Posts Tagged 'primary production'

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’

CO2 fixation stability by Sulfurovum lithotrophicum 42BKTT depending on pH and ionic strength conditions

The dissolution of CO2, a greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming, in seawater lowers its pH and increases its ionic strength. Sulfurovum lithotrophicum42BKTT, a deep-sea chemolithotrophic bacterium, can fix high concentration CO2. In this study, we investigated the effect of pH and ionic strength variation of seawater on CO2fixation by this bacterium. For a stable and continuous fixation of high concentration CO2by S. lithotrophicum 42BKTT, the pH and ionic strength of the seawater-based medium should be 6.1–6.8 and <0.8 M, respectively. The deviation of pH and ionic strength from these ranges was indicated by the appearance of lengthened and fattened cells whose length and diameter increased by 70–90%. These results imply that the harmful effect of dissolved CO2 on marine ecosystem is due to the increase in ionic strength and decrease in pH of seawater.

Continue reading ‘CO2 fixation stability by Sulfurovum lithotrophicum 42BKTT depending on pH and ionic strength conditions’

Interactive effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on nitrate, urea, and dissolved inorganic carbon uptake by a coastal California, USA, microbial community

Average global temperatures and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are expected to increase in the coming decades. Implications for ocean ecosystems include shifts in microbial community structure and subsequent modifications to nutrient pathways. Studying how predicted future temperature and CO2 conditions will impact the biogeochemistry of the ocean is important because of the ocean’s role in regulating global climate. We determined how elevated temperature and CO2 affect uptake rates of nitrate, urea, and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) by 2 size classes (0.7-5.0 and >5.0 µm) of a microbial assemblage collected from coastal California, USA. This microbial community was incubated for 10 d using an ecostat continuous culture system that supplied the microorganisms with either nitrate or urea as the dominant nitrogen source. Biomass parameters, nutrient concentrations, and uptake rates were measured throughout the experiment. In all treatments, urea uptake rates were greater than nitrate, and larger microorganisms had higher uptake rates than smaller microorganisms. Uptake rates of urea and DIC within both size fractions were higher at elevated temperature, and uptake rates of nitrate by smaller microorganisms increased with elevated CO2. These findings suggest that the rate at which nutrients cycle in temperate coastal waters will increase as temperature and CO2 levels rise and that the effect will vary between nitrogen substrates and different microorganisms.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on nitrate, urea, and dissolved inorganic carbon uptake by a coastal California, USA, microbial community’

Resistance of Arctic phytoplankton to ocean acidification and enhanced irradiance

The Arctic Ocean is a region particularly prone to ongoing ocean acidification (OA) and climate-driven changes. The influence of these changes on Arctic phytoplankton assemblages, however, remains poorly understood. In order to understand how OA and enhanced irradiances (e.g., resulting from sea–ice retreat) will alter the species composition, primary production, and eco-physiology of Arctic phytoplankton, we conducted an incubation experiment with an assemblage from Baffin Bay (71°N, 68°W) under different carbonate chemistry and irradiance regimes. Seawater was collected from just below the deep Chl a maximum, and the resident phytoplankton were exposed to 380 and 1000 µatm pCO2 at both 15 and 35% incident irradiance. On-deck incubations, in which temperatures were 6 °C above in situ conditions, were monitored for phytoplankton growth, biomass stoichiometry, net primary production, photo-physiology, and taxonomic composition. During the 8-day experiment, taxonomic diversity decreased and the diatom Chaetoceros socialis became increasingly dominant irrespective of light or CO2 levels. We found no statistically significant effects from either higher CO2 or light on physiological properties of phytoplankton during the experiment. We did, however, observe an initial 2-day stress response in all treatments, and slight photo-physiological responses to higher CO2 and light during the first five days of the incubation. Our results thus indicate high resistance of Arctic phytoplankton to OA and enhanced irradiance levels, challenging the commonly predicted stimulatory effects of enhanced CO2 and light availability for primary production.

Continue reading ‘Resistance of Arctic phytoplankton to ocean acidification and enhanced irradiance’

Effects of elevated CO2 on phytoplankton during a mesocosm experiment in the southern eutrophicated coastal water of China

There is a growing consensus that the ongoing increase in atmospheric CO2 level will lead to a variety of effects on marine phytoplankton and ecosystems. However, the effects of CO2 enrichment on eutrophic coastal waters are still unclear, as are the complex mechanisms coupled to the development of eutrophication. Here, we report the first mesocosm CO2 perturbation study in a eutrophic subtropical bay during summer by investigating the effect of rising CO2 on a model artificial community consisting of well-characterized cultured diatoms (Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Thalassiosira weissflogii) and prymnesiophytes (Emiliania huxleyi and Gephyrocapsa oceanica). These species were inoculated into triplicate 4 m3 enclosures with equivalent chlorophyll a (Chl-a) under present and higher partial pressures of atmospheric CO2 (pCO2 = 400 and 1000 ppmv). Diatom bloom events were observed in all enclosures, with enhanced organic carbon production and Chl-a concentrations under high CO2 treatments. Relative to the low CO2 treatments, the consumption of the dissolved inorganic nitrogen and uptake ratios of N/P and N/Si increased significantly during the bloom. These observed responses suggest more extensive and complex effects of higher CO2 concentrations on phytoplankton communities in coastal eutrophic environments.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated CO2 on phytoplankton during a mesocosm experiment in the southern eutrophicated coastal water of China’

Physiological responses of coccolithophores to abrupt exposure of naturally low pH deep seawater

Upwelling is the process by which deep, cold, relatively high-CO2, nutrient-rich seawater rises to the sunlit surface of the ocean. This seasonal process has fueled geoengineering initiatives to fertilize the surface ocean with deep seawater to enhance productivity and thus promote the drawdown of CO2. Coccolithophores, which inhabit many upwelling regions naturally ‘fertilized’ by deep seawater, have been investigated in the laboratory in the context of ocean acidification to determine the extent to which nutrients and CO2 impact their physiology, but few data exist in the field except from mesocosms. Here, we used the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (north Atlantic Ocean) Observatory to retrieve seawater from depths with elevated CO2 and nutrients, mimicking geoengineering approaches. We tested the effects of abrupt natural deep seawater fertilization on the physiology and biogeochemistry of two strains of Emiliania huxleyi of known physiology. None of the strains tested underwent cell divisions when incubated in waters obtained from <1,000 m (pH = 7.99–8.08; CO2 = 373–485 p.p.m; 1.5–12 μM nitrate). However, growth was promoted in both strains when cells were incubated in seawater from ~1,000 m (pH = 7.9; CO2 ~560 p.p.m.; 14–17 μM nitrate) and ~4,800 m (pH = 7.9; CO2 ~600 p.p.m.; 21 μM nitrate). Emiliania huxleyi strain CCMP 88E showed no differences in growth rate or in cellular content or production rates of particulate organic (POC) and inorganic (PIC) carbon and cellular particulate organic nitrogen (PON) between treatments using water from 1,000 m and 4,800 m. However, despite the N:P ratio of seawater being comparable in water from ~1,000 and ~4,800 m, the PON production rates were three times lower in one incubation using water from ~1,000 m compared to values observed in water from ~4,800 m. Thus, the POC:PON ratios were threefold higher in cells that were incubated in ~1,000 m seawater. The heavily calcified strain NZEH exhibited lower growth rates and PIC production rates when incubated in water from ~4,800 m compared to ~1,000 m, while cellular PIC, POC and PON were higher in water from 4,800 m. Calcite Sr/Ca ratios increased with depth despite constant seawater Sr/Ca, indicating that upwelling changes coccolith geochemistry. Our study provides the first experimental and field trial of a geoengineering approach to test how deep seawater impacts coccolithophore physiological and biogeochemical properties. Given that coccolithophore growth was only stimulated using waters obtained from >1,000 m, artificial upwelling using shallower waters may not be a suitable approach for promoting carbon sequestration for some locations and assemblages, and should therefore be investigated on a site-by-site basis.

Continue reading ‘Physiological responses of coccolithophores to abrupt exposure of naturally low pH deep seawater’

CO2 induced growth response in a diatom dominated phytoplankton community from SW Bay of Bengal coastal water

The ongoing increase in surface seawater CO2 level could potentially impact phytoplankton primary production in coastal waters; however, CO2 sensitivity studies on tropical coastal phytoplankton assemblages are rare. The present study investigated the interactive impacts of variable CO2 level, light and zinc addition on the diatom dominated phytoplankton assemblages from the western coastal Bay of Bengal. Increased CO2supply enhanced particulate organic matter (POC) production; a concomitant depletion in δ13CPOM values at elevated CO2 suggested increased CO2 diffusive influx inside the cell. Trace amount of Zn added under low CO2 level accelerated growth probably by accelerating Zn-Carbonic Anhydrase activity which helps in converting bicarbonate ion to CO2. Almost identical values of δ13CPOM in the low CO2 treated cells grown with and without Zn indicated a low discrimination between 13C and 12C probably due to bicarbonate uptake. These evidences collectively indicated the existence of the carbon concentration mechanisms (CCMs) at low CO2. A minimum growth rate was observed at low CO2 and light limited condition indicating light dependence of CCMs activity. Upon the increase of light and CO2 level, growth response was maximum. The cells grown in the low CO2 levels showed higher light stress (higher values of both diatoxanthin index and the ratio of photo-protective to light-harvesting pigments) that was alleviated by both increasing CO2 supply and Zn addition (probably by efficient light energy utilization in presence of adequate CO2). This is likely that the diatom dominated phytoplankton communities benefited from the increasing CO2 supply and thus may enhance primary production in response to any further increase in coastal water CO2 levels and can have large biogeochemical consequences in the study area.

Continue reading ‘CO2 induced growth response in a diatom dominated phytoplankton community from SW Bay of Bengal coastal water’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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