Posts Tagged 'protists'

Ocean acidification at a coastal CO2 vent induces expression of stress-related transcripts and transposable elements in the sea anemone Anemonia viridis

Ocean acidification threatens to disrupt interactions between organisms throughout marine ecosystems. The diversity of reef-building organisms decreases as seawater CO2 increases along natural gradients, yet soft-bodied animals, such as sea anemones, are often resilient. We sequenced the polyA-enriched transcriptome of adult sea anemone Anemonia viridis and its dinoflagellate symbiont sampled along a natural CO2 gradient in Italy to assess stress levels in these organisms. We found that about 3.1% of the anemone transcripts, but <1% of the Symbiodinium sp. transcripts were differentially expressed. Processes enriched at high seawater CO2 were linked to cellular stress and inflammation, including significant up-regulation of protective cellular functions and down-regulation of metabolic pathways. Transposable elements were differentially expressed at high seawater CO2, with an extreme up-regulation (> 100-fold) of the BEL-family of long terminal repeat retrotransposons. Seawater acidified by CO2 generated a significant stress reaction in A. viridis, but no bleaching was observed and Symbiodinium sp. appeared to be less affected. These observed changes indicate the mechanisms by which A. viridis acclimate to survive chronic exposure to ocean acidification conditions. We conclude that many organisms that are common in acidified conditions may nevertheless incur costs due to hypercapnia and/or lowered carbonate saturation states.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification at a coastal CO2 vent induces expression of stress-related transcripts and transposable elements in the sea anemone Anemonia viridis’

Investigating marine bio‐calcification mechanisms in a changing ocean with in vivo and high‐resolution ex vivo Raman spectroscopy

Ocean acidification poses a serious threat to marine calcifying organisms, yet experimental and field studies have found highly diverse responses among species and environments. Our understanding of the underlying drivers of differential responses to ocean acidification is currently limited by difficulties in directly observing and quantifying the mechanisms of bio‐calcification. Here, we present Raman spectroscopy techniques for characterizing the skeletal mineralogy and calcifying fluid chemistry of marine calcifying organisms such as corals, coralline algae, foraminifera, and fish (carbonate otoliths). First, our in vivo Raman technique is the ideal tool for investigating non‐classical mineralization pathways. This includes calcification by amorphous particle attachment, which has recently been controversially suggested as a mechanism by which corals resist the negative effects of ocean acidification. Second, high‐resolution ex vivo Raman mapping reveals complex banding structures in the mineralogy of marine calcifiers, and provides a tool to quantify calcification responses to environmental variability on various timescales from days to years. We describe the new insights into marine bio‐calcification that our techniques have already uncovered, and we consider the wide range of questions regarding calcifier responses to global change that can now be proposed and addressed with these new Raman spectroscopy tools.

Continue reading ‘Investigating marine bio‐calcification mechanisms in a changing ocean with in vivo and high‐resolution ex vivo Raman spectroscopy’

Review: host-pathogen dynamics of seagrass diseases under future global change


• The role of disease in global seagrass declines is largely unknown.

• Seagrass disease risk and impact may be amplified under global change.

• We review 3 groups of known seagrass pathogens: labyrinthulids, oomycetes and Phytomyxea.

• There is an urgent need to expand the field of seagrass disease research.

• We provide perspectives for future studies on seagrass-pathogen dynamics.


Human-induced global change is expected to amplify the disease risk for marine biota. However, the role of disease in the rapid global decline of seagrass is largely unknown. Global change may enhance seagrass susceptibility to disease through enhanced physiological stress, while simultaneously promoting pathogen development. This review outlines the characteristics of disease-forming organisms and potential impacts of global change on three groups of known seagrass pathogens: labyrinthulids, oomycetes and Phytomyxea. We propose that hypersalinity, climate warming and eutrophication pose the greatest risk for increasing frequency of disease outbreaks in seagrasses by increasing seagrass stress and lowering seagrass resilience. In some instances, global change may also promote pathogen development. However, there is currently a paucity of information on these seagrass pathosystems. We emphasise the need to expand current research to better understand the seagrass-pathogen relationships, serving to inform predicative modelling and management of seagrass disease under future global change scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Review: host-pathogen dynamics of seagrass diseases under future global change’

The combined effects of pH and temperature on the physiology of the temperate coral Oculina arbuscula

The purpose of this investigation was to investigate the impact of ocean acidification and warming sea temperature on Oculina arbuscula, a temperate scleractinian coral found in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS) off the coast of Sapelo Island, GA. GRNMS experiences seasonal fluctuations in temperatures that reach 30°C and concurrent decreases in pH to approximately 8.0, thus naturally modelling the projected effects of anthropogenic climate change on an annual basis. Oculina arbuscula colonies in GRNMS are exposed to these natural fluctuations in temperature and pH, therefore I hypothesized that this species is resistant to the combined effects of high temperature and low pH. Specifically, I predicted that there would be no effects on calcification rates, symbiont densities, or chlorophyll a concentrations. To test these predictions, O. arbuscula colonies were collected from GRNMS, divided into three treatments and a control, and maintained for 75 days. Ambient temperature was applied at 26°C while high temperature was 31°C, and the ambient pH was 7.9 with a low pH of 7.65. The ambient values were applied to the control aquaria, and the three treatments experienced ocean acidification (ambient temperature, low pH), ocean warming (high temperature, ambient pH), and combined ocean warming and acidification (high temperature, low pH). Results showed that calcification rates were significantly reduced by the combined stressors and symbiont densities and chlorophyll concentrations were significantly reduced by high temperature treatments. These results indicated that with continued ocean acidification and warming, the success of Oculina arbsucula within the spatially competitive benthic communities in GRNMS may be compromised.

Continue reading ‘The combined effects of pH and temperature on the physiology of the temperate coral Oculina arbuscula’

Changing structure of benthic foraminiferal communities due to declining pH: results from laboratory culture experiments

The ocean absorbs large amounts of CO2 emitted from human activities, which results in a decrease in seawater pH. Marine calcifying organisms such as foraminifera, are most likely to be affected by this declining pH. In this study, we collected sediments from five stations of different depths (34–73 m) in a continental shelf of the Yellow Sea. The entire benthic foraminiferal communities together with sea sediments were cultured under three constant pHs (8.3, 7.8, and 7.3) for 6 and 12 weeks in the laboratory to study their responses to pH or incubation time. The microcosm’s experimental results obtained showed that most of the foraminiferal community parameters (abundance, species richness, Margalef index, and Shannon-Wiener diversity) decreased significantly (p<0.05) with the decline in pH in all the tested stations. The responses of foraminifera to the decline in pH were species-specific, for instance, Protelphidium tuberculatum and Cribroelphidiumfrigidum were highly sensitive to declining pH and were finally eliminated at low pH, while some species (e.g., Lagenammina atlantica, Verneuilinulla advena, V. propinqua, Haplophragmoides applanata, and H. canariensis) could tolerate low pH and acted as pH-tolerant species. In addition, the proportion of hyaline taxa showed a significant (p<0.05) positive correlation with pH, while agglutinated type showed a negative response. Furthermore, different incubation times (6 and 12 weeks) showed significant effects on the nearshore communities other than the offshore treatments, which were, however, entirely declined after 6 weeks’ incubation under low pH manipulation. Our results indicated that nearshore foraminiferal communities showed rather a resilience to the declining pH and the offshore foraminifera, especially those in the central area of the Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass were found to be more sensitive to the decline in pH in the continental shelf sediments of the Yellow Sea.

Continue reading ‘Changing structure of benthic foraminiferal communities due to declining pH: results from laboratory culture experiments’

Dynamic storage of glacial CO2 in the Atlantic Ocean revealed by boron [CO3] and pH records


• δ11 B and B/Ca data from benthic foraminifera can observe deep ocean carbon storage.

• Glacials exhibit a carbonate chemocline between shallow and deep water.

• East and West Atlantic basin exhibit differential carbonate system behaviour.

• 3 distinct states of [CO] stratification exist in the Atlantic glacial cycle.

• The level of Atlantic stratification is linked to atmospheric CO2 levels.


The origin and carbon content of the deep water mass that fills the North Atlantic Basin, either Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) or North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) is suggested to influence the partitioning of CO2 between the ocean and atmosphere on glacial–interglacial timescales. Fluctuations in the strength of Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) have also been shown to play a key role in global and regional climate change on timescales from annual to millennial. The North Atlantic is an important and well-studied ocean basin but many proxy records tracing ocean circulation in this region over the last glacial cycle are challenging to interpret. Here we present new B/Ca-[CO3] and boron isotope-pH data from sites spanning the North Atlantic Ocean from 2200 to 3900 m and covering the last 130 kyr from both sides of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. These data allow us to explore the potential of the boron-based proxies as tracers of ocean water masses to ultimately identify the changing nature of Atlantic circulation over the last 130 kyr. This possibility arises because the B/Ca and boron isotope proxies are directly and quantitatively linked to the ocean carbonate system acting as semi-conservative tracers in the modern ocean. Yet the utility of this approach has yet to be demonstrated on glacial–interglacial timescales when various processes may alter the state of the deep ocean carbonate system. We demonstrate that the deep (∼3400 m) North Atlantic Ocean exhibits considerable variability in terms of its carbonate chemistry through the entirety of the last glacial cycle. Our new data confirm that the last interglacial marine isotope stage (MIS) 5e has a similar deep-water geometry to the Holocene, in terms of the carbonate system. In combination with benthic foraminiferal δ13C and a consideration of the [CO3] of contemporaneous southern sourced water, we infer that AABW influences the eastern abyssal North Atlantic throughout the whole of the last glacial (MIS2 through 4) whereas, only in the coldest stages (MIS2 and MIS4) of the last glacial cycle was AABW an important contributor to our deep sites in both North Atlantic basins. Taken together, our carbonate system depth profiles reveal a pattern of changing stratification within the North Atlantic that bears strong similarities to the atmospheric CO2 record, evidencing the important role played by ocean water mass geometry and the deep ocean carbonate system in driving changes in atmospheric CO2 on these timescales.

Continue reading ‘Dynamic storage of glacial CO2 in the Atlantic Ocean revealed by boron [CO3] and pH records’

Diurnally fluctuating pCO2 modifies the physiological responses of coral recruits under ocean acidification

Diurnal pCO2 fluctuations have the potential to modulate the biological impact of ocean acidification (OA) on reef calcifiers, yet little is known about the physiological and biochemical responses of scleractinian corals to fluctuating carbonate chemistry under OA. Here, we exposed newly settled Pocillopora damicornis for 7 days to ambient pCO2, steady and elevated pCO2 (stable OA) and diurnally fluctuating pCO2 under future OA scenario (fluctuating OA). We measured the photo-physiology, growth (lateral growth, budding and calcification), oxidative stress and activities of carbonic anhydrase (CA), Ca-ATPase and Mg-ATPase. Results showed that while OA enhanced the photochemical performance of in hospite symbionts, it also increased catalase activity and lipid peroxidation. Furthermore, both OA treatments altered the activities of host and symbiont CA, suggesting functional changes in the uptake of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) for photosynthesis and calcification. Most importantly, only the fluctuating OA treatment resulted in a slight drop in calcification with concurrent up-regulation of Ca-ATPase and Mg-ATPase, implying increased energy expenditure on calcification. Consequently, asexual budding rates decreased by 50% under fluctuating OA. These results suggest that diel pCO2 oscillations could modify the physiological responses and potentially alter the energy budget of coral recruits under future OA, and that fluctuating OA is more energetically expensive for the maintenance of coral recruits than stable OA.

Continue reading ‘Diurnally fluctuating pCO2 modifies the physiological responses of coral recruits under ocean acidification’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book