Posts Tagged 'primary production'

The impact of elevated CO2 on Prochlorococcus and microbial interactions with ‘helper’ bacterium Alteromonas

Prochlorococcus is a globally important marine cyanobacterium that lacks the gene catalase and relies on ‘helper’ bacteria such as Alteromonas to remove reactive oxygen species. Increasing atmospheric CO2 decreases the need for carbon concentrating mechanisms and photorespiration in phytoplankton, potentially altering their metabolism and microbial interactions even when carbon is not limiting growth. Here, Prochlorococcus (VOL4, MIT9312) was co-cultured with Alteromonas (strain EZ55) under ambient (400p.p.m.) and elevated CO2 (800p.p.m.). Under elevated CO2, Prochlorococcus had a significantly longer lag phase and greater apparent die-offs after transfers suggesting an increase in oxidative stress. Whole-transcriptome analysis of Prochlorococcus revealed decreased expression of the carbon fixation operon, including carboxysome subunits, corresponding with significantly fewer carboxysome structures observed by electron microscopy. Prochlorococcus co-culture responsive gene 1 had significantly increased expression in elevated CO2, potentially indicating a shift in the microbial interaction. Transcriptome analysis of Alteromonas in co-culture with Prochlorococcus revealed decreased expression of the catalase gene, known to be critical in relieving oxidative stress in Prochlorococcus by removing hydrogen peroxide. The decrease in catalase gene expression was corroborated by a significant ~6-fold decrease in removal rates of hydrogen peroxide from co-cultures. These data suggest Prochlorococcus may be more vulnerable to oxidative stress under elevated CO2 in part from a decrease in ecosystem services provided by heterotrophs like Alteromonas. This work highlights the importance of considering microbial interactions in the context of a changing ocean.

Continue reading ‘The impact of elevated CO2 on Prochlorococcus and microbial interactions with ‘helper’ bacterium Alteromonas’

The regulation of coralline algal physiology, an in situ study of Corallina officinalis (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) (update)

Calcified macroalgae are critical components of marine ecosystems worldwide, but face considerable threat both from climate change (increasing water temperatures) and ocean acidification (decreasing ocean pH and carbonate saturation). It is thus fundamental to constrain the relationships between key abiotic stressors and the physiological processes that govern coralline algal growth and survival. Here we characterize the complex relationships between the abiotic environment of rock pool habitats and the physiology of the geniculate red coralline alga, Corallina officinalis (Corallinales, Rhodophyta). Paired assessment of irradiance, water temperature and carbonate chemistry, with C. officinalis net production (NP), respiration (R) and net calcification (NG) was performed in a south-western UK field site, at multiple temporal scales (seasonal, diurnal and tidal). Strong seasonality was observed in NP and night-time R, with a Pmax of 22.35 µmol DIC (g DW)−1 h−1, Ek of 300 µmol photons m−2 s−1 and R of 3.29 µmol DIC (g DW)−1 h−1 determined across the complete annual cycle. NP showed a significant exponential relationship with irradiance (R2 = 0.67), although was temperature dependent given ambient irradiance  > Ek for the majority of the annual cycle. Over tidal emersion periods, dynamics in NP highlighted the ability of C. officinalis to acquire inorganic carbon despite significant fluctuations in carbonate chemistry. Across all data, NG was highly predictable (R2 = 0.80) by irradiance, water temperature and carbonate chemistry, providing a NGmax of 3.94 µmol CaCO3 (g DW)−1 h−1 and Ek of 113 µmol photons m−2 s−1. Light NG showed strong seasonality and significant coupling to NP (R2 = 0.65) as opposed to rock pool water carbonate saturation. In contrast, the direction of dark NG (dissolution vs. precipitation) was strongly related to carbonate saturation, mimicking abiotic precipitation dynamics. Data demonstrated that C. officinalis is adapted to both long-term (seasonal) and short-term (tidal) variability in environmental stressors, although the balance between metabolic processes and the external environment may be significantly impacted by future climate change.

Continue reading ‘The regulation of coralline algal physiology, an in situ study of Corallina officinalis (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) (update)’

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’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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