Pseudo-nitzschia australis (Frenguelli), a toxigenic pennate diatom capable of producing the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), was examined in unialgal laboratory cultures to quantify its physiological response to ocean acidification (OA) – the decline in pH resulting from increasing partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) in the oceans. Toxic blooms of P. australis are common in the coastal waters of eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUS), including those of the California Current System (CCS) off the west coast of the United States where increased pCO2 and decreased seawater pH are well-known. This study determined the production of dissolved (dDA) and particulate DA (pDA), the rates of growth and nutrient (nitrate, silicate and phosphate) utilization, cellular elemental ratios of carbon and nitrogen, and the photosynthetic response to declining pH during the exponential and stationary growth phases of a strain of P. australis isolated during a massive toxic bloom that persisted for months along much of the U.S. west coast during 2015. Our controlled lab studies showed that DA production significantly increased as pCO2 increased, and total DA (pDA + dDA) normalized to cell density was 2.7 fold greater at pH 7.8 compared to pH 8.1 (control) during nutrient-limited stationary growth. However, exponential growth rates did not increase with declining pH, but remained constant until pH of 7.8 was reached, and then specific growth rates declined by ca. 30%. The toxin results demonstrate that despite minimal effects of OA observed during the nutrient-replete exponential growth phase, the enhancement of DA production, notably the 3-fold increase in particulate DA per cell, with declining pH from 8.1 to 7.8 during the nutrient-depleted stationary phase, supports the hypothesis that increasing pCO2 will result in greater toxic risk to coastal ecosystems from elevated ambient concentrations of particulate DA. The ecological consequences of decreasing silicate uptake rates and increasing cellular carbon quotas with declining pH may potentially ameliorate some negative impacts of OA on Pseudo-nitzschia growth in natural systems.
The objective of this study was to assess experimentally the potential impact of anthropogenic pH perturbation (ApHP) on concentrations of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), as well as processes governing the microbial cycling of sulfur compounds. A summer planktonic community from surface waters of the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary was monitored in microcosms over 12 days under three pCO2 targets: 1 × pCO2 (775 µatm), 2 × pCO2 (1,850 µatm), and 3 × pCO2 (2,700 µatm). A mixed phytoplankton bloom comprised of diatoms and unidentified flagellates developed over the course of the experiment. The magnitude and timing of biomass buildup, measured by chlorophyll a concentration, changed in the 3 × pCO2 treatment, reaching about half the peak chlorophyll a concentration measured in the 1 × pCO2 treatment, with a 2-day lag. Doubling and tripling the pCO2 resulted in a 15% and 40% decline in average concentrations of DMS compared to the control. Results from 35S-DMSPd uptake assays indicated that neither concentrations nor microbial scavenging efficiency of dissolved DMSP was affected by increased pCO2. However, our results show a reduction of the mean microbial yield of DMS by 34% and 61% in the 2 × pCO2 and 3 × pCO2 treatments, respectively. DMS concentrations correlated positively with microbial yields of DMS (Spearman’s ρ = 0.65; P < 0.001), suggesting that the impact of ApHP on concentrations of DMS in diatom-dominated systems may be strongly linked with alterations of the microbial breakdown of dissolved DMSP. Findings from this study provide further empirical evidence of the sensitivity of the microbial DMSP switch under ApHP. Because even small modifications in microbial regulatory mechanisms of DMSP can elicit changes in atmospheric chemistry via dampened efflux of DMS, results from this study may contribute to a better comprehension of Earth’s future climate.
Coccolithophores are unicellular phytoplanktonic organisms characterized by a covering of calcite plates, the coccoliths, which are produced intracellularly. These calcifiers, as one of the main planktonic functional groups, play an important role in the inorganic carbon cycle and possibly as ballast that sinks organic carbon to the deep-sea. Most efforts to understanding coccolithophore response to ocean acidification (OA) –or the raise in atmospheric CO2 reduces ocean pH and saturation states (Ω) of CaCO3– have been through lab experiments, mostly using a small set of strains of the cosmopolitan, easily cultivated species Emiliania huxleyi. This species is especially interesting because it is young (~ 291,000 years) and has adapted to a wide range of marine environments. However, it is not the only coccolithophore and even within that species there is a lot of phenotypic and genetic diversity and diverse responses to OA in the lab. Despite the efforts made it is unclear how the physiological effects under controlled conditions translate to community-level responses in the field. This thesis aimed to contribute to understanding this issue by studying the distribution, composition and realized niches of coccolithophore assemblages and E. huxleyi morphotypes in contrasting pCO2/pH/Ωcalcite environments of the Eastern South Pacific, and to evaluate the responses of different E. huxleyi23 morphotypes to targeted pCO2/pH levels set in the lab. For this, the coccolithophores were surveyed in a coastal-oceanic section, mesotrophic waters, upwelling systems, and fjords-channels of Patagonia. From a total of 40 species, E. huxleyi was the most prevalent (30-100 % relative abundance). Within this taxon, several morphotypes has been described as stable in culture and genetically differentiated (e.g., the A and R morphotypes). The moderately-calcified A morphotype dominated the E. huxleyi populations being only surpassed by the R hyper-calcified morphotype in upwelling systems with high pCO2/low pH. This abrupt shift in the composition of E. huxleyi populations suggested that these coastal environments hold genetic reservoirs for their adaptation to OA. Therefore, the hypothesis was tested that these forms are adapted to resist high pCO2/low pH conditions. Unexpectedly, the morphotypes from the Eastern South Pacific were not more sensitive than the R hyper-calcified strains from neighboring high pCO2/low pH waters (lowering growth rates and PIC/POC ratios). On the other hand, realized-niche analysis showed that the A morphotype has a broader niche that is more tolerant to environmental-change (i.e., generalist) than the R morphotype’s niche, specialized to high pCO2/low pH waters. The lack of evidence for local adaptation to high pCO2/low pH conditions in E. huxleyi, might be explained by a narrow unimodal niche response to Ωcalcite revealed by niche analysis that was not tested experimentally. Alternatively, the R hyper-calcified morphotype might be selected by an unidentified condition particular to the Eastern South Pacific that correlates with temperature, salinity, and Ωcalcite of its realized-niche. Overall, despite their rapid turnover and large population sizes, oceanic planktonic microorganisms do not necessarily exhibit adaptations to high-pCO2 upwelled waters, and this ubiquitous coccolithophore may be near the limit of its capacity to adapt to ongoing OA.
Rapid evolution may provide a buffer against extinction risk for some species threatened by climate change; however, the capacity to evolve rapidly enough to keep pace with changing environments is unknown for most taxa. The ecosystem-level consequences of climate adaptation are likely to be the largest in marine ecosystems, where short-lived phytoplankton with large effective population sizes make up the bulk of primary production. However, there are substantial challenges to predicting climate-driven evolution in marine systems, including multiple simultaneous axes of change and considerable heterogeneity in rates of change, as well as the biphasic life cycles of many marine metazoans, which expose different life stages to disparate sources of selection. A critical tool for addressing these challenges is experimental evolution, where populations of organisms are directly exposed to controlled sources of selection to test evolutionary responses. We review the use of experimental evolution to test the capacity to adapt to climate change stressors in marine species. The application of experimental evolution in this context has grown dramatically in the past decade, shedding light on the capacity for evolution, associated trade-offs, and the genetic architecture of stress-tolerance traits. Our goal is to highlight the utility of this approach for investigating potential responses to climate change and point a way forward for future studies.
- Skeletonema costatum was tolerant to low and moderate benzo(a)pyrene concentrations.
- The high benzo(a)pyrene concentration remarkably inhibited growth and photosynthesis.
- Negative effects of ocean acidification were detected at the high benzo(a)pyrene level.
The combined effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and seawater acidification are poorly understood. Hence, we exposed the bloom-forming diatom Skeletonema costatum to four concentrations (0, 0.1, 1 and 10 μg L-1) of benzo(a)pyrene and two pCO2 levels (400 and 1000 μatm) to investigate its physiological performance. The growth and photosynthesis of S. costatum were tolerant to low and moderate benzo(a)pyrene concentrations regardless of the pCO2 level. However, the highest benzo(a)pyrene concentration had remarkably adverse effects on most parameters, decreasing the growth rate by 69%. Seawater acidification increased the sensitivity to high light stress, as shown by the lower relative maximum electron transport rate and light saturation point at the highest benzo(a)pyrene concentration. Our results suggested that benzo(a)pyrene could be detrimental to diatoms at a habitat-relevant level, and seawater acidification might further decrease its light tolerance, which would have important ramifications for the community structure and primary production in coastal waters.
- P. fraudulenta and P. australis strains were able to acclimate and maintain high growth rates at current pH (8.07) and projected pH in 2100 (7.77) compared to the lowest pH level (7.40).
- Domoic acid content was significantly higher for all P. australis toxic strains acclimated at the ambient pH level (8.07), and lowest at pH (7.77).
- Strong inter- and intra-specific variation related to the geographical area and the culturing history of Pseudo-nitzschia strains.
This paper present the effects of ocean acidification on growth and domoic acid (DA) content of several strains of the toxic Pseudo-nitzschia australis and the non-toxic P. fraudulenta. Three strains of each species (plus two subclones of P. australis) were acclimated and grown in semi-continuous cultures at three pH levels: 8.07, 7.77, and 7.40, in order to simulate changes of seawater pH from present to plausible future levels. Our results showed that lowering pH from current level (8.07) to predicted pH level in 2100 (7.77) did not affect the mean growth rates of some of the P. australis strains (FR-PAU-17 and L3-100), but affected other strains either negatively (L3-30) or positively (L3.4). However, the growth rates significantly decreased with pH lowered to 7.40 (by 13% for L3-100, 43% for L3-30 and 16% for IFR-PAU-17 compared to the rates at pH 8.07). In contrast, growth rates of the non-toxic P. fraudulenta strains were not affected by pH changing from 8.07 to 7.40.
The P. australis strains produced DA at all pH levels tested, and the highest particulate DA concentration normalized to cell abundance (pDA) was found at pH 8.07. Total DA content (pDA and dissolved DA) was significantly higher at current pH (8.07) compared to pH (7.77), exept for one strain (L 3.4) where no difference was found. At lower pH levels 7.77 – 7.40, total DA content was similar, except for strains IFR-PAU-17 and L3-100 which had the lowest content at the pH 7.77. The diversity in the responses in growth and DA content highlights the inter- and intra-specific variation in Pseudo-nitzschia species in response to ocean acidification. When exploring environmental responses of Pseudo-nitzschia using cultured cells, not only strain-specific variation but also culturing history should be taken into consideration, as the light levels under which the subclones were cultured, afterwards affected both maximum growth rates and DA content.
Planktic foraminifera and shelled pteropods are some of the major producers of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the ocean. Their calcitic (foraminifera) and aragonitic (pteropods) shells are particularly sensitive to changes in the carbonate chemistry and play an important role for the inorganic and organic carbon pump of the ocean. Here, we have studied the abundance distribution of planktic foraminifera and pteropods (individuals m–3) and their contribution to the inorganic and organic carbon standing stocks (μg m–3) and export production (mg m–2 day–1) along a longitudinal transect north of Svalbard at 81° N, 22–32° E, in the Arctic Ocean. This transect, sampled in September 2018 consists of seven stations covering different oceanographic regimes, from the shelf to the slope and into the deep Nansen Basin. The sea surface temperature ranged between 1 and 5°C in the upper 300 m. Conditions were supersaturated with respect to CaCO3 (Ω > 1 for both calcite and aragonite). The abundance of planktic foraminifera ranged from 2.3 to 52.6 ind m–3 and pteropods from 0.1 to 21.3 ind m–3. The planktic foraminiferal population was composed mainly of the polar species Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (55.9%) and the subpolar species Turborotalita quinqueloba (21.7%), Neogloboquadrina incompta (13.5%) and Globigerina bulloides (5.2%). The pteropod population was dominated by the polar species Limacina helicina (99.6%). The rather high abundance of subpolar foraminiferal species is likely connected to the West Spitsbergen Current bringing warm Atlantic water to the study area. Pteropods dominated at the surface and subsurface. Below 100 m water depth, foraminifera predominated. Pteropods contribute 66–96% to the inorganic carbon standing stocks compared to 4–34% by the planktic foraminifera. The inorganic export production of planktic foraminifera and pteropods together exceeds their organic contribution by a factor of 3. The overall predominance of pteropods over foraminifera in this high Arctic region during the sampling period suggest that inorganic standing stocks and export production of biogenic carbonate would be reduced under the effects of ocean acidification.
The effects of seagrass on microalgal assemblages under experimentally elevated temperatures (28°C) and CO2 partial pressures (pCO2; 800 μatm) were examined using coral reef mesocosms. Concentrations of nitrate, ammonium, and benthic microalgal chlorophyll a (chl-a) were significantly higher in seagrass mesocosms, whereas phytoplankton chl-a concentrations were similar between seagrass and seagrass-free control mesocosms. In the seagrass group, fewer parasitic dinoflagellate OTUs (e.g., Syndiniales) were found in the benthic microalgal community though more symbiotic dinoflagellates (e.g., Cladocopium spp.) were quantified in the phytoplankton community. Our results suggest that, under ocean acidification conditions, the presence of seagrass nearby coral reefs may (1) enhance benthic primary productivity, (2) decrease parasitic dinoflagellate abundance, and (3) possibly increase the presence of symbiotic dinoflagellates.
- Increased coccolith calcification degree at high pCO2 and low surface water pH.
- Enhanced glacial E. huxleyi biological pump as a buffer to the excess of pCO2atm.
- Enhanced deglacial E. huxleyi counterpump as a major source of high pCO2sw.
The modern Eastern Equatorial Pacific (EEP) Ocean is a high nutrient low chlorophyll (HNLC) upwelling region and a large oceanic source of carbon to the atmosphere. During the last deglaciation, the EEP played a major role in the outgassing of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the upwelling surface water system of CO2-enriched deep-water masses originating from the Southern Ocean. The EEP upwelling system is also fertilizing the surface waters and enhancing the biological pump. Here we present data on the mass and calcification dynamics of the coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi spanning the last 30 ky at Site ODP 1238 (1°52.310′S, 82°46.934′W; 2203 m) in the EEP. Our results show an increased coccolith calcification degree during times of high pCO2 and low surface water pH conditions; this unexpected result is tentatively explained as related to changes in homeostasis equilibrium at the site of calcification and between the cell and the seawater environment. We estimated the E. huxleyi particulate inorganic to organic carbon ratio (PIC:POC) in order to detect changes in the carbonate counter-pump to carbon pump activity, which can act as either a positive or negative feedback to atmospheric CO2 modulating air-sea gas exchange. Our study indicates an enhanced coccolithophore biological pump during the last glacial that could have buffered, at least partially, the excess of pCO2atm via absorption into the ocean. Finally, during the last deglaciation, the enhanced carbonate counter pump was a major source of high pCO2sw in the EEP surface ocean.
We conduct a modeling study of the effects of enhanced coastal nutrient export from human activities on the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycles of the Southern California Bight, in the context of emerging global climate change. The modeling approach used is innovative in the breadth of its scope, and simulations are generally consistent with local measurements. The human effects on the regional ecosystem from coastal nitrogen inputs of 23 million people are substantial, leading to significant increases in the photosynthesis and biomass of phytoplankton and increased oxygen loss and acidification of the water column. These changes are likely to compress habitat for a variety of marine organisms, with cascading ecological effects and implications for marine resources and water-quality management.
Global change is leading to warming, acidification, and oxygen loss in the ocean. In the Southern California Bight, an eastern boundary upwelling system, these stressors are exacerbated by the localized discharge of anthropogenically enhanced nutrients from a coastal population of 23 million people. Here, we use simulations with a high-resolution, physical–biogeochemical model to quantify the link between terrestrial and atmospheric nutrients, organic matter, and carbon inputs and biogeochemical change in the coastal waters of the Southern California Bight. The model is forced by large-scale climatic drivers and a reconstruction of local inputs via rivers, wastewater outfalls, and atmospheric deposition; it captures the fine scales of ocean circulation along the shelf; and it is validated against a large collection of physical and biogeochemical observations. Local land-based and atmospheric inputs, enhanced by anthropogenic sources, drive a 79% increase in phytoplankton biomass, a 23% increase in primary production, and a nearly 44% increase in subsurface respiration rates along the coast in summer, reshaping the biogeochemistry of the Southern California Bight. Seasonal reductions in subsurface oxygen, pH, and aragonite saturation state, by up to 50 mmol m−3, 0.09, and 0.47, respectively, rival or exceed the global open-ocean oxygen loss and acidification since the preindustrial period. The biological effects of these changes on local fisheries, proliferation of harmful algal blooms, water clarity, and submerged aquatic vegetation have yet to be fully explored.
Acidification of the ocean due to high atmospheric CO2 levels may increase the resilience of diatoms causing dramatic shifts in abiotic and biotic cycles with lasting implications on marine ecosystems. Here, we report a potential bioindicator of a shift in the resilience of a coastal and centric model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana under elevated CO2. Specifically, we have discovered, through EGFP-tagging, a plastid membrane localized putative Na+(K+)/H+ antiporter that is significantly upregulated at >800 ppm CO2, with a potentially important role in maintaining pH homeostasis. Notably, transcript abundance of this antiporter gene was relatively low and constant over the diel cycle under contemporary CO2 conditions. In future acidified oceanic conditions, dramatic oscillation with >10-fold change between nighttime (high) and daytime (low) transcript abundances of the antiporter was associated with increased resilience of T. pseudonana. By analyzing metatranscriptomic data from the Tara Oceans project, we demonstrate that phylogenetically diverse diatoms express homologs of this antiporter across the globe. We propose that the differential between night- and daytime transcript levels of the antiporter could serve as a bioindicator of a shift in the resilience of diatoms in response to high CO2 conditions in marine environments.
This study evaluates the impacts of 16 different leachates of plastic-made packaging on marine species of different trophic levels (bacteria, algae, echinoderms). Standard ecotoxicological endpoints (inhibition of bioluminescence, inhibition of growth, embryo-toxicity) and alterations of ecologically significant parameters (i.e., echinoderms’ body-size) were measured following exposure under different pH water conditions: marine standard (pH 8.1) and two increasingly acidic conditions (pH 7.8 and 7.5) in order to evaluate possible variations induced by ocean acidification. The results obtained in this study evidence that the tested doses are not able to significantly affect bacteria (Vibrio fischeri) and algae (Phaeodactylum tricornutum). On the contrary, Paracentrotus lividus larvae were significantly affected by several packaging types (13 out of 16) with meaningless differences between pH conditions.
Anthropogenic carbon emissions are causing changes in seawater carbonate chemistry including a decline in the pH of the oceans. While its aftermath for calcifying microbes has been widely studied, the effect of ocean acidification (OA) on marine viruses and their microbial hosts is controversial, and even more in combination with another anthropogenic stressor, i.e., human-induced nutrient loads. In this study, two mesocosm acidification experiments with Mediterranean waters from different seasons revealed distinct effects of OA on viruses and viral-mediated prokaryotic mortality depending on the trophic state and the successional stage of the plankton community. In the winter bloom situation, low fluorescence viruses, the most abundant virus-like particle (VLP) subpopulation comprising mostly bacteriophages, were negatively affected by lowered pH with nutrient addition, while the bacterial host abundance was stimulated. High fluorescence viruses, containing cyanophages, were stimulated by OA regardless of the nutrient conditions, while cyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus were negatively affected by OA. Moreover, the abundance of very high fluorescence viruses infecting small haptophytes tended to be lower under acidification while their putative hosts’ abundance was enhanced, suggesting a direct and negative effect of OA on viral–host interactions. In the oligotrophic summer situation, we found a stimulating effect of OA on total viral abundance and the viral populations, suggesting a cascading effect of the elevated pCO2 stimulating autotrophic and heterotrophic production. In winter, viral lysis accounted for 30 ± 16% of the loss of bacterial standing stock per day (VMMBSS) under increased pCO2 compared to 53 ± 35% in the control treatments, without effects of nutrient additions while in summer, OA had no significant effects on VMMBSS (35 ± 20% and 38 ± 5% per day in the OA and control treatments, respectively). We found that phage production and resulting organic carbon release rates significantly reduced under OA in the nutrient replete winter situation, but it was also observed that high nutrient loads lowered the negative effect of OA on viral lysis, suggesting an antagonistic interplay between these two major global ocean stressors in the Anthropocene. In summer, however, viral-mediated carbon release rates were lower and not affected by lowered pH. Eutrophication consistently stimulated viral production regardless of the season or initial conditions. Given the relevant role of viruses for marine carbon cycling and the biological carbon pump, these two anthropogenic stressors may modulate carbon fluxes through their effect on viruses at the base of the pelagic food web in a future global change scenario.
- Microalgae photosynthesis induces strongly H+ uptake reversing ocean acidification.
- Water alkalization through algal H+ uptake is independent from CO2 concentration.
- New management approaches for reversing ocean acidification using algal H+ uptake.
- Algal H+ uptake depends on essential nutrients, cell density and light intensity.
- Acidification of aquatic environment induces microalgal photosynthesis and growth.
The photosynthetic process in microalgae and the extracellular proton environment interact with each other. The photosynthetic process in microalgae induces a pH increase in the aquatic environment as a result of cellular protons uptake rather than as an effect of CO2 consumption. The photosynthetic water photolysis and the reduction/oxidation cycle of the plastoquinone pool provide lumen with protons. Weak bases act as “permeant buffers” in lumen during the photosynthetic procedure, converting the ΔpH to Δψ. This is possibly the main reason for continuous light-driven proton uptake from the aquatic environment through cytosol and stroma, into the lumen. The proton uptake rate and, therefore, the microalgal growth is proportional to the light intensity, cell concentration, and extracellular proton concentration. The low pH in microalgae cultures, without limitation factors related to light and nutrients, strongly induces photosynthesis (and proton uptake) and, consequently, growth. In contrast, the mitochondrial respiratory process, in the absence of photosynthetic activity, does not substantially alter the culture pH. Only after intensification of the respiratory process, using exogenous glucose supply leads to significantly reduced pH values in the culture medium, almost exclusively through proton output. Enhanced dissolution of atmospheric CO2 in water causes the phenomenon of ocean acidification, which prevents the process of calcification, a significant process for numerous phytoplankton and zooplankton organisms, as well for corals. The proposed interaction between microalgal photosynthetic activity and proton concentration in the aquatic environment, independently from the CO2 concentration, paves the way for new innovative management strategies for reversing the ocean acidification.
Studying carbon dioxide in the ocean helps to understand how the ocean will be impacted by climate change and respond to increasing fossil fuel emissions. The marine carbonate system is not well characterized in the Arctic, where challenging logistics and extreme conditions limit observations of atmospheric CO2 flux and ocean acidification. Here, we present a high-resolution marine carbon system data set covering the complete cycle of sea-ice growth and melt in an Arctic estuary (Nunavut, Canada). This data set was collected through three consecutive yearlong deployments of sensors for pH and partial pressure of CO2 in seawater (pCO2sw) on a cabled underwater observatory. The sensors were remarkably stable compared to discrete samples: While corrections for offsets were required in some instances, we did not observe significant drift over the deployment periods. Our observations revealed a strong seasonality in this marine carbon system. Prior to sea-ice formation, air–sea gas exchange and respiration were the dominant processes, leading to increasing pCO2sw and reduced aragonite saturation state (ΩAr). During sea-ice growth, water column respiration and brine rejection (possibly enriched in dissolved inorganic carbon, relative to alkalinity, due to ikaite precipitation in sea ice) drove pCO2sw to supersaturation and lowered ΩAr to < 1. Shortly after polar sunrise, the ecosystem became net autotrophic, returning pCO2sw to undersaturation. The biological community responsible for this early switch to autotrophy (well before ice algae or phytoplankton blooms) requires further investigation. After sea-ice melt initiated, an under-ice phytoplankton bloom strongly reduced aqueous carbon (chlorophyll-a max of 2.4 µg L–1), returning ΩAr to > 1 after 4.5 months of undersaturation. Based on simple extrapolations of anthropogenic carbon inventories, we suspect that this seasonal undersaturation would not have occurred naturally. At ice breakup, the sensor platform recorded low pCO2sw (230 µatm), suggesting a strong CO2 sink during the open water season.
The Arctic may be particularly vulnerable to the consequences of both ocean acidification (OA) and global warming, given the faster pace of warming and acidification. Here, we use the Atlantis ecosystem model to assess how the trophic network of marine fishes and invertebrates in the Icelandic waters is responding to the combined pressures of OA and warming. We develop an approach which allows us to focus on species of economic (catch-value), social (number of participants in fisheries), or ecological (keystone species) importance. We parameterize the model with literature-determined ranges of sensitivity to OA and warming for different species and functional groups in the Icelandic waters. We found divergent species responses to warming and acidification levels; (mainly) planktonic groups and forage fish benefited while (mainly) benthic groups and predatory fish decreased under warming and acidification scenarios. Assuming conservative harvest rates for the largest catch-value species, Atlantic cod, we see that the population is projected to remain stable under even the harshest acidification and warming scenario. Further, for the scenarios where the model projects reductions in biomass of Atlantic cod, other species in the ecosystem increase, likely due to a reduction in competition and predation. These results highlight the interdependencies of multiple global change drivers and their cascading effects on trophic organization, and the supply of an important species from a socio-economic perspective in the Icelandic fisheries.
Effect of global change variables on the structure and photosynthesis of phytoplankton communities was evaluated in three different sites of the Patagonian coast of Argentina: enclosed bay (Puerto Madryn, PM), estuarine (Playa Unión, PU), and open waters (Isla Escondida, IE). We exposed samples to two contrasting scenarios: Present (nutrients at in situ levels) vs. Future (with lowered pH and higher nutrients inputs), and determined growth and photosynthetic responses after 2 days of acclimation. Under the Future condition phytoplankton growth was higher in the estuarine site compared to those in PM and IE. This effect was the most pronounced on large diatoms. While the increase of photosynthetic activity was not always observed in the Future scenario, the lower photosynthetic electron requirement for carbon fixation (Φe,C = ETR/PmB) in this scenario compared to the Present, suggests a more effective energy utilization. Long-term experiments were also conducted to assess the responses along a 4 days acclimation period in PU. Diatoms benefited from the Future conditions and had significantly higher growth rates than in the Present. In addition, Φe,C was lower after the acclimation period in the Future scenario, compared to the Present. Our results suggest that the availability, frequency and amount of nutrients play a key role when evaluating the effects of global change on natural phytoplankton communities. The observed changes in diatom growth under the Future scenario in PU and IE and photosynthesis may have implications in the local trophodynamics by bottom up control.
In addition to ocean acidification, a significant recent warming trend in Chinese coastal waters has received much attention. However, studies of the combined effects of warming and acidification on natural coastal phytoplankton assemblages here are scarce. We conducted a continuous incubation experiment with a natural spring phytoplankton assemblage collected from the Bohai Sea near Tianjin. Experimental treatments used a full factorial combination of temperature (7 and 11°C) and pCO2 (400 and 800 ppm) treatments. Results suggest that changes in pCO2 and temperature had both individual and interactive effects on phytoplankton species composition and elemental stoichiometry. Warming mainly favored the accumulation of picoplankton and dinoflagellate biomass. Increased pCO2 significantly increased particulate organic carbon to particulate organic phosphorus (C:P) and particulate organic carbon to biogenic silica (C:BSi) ratios, and decreased total diatom abundance; in the meanwhile, higher pCO2 significantly increased the ratio of centric to pennate diatom abundance. Warming and increased pCO2 both greatly decreased the proportion of diatoms to dinoflagellates. The highest chlorophyll a biomass was observed in the high pCO2, high temperature phytoplankton assemblage, which also had the slowest sinking rate of all treatments. Overall, there were significant interactive effects of increased pCO2 and warming on dinoflagellate abundance, pennate diatom abundance, diatom vs. dinoflagellates ratio and the centric vs. pennate ratio. These findings suggest that future ocean acidification and warming trends may individually and cumulatively affect coastal biogeochemistry and carbon fluxes through shifts in phytoplankton species composition and sinking rates.
The carbonate chemistry in coastal waters is more variable compared with that of open oceans, both in magnitude and time scale of its fluctuations. However, knowledge of the responses of coastal phytoplankton to dynamic changes in pH/pCO2 has been scarcely documented. Hence, we investigated the physiological performance of a coastal isolate of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (PML B92/11) under fluctuating and stable pCO2 regimes (steady ambient pCO2, 400 μatm; steady elevated pCO2, 1200 μatm; diurnally fluctuating elevated pCO2, 600–1800 μatm). Elevated pCO2 inhibited the calcification rate in both the steady and fluctuating regimes. However, higher specific growth rates and lower ratios of calcification to photosynthesis were detected in the cells grown under diurnally fluctuating elevated pCO2 conditions. The fluctuating pCO2 regime alleviated the negative effects of elevated pCO2 on effective photochemical quantum yield and relative photosynthetic electron transport rate compared with the steady elevated pCO2 treatment. Our results suggest that growth of E. huxleyi could benefit from diel fluctuations of pH/pCO2 under future-projected ocean acidification, but its calcification was reduced by the fluctuation and the increased concentration of CO2, reflecting a necessity to consider the influences of dynamic pH fluctuations on coastal carbon cycles associated with ocean global changes.
Model projections of ocean circulation and biogeochemistry are used to investigate large scale climate changes under moderate mitigation (RCP 4.5) and high emissions (RCP 8.5) scenarios along the continental shelf of the Canadian Pacific Coast. To reduce computational cost, an approach for dynamical downscaling of climate projections was developed that uses atmospheric climatologies with augmented winds to simulate historical (1986–2005) and future (2046–2065) periods separately. The two simulations differ in initial and lateral open boundary conditions. For each simulation, the daily climatology of surface winds in the driving model was augmented with high-frequency variability from an atmospheric reanalysis product. The “time-slice” approach was able to reproduce the observed climate state for the historical period. Sensitivity tests confirmed that the high frequency wind variability plays an essential role in freshwater distribution in this region. Projections suggest that sea surface temperature will increase by 1.8–2.4°C and surface salinity will decrease between −0.08 and −0.23 depending on whether a moderate or high emissions scenario is used. Stratification increases throughout the region and there is some evidence of nutrient limitation near the surface. Primary production and phytoplankton productivity (chlorophyll) also increase. Density surfaces are relocated deeper in the water column and this change is mainly driven by surface heating and freshening. Changes in saturation state are mainly due to anthropogenic CO2 with minor contributions from solubility, remineralization and advection. There is little difference between RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 with regard to projections of deoxygenation and acidification. The depths of the aragonite saturation state and the oxygen minimum zone are projected to become shallower by ≃ 100 and ≃ 75 m respectively. Extreme states of temperature, oxygen and acidification are projected to become more frequent and more extreme, with the frequency of occurrence of [O2]<60 mmolm−3[O2]<60 mmolm-3 expected to approximately double under either scenario.