity to ocean acidification. An unreplicated, six-level dose-response experiment was conducted using 650 L incubation tanks (minicosms) adjusted to fugacity of carbon dioxide (ƒCO2) from 343 to 11 641 μatm. The minicosms were filled with near-shore water from Prydz Bay, East Antarctica and the protistan composition and abundance was determined by microscopy analysis of samples collected during the 18 day incubation. No CO2-related change in the protistan community composition was observed during the initial 8 day acclimation period under low light. Thereafter, the response of protists to ƒCO2 were species-specific for both heterotrophic and autotrophic protists. The response by diatoms was related to cell size, large cells increasing in abundance with low to moderate ƒCO2 (634–953 μatm). Similarly, the abundance of Phaeocystis antarctica increased with increasing ƒCO2 peaking at a ƒCO2 of 634 μatm. Above this threshold the abundances of large diatoms and Phaeocystis antarctica fell dramatically, and small diatoms dominated, therefore culminating in a significant shift in the composition of the protistan community. The threshold CO2 level at which the composition changed agreed with that previously measured at this location, indicating it remains consistent among seasons. This suggests that near-shore microbial communities are likely to change significantly near the end of this century if anthropogenic CO2 release continues unabated, with profound ramifications for near-shore Antarctic ecosystems.

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Carbon assimilation and losses during an ocean acidification mesocosm experiment, with special reference to algal blooms

A mesocosm experiment was conducted in Wuyuan Bay (Xiamen), China, to investigate the effects of elevated pCO2 on bloom formation by phytoplankton species previously studied in laboratory-based ocean acidification experiments, to determine if the indoor-grown species performed similarly in mesocosms under more realistic environmental conditions. We measured biomass, primary productivity and particulate organic carbon (POC) as well as particulate organic nitrogen (PON). Phaeodactylum tricornutum outcompeted Thalassiosira weissflogii and Emiliania huxleyi, comprising more than 99% of the final biomass. Mainly through a capacity to tolerate nutrient-limited situations, P. tricornutum showed a powerful sustained presence during the plateau phase of growth. Significant differences between high and low CO2 treatments were found in cell concentration, cumulative primary productivity and POC in the plateau phase but not during the exponential phase of growth. Compared to the low pCO2 (LC) treatment, POC increased by 45.8–101.9% in the high pCO2 (HC) treated cells during the bloom period. Furthermore, respiratory carbon losses of gross primary productivity were found to comprise 39–64% for the LC and 31–41% for the HC mesocosms (daytime C fixation) in phase II. Our results suggest that the duration and characteristics of a diatom bloom can be affected by elevated pCO2. Effects of elevated pCO2 observed in the laboratory cannot be reliably extrapolated to large scale mesocosms with multiple influencing factors, especially during intense algal blooms.

Continue reading ‘Carbon assimilation and losses during an ocean acidification mesocosm experiment, with special reference to algal blooms’

Effects of ocean acidification on the physiological performance and carbon production of the Antarctic sea ice diatom Nitzschia sp. ICE-H

Ocean acidification (OA) resulting from increasing atmospheric CO2 strongly influences marine ecosystems, particularly in the polar ocean due to greater CO2 solubility. Here, we grew the Antarctic sea ice diatom Nitzschia sp. ICE-H in a semicontinuous culture under low (~ 400 ppm) and high (1000 ppm) CO2 levels. Elevated CO2 resulted in a stimulated physiological response including increased growth rates, chlorophyll a contents, and nitrogen and phosphorus uptake rates. Furthermore, high CO2 enhanced cellular particulate organic carbon production rates, indicating a greater shift from inorganic to organic carbon. However, the cultures grown in high CO2 conditions exhibited a decrease in both extracellular and intracellular carbonic anhydrase activity, suggesting that the carbon concentrating mechanisms of Nitzschia sp. ICE-H may be suppressed by elevated CO2. Our results revealed that OA would be beneficial to the survival of this sea ice diatom strain, with broad implications for global carbon cycles in the future ocean.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on the physiological performance and carbon production of the Antarctic sea ice diatom Nitzschia sp. ICE-H’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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