Posts Tagged 'phytoplankton'



Company matters: the presence of other genotypes alters traits and intraspecific selection in an Arctic diatom under climate change

Arctic phytoplankton and their response to future conditions shape one of the most rapidly changing ecosystems on the planet. We tested how much the phenotypic responses of strains from the same Arctic diatom population diverge and whether the physiology and intraspecific composition of multistrain populations differs from expectations based on single strain traits. To this end, we conducted incubation experiments with the diatom Thalassiosira hyalina under present‐day and future temperature and pCO2 treatments. Six fresh isolates from the same Svalbard population were incubated as mono‐ and multistrain cultures. For the first time, we were able to closely follow intraspecific selection within an artificial population using microsatellites and allele‐specific quantitative PCR. Our results showed not only that there is substantial variation in how strains of the same species cope with the tested environments but also that changes in genotype composition, production rates, and cellular quotas in the multistrain cultures are not predictable from monoculture performance. Nevertheless, the physiological responses as well as strain composition of the artificial populations were highly reproducible within each environment. Interestingly, we only detected significant strain sorting in those populations exposed to the future treatment. This study illustrates that the genetic composition of populations can change on very short timescales through selection from the intraspecific standing stock, indicating the potential for rapid population level adaptation to climate change. We further show that individuals adjust their phenotype not only in response to their physicochemical but also to their biological surroundings. Such intraspecific interactions need to be understood in order to realistically predict ecosystem responses to global change.

Continue reading ‘Company matters: the presence of other genotypes alters traits and intraspecific selection in an Arctic diatom under climate change’

Provision of carbon skeleton for lipid synthesis from the breakdown of intracellular protein and soluble sugar in Phaeodactylum tricornutum under high CO2

Background
Increasing CO2 emissions have resulted in ocean acidification, affecting marine plant photosynthesis and changing the nutrient composition of marine ecosystems. The physiological and biochemical processes of marine phytoplankton in response to ocean acidification have been reported, but have been mainly focused on growth and photosynthetic physiology. To acquire a thorough knowledge of the molecular regulation mechanisms, model species with clear genetic background should be selected for systematic study. Phaeodactylum tricornutum is a pennate diatom with the characteristics of small genome size, short generation cycle, and easy to transform. Furthermore, the genome of P. tricornutum has been completely sequenced.

Results and discussion
In this study, P. tricornutum was cultured at high and normal CO2 concentrations. Cell composition changes during culture time were investigated. The 13C isotope tracing technique was used to determine fractional labeling enrichments for the main cellular components. The results suggested that when lipid content increased significantly under high CO2 conditions, total protein and soluble sugar contents decreased. The 13C labeling experiment indicated that the C skeleton needed for fatty acid C chain elongation in lipid synthesis under high CO2 conditions is not mainly derived from NaHCO3 (carbon fixed by photosynthesis).

Conclusion
This study indicated that breakdown of intracellular protein and soluble sugar provide C skeleton for lipid synthesis under high CO2 concentration.

Continue reading ‘Provision of carbon skeleton for lipid synthesis from the breakdown of intracellular protein and soluble sugar in Phaeodactylum tricornutum under high CO2’

Effects of ocean acidification and short-term light/temperature stress on biogenic dimethylated sulfur compounds cycling in the Changjiang River Estuary

Ocean acidification (OA) affects marine primary productivity and community structure. Therefore, OA may influence the biogeochemical cycles of volatile biogenic dimethyl sulfide (DMS), and its precursor dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and photochemical oxidation product dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). A 23-day shipboard incubation experiment investigated the short-term response of the production and cycling of biogenic sulfur compounds to OA in the Changjiang River Estuary to understand the effects of OA on biogenic sulfur compounds. Phytoplankton abundance and community composition showed a marked difference at three different pH levels at the late stage of the experiment. Significant reductions in chlorophyll a (Chl-a), DMS, particulate DMSP (DMSPp) and dissolved DMSO (DMSOd) concentrations were identified under high CO2 levels. Moreover, minimal changes were observed in the productions of dissolved DMSP (DMSPd) and particulate DMSO (DMSOp) among the treatments. The ratios of DMS, total DMSP (DMSPt) and total DMSO (DMSOt) to Chl-a were not affected by a change in pH. Furthermore, the concentrations of DMS and DMSOd were closely related to the mean bacterial abundance at the three pH levels. Additional short-term (8 h) incubation experiments on the light and temperature effects showed that the influence of pH on the production of dimethylated sulfur compounds also depended on solar radiation and temperature. Under natural and UVB light, DMS photodegradation rates increased by 1.6 to 4.2 times at low pH levels. Thus, OA may lead to decreasing DMS concentrations in surface seawater. Light and temperature conditions also play important roles in the production and cycling of biogenic sulfur compounds.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification and short-term light/temperature stress on biogenic dimethylated sulfur compounds cycling in the Changjiang River Estuary’

Effects of elevated CO2 on growth, calcification, and spectral dependence of photoinhibition in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae)

We studied the effects of elevated CO2 concentrations on cell growth, calcification, and spectral variation in the sensitivity of photosynthesis to inhibition by solar radiation in the globally important coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. Growth rates and chlorophyll a content per cell showed no significant differences between elevated (800 ppmv) and ambient (400 ppmv) CO2 conditions. However, the production of organic carbon and the cell quotas for both carbon and nitrogen, increased under elevated CO2 conditions, whilst particulate inorganic carbon production rates decreased under the same conditions. Biometric analyses of cells showed that coccoliths only presented significant differences due to treatments in the central area width. Most importantly, the size of the coccosphere decreased under elevated CO2 conditions. The susceptibility of photosynthesis to inhibition by ultraviolet radiation (UVR) was estimated using biological weighting functions (BWFs) and a model that predicts photosynthesis under photosynthetically active radiation and UVR exposures. BWF results demonstrated that the sensitivity of photosynthesis to UVR was not significantly different between E. huxleyi cells grown under elevated and present CO2 concentrations. We propose that the acclimation to elevated CO2 conditions involves a physiological mechanism of regulation and allocation of energy and metabolites in the cell, which is also responsible for altering the sensitivity to UVR. In coccolithophores, this mechanism might be affected by the decrease in the calcification rates.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated CO2 on growth, calcification, and spectral dependence of photoinhibition in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae)’

The potential impact of underwater exhausted CO2 from innovative ships on invertebrate communities

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered ships equipped with an underwater exhaust system to reduce the ship’s water resistance could form a future generation of energy-efficient ships. The potential consequences of the underwater exhaust gas to the local ecosystems are still unknown. Especially, the CO2 levels may locally exceed estimated future global levels. The present study exposes marine communities to a wide range of CO2 dosages, resulting in pH 8.6–5.8 that was remained for 49 days. We found that the zooplankton and benthic community were adversely affected by high CO2 exposure levels. In detail, (1) between pH 6.6 and 7.1 polychaete worms became the dominating group of the benthic community and their larvae dominated the zooplankton group. (2) Due to the reduced grazing pressure and the flux of nutrients from decaying organic material planktonic microalgae (phytoplankton) stared blooming at the highest exposure level. The periphyton (fouling microalgae) community was not able to take advantage under these conditions. (3) Marine snails’ (periwinkle) shell damage and high mortality were observed at pH < 6.6. However, the growth of the surviving periwinkles was not directly related to pH, but was positively correlated with the availability of periphyton and negatively correlated with the polychaete worm density that most likely also used the periphyton as food source. Our result indicates that the impact of underwater exhaust gasses depends on various factors including local biological and abiotic conditions, which will be included in future research.

Continue reading ‘The potential impact of underwater exhausted CO2 from innovative ships on invertebrate communities’

Ocean acidification has little effect on the biochemical composition of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

Owing to the hierarchical organization of biology, from genomes over transcriptomes and proteomes down to metabolomes, there is continuous debate about the extent to which data and interpretations derived from one level, e.g. the transcriptome, are in agreement with other levels, e.g. the metabolome. Here, we tested the effect of ocean acidification (OA; 400 vs. 1000 μatm CO2) and its modulation by light intensity (50 vs. 300 μmol photons m-2 s-1) on the biomass composition (represented by 75 key metabolites) of diploid and haploid life-cycle stages of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (RCC1216 and RCC1217) and compared these data with interpretations from previous physiological and gene expression screenings. The metabolite patterns showed minor responses to OA in both life-cycle stages. Whereas previous gene expression analyses suggested that the observed increased biomass buildup derived from lipid and carbohydrate storage, this dataset suggests that OA slightly increases overall biomass of cells, but does not significantly alter their metabolite composition. Generally, light was shown to be a more dominant driver of metabolite composition than OA, increasing the relative abundances of amino acids, mannitol and storage lipids, and shifting pigment contents to accommodate increased irradiance levels. The diploid stage was shown to contain vastly more osmolytes and mannitol than the haploid stage, which in turn had a higher relative content of amino acids, especially aromatic ones. Besides the differences between the investigated cell types and the general effects on biomass buildup, our analyses indicate that OA imposes only negligible effects on E. huxleyi´s biomass composition.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification has little effect on the biochemical composition of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi’

Meta‐analysis reveals enhanced growth of marine harmful algae from temperate regions with warming and elevated CO2 levels

Elevated pCO2 and warming may promote algal growth and toxin production, and thereby possibly support the proliferation and toxicity of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Here, we tested whether empirical data support this hypothesis using a meta‐analytic approach and investigated the responses of growth rate and toxin content or toxicity of numerous marine and estuarine HAB species to elevated pCO2 and warming. Most of the available data on HAB responses towards the two tested climate change variables concern dinoflagellates, as many members of this phytoplankton group are known to cause HAB outbreaks. Toxin content and toxicity did not reveal a consistent response towards both tested climate change variables, while growth rate increased consistently with elevated pCO2. Warming also led to higher growth rates, but only for species isolated at higher latitudes. The observed gradient in temperature growth responses shows the potential for enhanced development of HABs at higher latitudes. Increases in growth rates with more CO2 may present an additional competitive advantage for HAB species, particularly as CO2 was not shown to enhance growth rate of other non‐HAB phytoplankton species. However, this may also be related to the difference in representation of dinoflagellate and diatom species in the respective HAB and non‐HAB phytoplankton groups. Since the proliferation of HAB species may strongly depend on their growth rates, our results warn for a greater potential of dinoflagellate HAB development in future coastal waters, particularly in temperate regions.

Continue reading ‘Meta‐analysis reveals enhanced growth of marine harmful algae from temperate regions with warming and elevated CO2 levels’


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