Posts Tagged 'phytoplankton'

Response to Comment on “The complex effects of ocean acidification on the prominent N2-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium”

Hutchins et al. question the validity of our results showing that under fast growth conditions, the beneficial effect of high CO2 on Trichodesmium is overwhelmed by the deleterious effect of the concomitant decrease in ambient and cellular pH. The positive effect of acidification reported by Hutchins and co-workers is likely caused by culture conditions that support suboptimal growth rates.

Continue reading ‘Response to Comment on “The complex effects of ocean acidification on the prominent N2-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium”’

Comment on “The complex effects of ocean acidification on the prominent N2-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium”

Hong et al. (Reports, 5 May 2017, p. 527) suggested that previous studies of the biogeochemically significant marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium showing increased growth and nitrogen fixation at projected future high CO2 levels suffered from ammonia or copper toxicity. They reported that these rates instead decrease at high CO2 when contamination is alleviated. We present and discuss results of multiple published studies refuting this toxicity hypothesis.

Continue reading ‘Comment on “The complex effects of ocean acidification on the prominent N2-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium”’

Resilience of the larval slipper limpet Crepidula onyx to direct and indirect-diet effects of ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) is known to directly impact larval physiology and development of many marine organisms. OA also affects the nutritional quality and palatability of algae, which are principal food sources for many types of planktonic larvae. This potential indirect effect of OA via trophic interactions, however, has not been fully explored. In this study, veligers of Crepidula onyx were exposed to different pH levels representing the ambient (as control) and low pH values (pH 7.7 and pH 7.3) for 14 days, and were fed with Isochrysis galbana cultured at these three respective pHs. pH, diet, nor their interactions had no effect on larval mortality. Decrease in pH alone had a significant effect on growth rate and shell size. Structural changes (increased porosity) in larval shells were also observed in the low pH treatments. Interactions between acidification and reduced diet quality promoted earlier settlement. Unlike other calcifying molluscs, this population of slipper limpets introduced to Hong Kong in 1960s appeared to be resilient to OA and decreased algal nutritional value. If this robustness observed in the laboratory applies to the field, competition with native invertebrates may intensify and this non-native snail could flourish in acidified coastal ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Resilience of the larval slipper limpet Crepidula onyx to direct and indirect-diet effects of ocean acidification’

Effect of CO2 on growth and toxicity of Alexandrium tamarense from the East China Sea, a major producer of paralytic shellfish toxins

Highlights

  • Strain of Alexandrium tamarense isolated from East China Seas, showed a significant response to elevated CO2 levels in growth and toxicity.
  • Strain ATDH grew faster and showed a larger density when exposed to elevated CO2 concentration, especially in the exponential period.
  • The concentration per cell of each PST derivate varied and eventually caused the cellular toxicity increased when exposed to higher pCO2.


Abstract

In recent decades, the frequency and intensity of harmful algal blooms (HABs), as well as a profusion of toxic phytoplankton species, have significantly increased in coastal regions of China. Researchers attribute this to environmental changes such as rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Such addition of carbon into the ocean ecosystem can lead to increased growth, enhanced metabolism, and altered toxicity of toxic phytoplankton communities resulting in serious human health concerns. In this study, the effects of elevated partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) on the growth and toxicity of a strain of Alexandrium tamarense (ATDH) widespread in the East and South China Seas were investigated. Results of these studies showed a higher specific growth rate (0.31 ± 0.05 day−1) when exposed to 1000 μatm CO2, (experimental), with a corresponding density of (2.02 ± 0.19) × 107 cells L−1, that was significantly larger than cells under 395 μatm CO2(control). These data also revealed that elevated pCO2 primarily affected the photosynthetic properties of cells in the exponential growth phase. Interestingly, measurement of the total toxin content per cell was reduced by half under elevated CO2 conditions. The following individual toxins were measured in this study: C1, C2, GTX1, GTX2, GTX3, GTX4, GTX5, STX, dcGTX2, dcGTX3, and dcSTX. Cells grown in 1000 μatm CO2 showed an overall decrease in the cellular concentrations of C1, C2, GTX2, GTX3, GTX5, STX, dcGTX2, dcGTX3, and dcSTX, but an increase in GTX1 and GTX4. Total cellular toxicity per cell was measured revealing an increase of nearly 60% toxicity in the presence of elevated CO2 compared to controls. This unusual result was attributed to a significant increase in the cellular concentrations of the more toxic derivatives, GTX1 and GTX4.Taken together; these findings indicate that the A. tamarense strain ATDH isolated from the East China Sea significantly increased in growth and cellular toxicity under elevated pCO2 levels. These data may provide vital information regarding future HABs and the corresponding harmful effects as a result of increasing atmospheric CO2.

Continue reading ‘Effect of CO2 on growth and toxicity of Alexandrium tamarense from the East China Sea, a major producer of paralytic shellfish toxins’

Reviews and syntheses: Ice acidification, the effects of ocean acidification on sea ice microbial communities (update)

Sea ice algae, like some coastal and estuarine phytoplankton, are naturally exposed to a wider range of pH and CO2 concentrations than those in open marine seas. While climate change and ocean acidification (OA) will impact pelagic communities, their effects on sea ice microbial communities remain unclear.

Sea ice contains several distinct microbial communities, which are exposed to differing environmental conditions depending on their depth within the ice. Bottom communities mostly experience relatively benign bulk ocean properties, while interior brine and surface (infiltration) communities experience much greater extremes.

Most OA studies have examined the impacts on single sea ice algae species in culture. Although some studies examined the effects of OA alone, most examined the effects of OA and either light, nutrients or temperature. With few exceptions, increased CO2 concentration caused either no change or an increase in growth and/or photosynthesis. In situ studies on brine and surface algae also demonstrated a wide tolerance to increased and decreased pH and showed increased growth at higher CO2 concentrations. The short time period of most experiments (< 10 days), together with limited genetic diversity (i.e. use of only a single strain), however, has been identified as a limitation to a broader interpretation of the results.

While there have been few studies on the effects of OA on the growth of marine bacterial communities in general, impacts appear to be minimal. In sea ice also, the few reports available suggest no negative impacts on bacterial growth or community richness.

Sea ice ecosystems are ephemeral, melting and re-forming each year. Thus, for some part of each year organisms inhabiting the ice must also survive outside of the ice, either as part of the phytoplankton or as resting spores on the bottom. During these times, they will be exposed to the full range of co-stressors that pelagic organisms experience. Their ability to continue to make a major contribution to sea ice productivity will depend not only on their ability to survive in the ice but also on their ability to survive the increasing seawater temperatures, changing distribution of nutrients and declining pH forecast for the water column over the next centuries.
Continue reading ‘Reviews and syntheses: Ice acidification, the effects of ocean acidification on sea ice microbial communities (update)’

Coccolithophore haploid and diploid distribution patterns in the Mediterranean Sea: can a haplo-diploid life cycle be advantageous under climate change?

Coccolithophores are unicellular pelagic algae, capable of calcification. In the Mediterranean Sea, several species have a well-known haplo-diploid life cycle, alternating the production of different types of calcite plates, the holo- and hetero-coccoliths. We analyzed the distribution of both phases along a W-E Mediterranean transect during April 2011 and May 2013 (spring season), following strong environmental gradients in salinity, oxygen and nutrient concentration, temperature, carbonate chemistry and fluorescence. The proportion of holococcolithophores:heterococcolithophores of selected species varies not only vertically through the water column, but also longitudinally, following the main environmental gradients. Based on the environmental affinities of the coccolithophore life phases, we conclude that a dimorphic life cycle might provide the ability to adapt to the south-eastern (SE) Mediterranean environment, in conditions characterized by surface water with relatively high calcite saturation state, high temperature, stratification and nutrient limitation, and support the survival of species whose diploid phases are in contrast adapted to Atlantic or south-western (SW) Mediterranean conditions. Thus, a haplo-diploid life cycle could provide a way to adapt to environmental changes.

Continue reading ‘Coccolithophore haploid and diploid distribution patterns in the Mediterranean Sea: can a haplo-diploid life cycle be advantageous under climate change?’

Overcalcified forms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in high CO2 waters are not pre-adapted to ocean acidification

Marine multicellular organisms inhabiting waters with natural high fluctuations in pH appear more tolerant to acidification than conspecifics occurring in nearby stable waters, suggesting that environments of fluctuating pH hold genetic reservoirs for adaptation of key groups to ocean acidification (OA). The abundant and cosmopolitan calcifying phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi exhibits a range of morphotypes with varying degrees of coccolith mineralization. We show that E. huxleyi populations in the naturally acidified upwelling waters of the Eastern South Pacific, where pH drops below 7.8 as is predicted for the global surface ocean by the year 2100, are dominated by exceptionally overcalcified morphotypes whose distal coccolith shield can be almost solid calcite. Shifts in morphotype composition of E. huxleyi populations correlate with changes in carbonate system parameters. We tested if these correlations indicate that the hypercalcified morphotype is adapted to OA. In experimental exposures to present-day vs. future pCO2 (400 µatm vs. 1200 µatm), the overcalcified morphotypes showed the same growth inhibition (−29.1 ± 6.3 %) as moderately calcified morphotypes isolated from non-acidified water (−30.7 ± 8.8 %). Under OA conditions, production rates of particulate organic carbon (POC) increased, while production rates of particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) were maintained or decreased slightly (but not significantly), leading to lowered PIC/POC ratios in all strains. There were no consistent correlations of response intensity with strain origin. OA affected coccolith morphology equally or more strongly in overcalcified strains compared to moderately calcified strains. OA conditions appear not to directly select for exceptionally overcalcified morphotypes over other morphotypes directly, but perhaps indirectly by ecologically correlated factors. More generally, these results suggest that oceanic planktonic microorganisms, despite their rapid turn-over and large population sizes, do not necessarily exhibit adaptations to naturally high CO2 upwellings, and this ubiquitous coccolithophore may be near a limit of its capacity to adapt to ongoing ocean acidification.
Continue reading ‘Overcalcified forms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in high CO2 waters are not pre-adapted to ocean acidification’


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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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