Posts Tagged 'prokaryotes'

Responses of intertidal bacterial biofilm communities to increasing pCO2

The effects of ocean acidification on ecosystems remain poorly understood, because it is difficult to simulate the effects of elevated CO2 on entire marine communities. Natural systems enriched in CO2 are being used to help understand the long-term effects of ocean acidification in situ. Here, we compared biofilm bacterial communities on intertidal cobbles/boulders and bedrock along a seawater CO2 gradient off Japan. Samples sequenced for 16S rRNA showed differences in bacterial communities with different pCO2 and between habitat types. In both habitats, bacterial diversity increased in the acidified conditions. Differences in pCO2 were associated with differences in the relative abundance of the dominant phyla. However, despite the differences in community composition, there was no indication that these changes would be significant for nutrient cycling and ecosystem function. As well as direct effects of seawater chemistry on the biofilm, increased microalgal growth and decreased grazing may contribute to the shift in bacterial composition at high CO2, as documented by other studies. Thus, the effects of changes in bacterial community composition due to globally increasing pCO2 levels require further investigation to assess the implications for marine ecosystem function. However, the apparent lack of functional shifts in biofilms along the pCO2 gradient is a reassuring indicator of stability of their ecosystem functions in shallow ocean margins.

Continue reading ‘Responses of intertidal bacterial biofilm communities to increasing pCO2’

Evaluation of heterotrophic bacteria associated with healthy and bleached corals of Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat, India for siderophore production and their response to climate change factors


• Comparison of siderophore production by healthy and bleached coral associated microbes.

• Catecholate type of siderophore is mainly produced by coral associated microbes.

• Adapting ability of healthy and bleached coral isolates in changing climate.

• Significant effect of lowering pH and increasing temperature on growths and siderophore production of coral associated bacteria.


Bacteria are known to play a crucial role in coral health but their mechanisms are unclear. Siderophore production could be one of the mechanisms by which they benefit or harm the corals. Bacteria produce siderophore to adapt in harsh conditions, such as nutrient limiting and competing environments such as coral surface. In the present study, siderophore producing ability of microbes associated with healthy and bleached corals is evaluated as both healthy and bleached coral surface provide a different environment concerning nutrients and competitions. Total of 129 siderophore-producing bacteria associated with two healthy (n = 66 isolates) and bleached coral (n = 63) species (Porites spp. and Turbinaria spp.) from the Gulf of Kutch (GoK), Gujarat (India) are screened and compared. No relation between coral health status and siderophore producing ability of microbes is observed (one-way ANOVA, p = 0.67). All the isolates are positive to catecholate type of siderophore which has the strongest affinity for limiting iron. The study also explores the growth and siderophore production behavior of healthy and bleached coral isolates at decreasing pH and temperature rise as they are the important factors that affects the solubility of nutrients and thus, the structure and functioning of the microbes. Isolates from bleached corals showed an increase in growth even at pH 6, whereas the growth of healthy coral isolates reduces at pH 6. Temperature rise is negatively correlated to growth and siderophore production by all isolates except Bacillus sp. PH26. Combined low pH and temperature rise stress, negatively affect growth and siderophore production of coral-associated microbes with Bacillus sp. PH26 as exception. General correlation trend of bacterial growth and siderophore production is positive. The isolates showing exceptional behavior might be possibly beneficial or harmful to the coral health. Thus, growth and siderophore production of microbes under changing climate conditions might be used as preliminary tools to screen beneficial and pathogenic microbes of corals from opportunistic microbes. This screening would reduce the number of possible candidates for in-situ and in-vitro microcosm experiments to understand the role of siderophore producing microbes in coral health. Overall, pH and temperature have a significant impact on coral-associated microbial growth and siderophore production, which ultimately impact the coral health and disease as the microbes form an integral part of coral holobiont. The study laid the foundation for future studies to understand the role of siderophore producing bacteria in coral health in the global climate-changing era.

Continue reading ‘Evaluation of heterotrophic bacteria associated with healthy and bleached corals of Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat, India for siderophore production and their response to climate change factors’

A high biodiversity mitigates the impact of ocean acidification on hard-bottom ecosystems

Biodiversity loss and climate change simultaneously threaten marine ecosystems, yet their interactions remain largely unknown. Ocean acidification severely affects a wide variety of marine organisms and recent studies have predicted major impacts at the pH conditions expected for 2100. However, despite the renowned interdependence between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, the hypothesis that the species’ response to ocean acidification could differ based on the biodiversity of the natural multispecies assemblages in which they live remains untested. Here, using experimentally controlled conditions, we investigated the impact of acidification on key habitat-forming organisms (including corals, sponges and macroalgae) and associated microbes in hard-bottom assemblages characterised by different biodiversity levels. Our results indicate that, at higher biodiversity, the impact of acidification on otherwise highly vulnerable key organisms can be reduced by 50 to >90%, depending on the species. Here we show that such a positive effect of a higher biodiversity can be associated with higher availability of food resources and healthy microbe-host associations, overall increasing host resistance to acidification, while contrasting harmful outbreaks of opportunistic microbes. Given the climate change scenarios predicted for the future, we conclude that biodiversity conservation of hard-bottom ecosystems is fundamental also for mitigating the impacts of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘A high biodiversity mitigates the impact of ocean acidification on hard-bottom ecosystems’

Symbiont community diversity is more variable in corals that respond poorly to stress

Coral reefs are declining globally as climate change and local water quality press environmental conditions beyond the physiological tolerances of holobionts—the collective of the host and its microbial symbionts. To assess the relationship between symbiont composition and holobiont stress tolerance, community diversity metrics were quantified for dinoflagellate endosymbionts (Family: Symbiodiniaceae) from eight Acropora millepora genets that thrived under or responded poorly to various stressors. These eight selected genets represent the upper and lower tails of the response distribution of 40 coral genets that were exposed to four stress treatments (and control conditions) in a 10‐day experiment. Specifically, four ‘best performer’ coral genets were analyzed at the end of the experiment because they survived high temperature, high pCO2, bacterial exposure, or combined stressors, whereas four ‘worst performer’ genets were characterized because they experienced substantial mortality under these stressors. At the end of the experiment, seven of eight coral genets mainly hosted Cladocopium symbionts, whereas the eighth genet was dominated by both Cladocopium and Durusdinium symbionts. Symbiodiniaceae alpha and beta diversity were higher in worst performing genets than in best performing genets. Symbiont communities in worst performers also differed more after stress exposure relative to their controls (based on normalized proportional differences in beta diversity), than did best performers. A generalized joint attribute model estimated the influence of host genet and treatment on Symbiodiniaceae community composition and identified strong associations among particular symbionts and host genet performance, as well as weaker associations with treatment. Although dominant symbiont physiology and function contribute to host performance, these findings emphasize the importance of symbiont community diversity and stochasticity as components of host performance. Our findings also suggest that symbiont community diversity metrics may function as indicators of resilience and have potential applications in diverse disciplines from climate change adaptation to agriculture and medicine.

Continue reading ‘Symbiont community diversity is more variable in corals that respond poorly to stress’

A unique temperate rocky coastal hydrothermal vent system (Whakaari–White Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand): constraints for ocean acidification studies

In situ effects of ocean acidification are increasingly studied at submarine CO2 vents. Here we present a preliminary investigation into the water chemistry and biology of cool temperate CO2 vents near Whakaari–White Island, New Zealand. Water samples were collected inside three vent shafts, within vents at a distance of 2 m from the shaft and at control sites. Vent samples contained both seawater pH on the total scale (pHT) and carbonate saturation states that were severely reduced, creating conditions as predicted for beyond the year 2100. Vent samples showed lower salinities, higher temperatures and greater nutrient concentrations. Sulfide levels were elevated and mercury levels were at concentrations considered toxic at all vent and control sites, but stable organic and inorganic ligands were present, as deduced from Cu speciation data, potentially mediating harmful effects on local organisms. The biological investigations focused on phytoplankton, zooplankton and macroalgae. Interestingly, we found lower abundances but higher diversity of phytoplankton and zooplankton at sites in the direct vicinity of Whakaari. Follow-up studies will need a combination of methods and approaches to attribute observations to specific drivers. The Whakaari vents represent a unique ecosystem with considerable biogeochemical complexity, which, like many other vent systems globally, require care in their use as a model of ‘future oceans’.

Continue reading ‘A unique temperate rocky coastal hydrothermal vent system (Whakaari–White Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand): constraints for ocean acidification studies’

A meta-analysis of microcosm experiments shows that dimethyl sulfide (DMS) production in polar waters is insensitive to ocean acidification

Emissions of dimethylsulfide (DMS) from the polar oceans play a key role in atmospheric processes and climate. Therefore, it is important to increase our understanding of how DMS production in these regions may respond to climate change. The polar oceans are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA). However, our understanding of the polar DMS response is limited to two studies conducted in Arctic waters, where in both cases DMS concentrations decreased with increasing acidity. Here, we report on our findings from seven summertime shipboard microcosm experiments undertaken in a variety of locations in the Arctic Ocean and Southern Ocean. These experiments reveal no significant effects of short-term OA on the net production of DMS by planktonic communities. This is in contrast to similar experiments from temperate north-western European shelf waters where surface ocean communities responded to OA with significant increases in dissolved DMS concentrations. A meta-analysis of the findings from both temperate and polar waters (n=18 experiments) reveals clear regional differences in the DMS response to OA. Based on our findings, we hypothesize that the differences in DMS response between temperate and polar waters reflect the natural variability in carbonate chemistry to which the respective communities of each region may already be adapted. If so, future temperate oceans could be more sensitive to OA, resulting in an increase in DMS emissions to the atmosphere, whilst perhaps surprisingly DMS emissions from the polar oceans may remain relatively unchanged. By demonstrating that DMS emissions from geographically distinct regions may vary in their response to OA, our results may facilitate a better understanding of Earth’s future climate. Our study suggests that the way in which processes that generate DMS respond to OA may be regionally distinct, and this should be taken into account in predicting future DMS emissions and their influence on Earth’s climate.

Continue reading ‘A meta-analysis of microcosm experiments shows that dimethyl sulfide (DMS) production in polar waters is insensitive to ocean acidification’

Experimental acidification increases susceptibility of Mercenaria mercenaria to infection by Vibrio species


• Clams in high pCO2/low pH were more susceptible to infection by pathogenic Vibrios.

• Growth and abundance of Vibrio spp. were greater under high pCO2/low pH.

• Clams reared under high pCO2/low pH seemed to have a broad tolerance range for pH.

• Long-term effect of acidification and susceptibility to vibriosis is understudied.


Ocean acidification alters seawater carbonate chemistry, which can have detrimental impacts for calcifying organisms such as bivalves. This study investigated the physiological cost of resilience to acidification in Mercenaria mercenaria, with a focus on overall immune performance following exposure to Vibrio spp. Larval and juvenile clams reared in seawater with high pCO2 (∼1200 ppm) displayed an enhanced susceptibility to bacterial pathogens. Higher susceptibility to infection in clams grown under acidified conditions was derived from a lower immunity to infection more so than an increase in growth of bacteria under high pCO2. A reciprocal transplant of juvenile clams demonstrated the highest mortality amongst animals transplanted from low pCO2/high pH to high pCO2/low pH conditions and then exposed to bacterial pathogens. Collectively, these results suggest that increased pCO2 will result in immunocompromised larvae and juveniles, which could have complex and pernicious effects on hard clam populations.

Continue reading ‘Experimental acidification increases susceptibility of Mercenaria mercenaria to infection by Vibrio species’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book