Posts Tagged 'phytoplankton'

Highest plasticity of carbon‐concentrating mechanisms in earliest evolved phytoplankton

Phytoplankton photosynthesis strongly relies on the operation of carbon‐concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) to accumulate CO2 around their carboxylating enzyme ribulose‐1,5‐bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO). Earlier evolved phytoplankton groups were shown to exhibit higher CCM activities to compensate for their RuBisCO with low CO2 specificities. Here, we tested whether earlier evolved phytoplankton groups also exhibit a higher CCM plasticity. To this end, we collected data from literature and applied a Bayesian linear meta‐analytic model. Our results show that with elevated pCO2, photosynthetic CO2 affinities decreased strongest and most consistent for the earlier evolved groups, i.e., cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates, while CO2‐dependent changes in affinities for haptophytes and diatoms were smaller and less consistent. In addition, responses of maximum photosynthetic rates toward elevated pCO2 were generally small and inconsistent across species. Our results demonstrate that phytoplankton groups with an earlier origin possess a high CCM plasticity, whereas more recently evolved groups do not, which likely results from evolved differences in the CO2 specificity of RuBisCO.

Continue reading ‘Highest plasticity of carbon‐concentrating mechanisms in earliest evolved phytoplankton’

Direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 are revealed through shifts in phytoplankton, copepod development, and fatty acid accumulation

Change in the nutritional quality of phytoplankton is a key mechanism through which ocean acidification can affect the function of marine ecosystems. Copepods play an important role transferring energy from phytoplankton to higher trophic levels, including fatty acids (FA)—essential macronutrients synthesized by primary producers that can limit zooplankton and fisheries production. We investigated the direct effects of pCO2 on phytoplankton and copepods in the laboratory, as well as the trophic transfer of effects of pCO2 on food quality. The marine cryptophyte Rhodomonas salina was cultured at 400, 800, and 1200 μatm pCO2 and fed to adult Acartia hudsonica acclimated to the same pCO2 levels. We examined changes in phytoplankton growth rate, cell size, carbon content, and FA content, and copepod FA content, grazing, respiration, egg production, hatching, and naupliar development. This single-factor experiment was repeated at 12°C and at 17°C. At 17°C, the FA content of R. salina responded non-linearly to elevated pCO2 with the greatest FA content at intermediate levels, which was mirrored in A. hudsonica; however, differences in ingestion rate indicate that copepods accumulated FA less efficiently at elevated pCO2. A. hudsonica nauplii developed faster at elevated pCO2 at 12°C in the absence of strong food quality effects, but not at 17°C when food quality varied among treatments. Our results demonstrate that changes to the nutritional quality of phytoplankton are not directly translated to their grazers, and that studies that include trophic links are key to unraveling how ocean acidification will drive changes in marine food webs.

Continue reading ‘Direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 are revealed through shifts in phytoplankton, copepod development, and fatty acid accumulation’

Increased pCO2 changes the lipid production in important aquacultural feedstock algae Isochrysis galbana, but not in Tetraselmis suecica

Increased anthropogenic CO2 emissions are leading to an increase in CO2 uptake by the world’s oceans and seas, resulting in ocean acidification with a decrease in global ocean water pH by as much as 0.3–0.4 units by the year 2100. The direct effects of changing pCO2 on important microalgal feedstocks are not as well understood. Few studies have focused on lipid composition changes in specific algal species in response to ocean acidification and yet microalgae are an indispensable food source for various marine species, including juvenile shellfish. Isochrysis galbana and Tetraselmis suecica are widely used in aquaculture as feeds for mussels and other shellfish. The total lipid contents and concentrations of I. galbana and T. suecica were investigated when grown under present day (400 ppm) and ocean acidification conditions (1000 ppm) to elucidate the impact of increasing pCO2 on an important algae feedstock. Total lipids, long-chain alkenones (LCAs) and alkenoates decreased at 1000 ppm in I. galbana. I. galbana produces higher lipids than T. suecica, and is perhaps as a result more impacted by the change in carbon available for lipid production under higher pCO2. I. galbana is an important feedstock, more easily assimilated for growth in juvenile shellfish and reductions in lipid composition may prove problematic for the growth of future shellfish aquaculture. Our findings suggest that higher pCO2 impacts on algal lipid growth are species specific and warrant further study. It is therefore vital to examine the impact of high CO2 on algal lipid production, especially those commercial shellfish feed varieties to predict future impacts on commercial aquaculture.

Continue reading ‘Increased pCO2 changes the lipid production in important aquacultural feedstock algae Isochrysis galbana, but not in Tetraselmis suecica’

Particulate inorganic to organic carbon production as a predictor for coccolithophorid sensitivity to ongoing ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) can induce shifts in plankton community composition, with coccolithophores being mostly negatively impacted. This is likely to change particulate inorganic and organic carbon (PIC and POC, respectively) production, with impacts on the biological carbon pump. Hence, assessing and, most importantly, understanding species‐specific sensitivities of coccolithophores is paramount. In a multispecies comparison, spanning more than two orders of magnitude in terms of POC and PIC production rates, among Calcidiscus leptoporus, Coccolithus pelagicus subsp. braarudii, Emiliania huxleyi, Gephyrocapsa oceanica, and Scyphosphaera apsteinii, we found that cellular PIC : POC was a good predictor for a species’ OA sensitivity. This is likely related to the need for cellular pH homeostasis, which is challenged by the process of calcification producing protons internally, especially when seawater pH decreases in an OA scenario. With higher PIC : POC, species and strains being more sensitive to OA coccolithophores may shift toward less calcified varieties in the future.

Continue reading ‘Particulate inorganic to organic carbon production as a predictor for coccolithophorid sensitivity to ongoing ocean acidification’

The physiological response of marine diatoms to ocean acidification: differential roles of seawater pCO2 and pH

Although increasing the pCO2 for diatoms will presumably down‐regulate the CO2‐concentrating mechanism (CCM) to save energy for growth, different species have been reported to respond differently to ocean acidification (OA). To better understand their growth responses to OA, we acclimated the diatoms Thalassiosira pseudonana, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and Chaetoceros muelleri to ambient (pCO2 400 μatm, pH 8.1), carbonated (pCO2 800 μatm, pH 8.1), acidified (pCO2 400 μatm, pH 7.8), and OA (pCO2 800 μatm, pH 7.8) conditions and investigated how seawater pCO2 and pH affect their CCMs, photosynthesis, and respiration both individually and jointly. In all three diatoms, carbonation down‐regulated the CCMs, while acidification increased both the photosynthetic carbon fixation rate and the fraction of CO2 as the inorganic carbon source. The positive OA effect on photosynthetic carbon fixation was more pronounced in C. muelleri, which had a relatively lower photosynthetic affinity for CO2, than in either T. pseudonana or P. tricornutum. In response to OA, T. pseudonana increased respiration for active disposal of H+ to maintain its intracellular pH, whereas P. tricornutum and C. muelleri retained their respiration rate but lowered the intracellular pH to maintain the cross‐membrane electrochemical gradient for H+ efflux. As the net result of changes in photosynthesis and respiration, growth enhancement to OA of the three diatoms followed the order of C. muelleri > P. tricornutum > T. pseudonana. This study demonstrates that elucidating the separate and joint impacts of increased pCO2 and decreased pH aids the mechanistic understanding of OA effects on diatoms in the future, acidified oceans.

Continue reading ‘The physiological response of marine diatoms to ocean acidification: differential roles of seawater pCO2 and pH’

Insensitivities of a subtropical productive coastal plankton community and trophic transfer to ocean acidification: results from a microcosm study

• Lower apparent growth was observed under elevated CO2 of 1000 μatm.

• Primary production and trophic transfer were unaffected by high CO2.

• Fatty acid profiles of phyto-/zooplankton were unaffected by ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification (OA) has potential to affect marine phytoplankton in ways that are partly understood, but there is less knowledge about how it may alter the coupling to secondary producers. We investigated the effects of OA on phytoplankton primary production, and its trophic transfer to zooplankton in a subtropical eutrophic water (Wuyuan Bay, China) under present day (400 μatm) and projected end-of-century (1000 μatm) pCO2 levels. Net primary production was unaffected, although OA did lead to small decreases in growth rates. OA had no measurable effect on micro-/mesozooplankton grazing rates. Elevated pCO2 had no effect on phytoplankton fatty acid (FA) concentrations during exponential phase, but saturated FAs increased relative to the control during declining phase. FA profiles of mesozooplankton were unaffected. Our findings show that short-term exposure of plankton communities in eutrophic subtropical waters to projected end-of-century OA conditions has little effect on primary productivity and trophic linkage to mesozooplankton.

Continue reading ‘Insensitivities of a subtropical productive coastal plankton community and trophic transfer to ocean acidification: results from a microcosm study’

Physiological and biochemical responses of Thalassiosira weissflogii (diatom) to seawater acidification and alkalization

Increasing atmospheric pCO2 leads to seawater acidification, which has attracted considerable attention due to its potential impact on the marine biological carbon pump and function of marine ecosystems. Alternatively, phytoplankton cells living in coastal waters might experience increased pH/decreased pCO2 (seawater alkalization) caused by metabolic activities of other photoautotrophs, or after microalgal blooms. Here we grew Thalassiosira weissflogii (diatom) at seven pCO2 levels, including habitat-related lowered levels (25, 50, 100, and 200 µatm) as well as present-day (400 µatm) and elevated (800 and 1600 µatm) levels. Effects of seawater acidification and alkalization on growth, photosynthesis, dark respiration, cell geometry, and biogenic silica content of T. weissflogii were investigated. Elevated pCO2 and associated seawater acidification had no detectable effects. However, the lowered pCO2 levels (25 ∼ 100 µatm), which might be experienced by coastal diatoms in post-bloom scenarios, significantly limited growth and photosynthesis of this species. In addition, seawater alkalization resulted in more silicified cells with higher dark respiration rates. Thus, a negative correlation of biogenic silica content and growth rate was evident over the pCO2 range tested here. Taken together, seawater alkalization, rather than acidification, could have stronger effects on the ballasting efficiency and carbon export of T. weissflogii.

Continue reading ‘Physiological and biochemical responses of Thalassiosira weissflogii (diatom) to seawater acidification and alkalization’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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