Posts Tagged 'respiration'

Interaction between elevated CO2 and phytoplankton-derived organic matter under solar radiation on bacterial metabolism from coastal waters

Microcosm experiments to assess bacterioplankton response to phytoplankton-derived organic matter obtained under current and future-ocean CO2 levels were performed. Surface seawater enriched with inorganic nutrients was bubbled for 8 days with air (current CO2 scenario) or with a 1000 ppm CO2–air mixture (future CO2 scenario) under solar radiation. The organic matter produced under the current and future CO2 scenarios was subsequently used as inoculum. Triplicate 12 L flasks filled with 1.2 µm-filtered natural seawater enriched with the organic matter inocula were incubated in the dark for 8 days under CO2 conditions simulating current and future CO2 scenarios to study the bacterial response. The acidification of the media increased bacterial respiration at the beginning of the experiment while the addition of the organic matter produced under future levels of CO2 was related to changes in bacterial production and abundance. The balance between both, respiration and production, made that the bacteria grown under future CO2 levels with an addition of non-acidified matter showed the best growth efficiency at the end of the incubation. However cells grown under future scenarios with high CO2 levels and acidified organic matter additions did not perform differently than those grown under present CO2 conditions, independently of the addition of acidified or non-acidified organic matter. This study demonstrates that the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations can affect bacterioplankton directly by changes in the respiration rate and indirectly by changes on the organic matter with concomitant effects on bacterial production and abundance.

Continue reading ‘Interaction between elevated CO2 and phytoplankton-derived organic matter under solar radiation on bacterial metabolism from coastal waters’

Heatwaves diminish the survival of a subtidal gastropod through reduction in energy budget and depletion of energy reserves

Extreme climatic events, such as heatwaves, are predicted to be more prevalent in future due to global climate change. The devastating impacts of heatwaves on the survival of marine organisms may be further intensified by ocean acidification. Here, we tested the hypothesis that prolonged exposure to heatwave temperatures (24 °C, +3 °C summer seawater temperature) would diminish energy budget, body condition and ultimately survival of a subtidal gastropod (Thalotia conica) by pushing close to its critical thermal maximum (CTmax). We also tested whether ocean acidification (pCO2: 1000 ppm) affects energy budget, CTmax and hence survival of this gastropod. Following the 8-week experimental period, mortality was markedly higher at 24 °C irrespective of pCO2 level, probably attributed to energy deficit (negative scope for growth) and concomitant depletion of energy reserves (reduced organ weight to flesh weight ratio). CTmax of T. conica appeared at 27 °C and was unaffected by ocean acidification. Our findings imply that prolonged exposure to heatwaves can compromise the survival of marine organisms below CTmax via disruption in energy homeostasis, which possibly explains their mass mortality in the past heatwave events. Therefore, heatwaves would have more profound effects than ocean acidification on future marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Heatwaves diminish the survival of a subtidal gastropod through reduction in energy budget and depletion of energy reserves’

Bacterioplankton in the light of seasonality and environmental drivers

Bacterioplankton are keystone organisms in marine ecosystems. They are important for element cycles, by transforming dissolved organic carbon and other nutrients. Bacterioplankton community composition and productivity rates change in surface waters over spatial and temporal scales. Yet, many underlying biological processes determining when, why and how bacterioplankton react to changes in environmental conditions are poorly understood. Here, I used experiments with model bacteria and natural assemblages as well as field studies to determine molecular, physiological and ecological responses allowing marine bacteria to adapt to their environment.

Experiments with the flavobacterium Dokdonia sp. MED134 aimed to determine how the metabolism of bacteria is influenced by light and different organic matter. Under light exposure, Dokdonia sp. MED134 expressed proteorhodopsin and adjusted its metabolism to use resources more efficiently when growing with lower-quality organic matter. Similar expression patterns were found in oceanic datasets, implying a global importance of photoheterotrophic metabolisms for the ecology of bacterioplankton.

Further, I investigated how the composition and physiology of bacterial assemblages are affected by elevated CO2 concentrations and inorganic nutrients. In a large-scale experiment, bacterioplankton could keep productivity and community structure unaltered by adapting the gene expression under CO2 stress. To maintain pH homeostasis, bacteria induced higher expression of genes related to respiration, membrane transport and light acquisition under low-nutrient conditions. Under high-nutrient conditions with phytoplankton blooms, such regulatory mechanisms were not necessary. These findings indicate that open ocean systems are more vulnerable to ocean acidification than coastal waters.

Lastly, I used field studies to resolve how bacterioplankton is influenced by environmental changes, and how this leads to seasonal succession of marine bacteria. Using high frequency sampling over three years, we uncovered notable variability both between and within years in several biological features that rapidly changed over short time scales. These included potential phytoplankton-bacteria linkages, substrate uptake rates, and shifts in bacterial community structure. Thus, high resolution time series can provide important insights into the mechanisms controlling microbial communities.

Overall, this thesis highlights the advantages of combining molecular and traditional oceanographic methodological approaches to study ecosystems at high resolution for improving our understanding of the physiology and ecology of microbial communities and, ultimately, how they influence biogeochemical processes.

Continue reading ‘Bacterioplankton in the light of seasonality and environmental drivers’

Repeated measurement of MO2 in small aquatic organisms: a manual intermittent flow respirometer using off-the-shelf components

Measurement of rates of oxygen consumption (MO2) in small aquatic embryos or larvae (< 1mm) in response to altered environmental conditions has traditionally been challenging. Here, using modifications of a commercially available fluorescent optode flow-through cell (FTC: PreSens{trade mark, serif} FTC-PSt3) and routine laboratory supplies (syringes, stopcocks, tubing), we have constructed a manual intermittent flow respirometer (MIFR) that allows measurement of MO2 in small numbers of individuals when sequentially exposed to different environmental conditions (e.g. changes in seawater pH) through a gravity-driven media replacement perfusion system. We first show that the FTC can be used in ‘static’ mode while incubating small numbers of embryos/larvae contained within the planar oxygen sensor (POS) chamber with Nitex filters. We then demonstrate the use of the MIFR by exposing larval echinoderms (Fellaster zelandiae, Evechinus chloroticus, Centrostephanus rodgersii) to seawater equilibrated with elevated CO2, and measured MO2 during acute and chronic exposure to hypercapnia. This MIFR method will allow investigators to address questions regarding the respiratory physiology of small aquatic animals, such as the thresholds for metabolic depression in embryonic and larval forms.

Continue reading ‘Repeated measurement of MO2 in small aquatic organisms: a manual intermittent flow respirometer using off-the-shelf components’

Species interactions can shift the response of a maerl bed community to ocean acidification and warming (update)

Predicted ocean acidification and warming are likely to have major implications for marine organisms, especially marine calcifiers. However, little information is available on the response of marine benthic communities as a whole to predicted changes. Here, we experimentally examined the combined effects of temperature and partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) increases on the response of maerl bed assemblages, composed of living and dead thalli of the free-living coralline alga Lithothamnion corallioides, epiphytic fleshy algae, and grazer species. Two 3-month experiments were performed in the winter and summer seasons in mesocosms with four different combinations of pCO2 (ambient and high pCO2) and temperature (ambient and +3 °C). The response of maerl assemblages was assessed using metabolic measurements at the species and assemblage scales. This study suggests that seasonal variability represents an important driver influencing the magnitude and the direction of species and community response to climate change. Gross primary production and respiration of assemblages was enhanced by high pCO2 conditions in the summer. This positive effect was attributed to the increase in epiphyte biomass, which benefited from higher CO2 concentrations for growth and primary production. Conversely, high pCO2 drastically decreased the calcification rates in assemblages. This response can be attributed to the decline in calcification rates of living L. corallioides due to acidification and increased dissolution of dead L. corallioides. Future changes in pCO2 and temperature are likely to promote the development of non-calcifying algae to the detriment of the engineer species L. corallioides. The development of fleshy algae may be modulated by the ability of grazers to regulate epiphyte growth. However, our results suggest that predicted changes will negatively affect the metabolism of grazers and potentially their ability to control epiphyte abundance. We show here that the effects of pCO2 and temperature on maerl bed communities were weakened when these factors were combined. This underlines the importance of examining multi-factorial approaches and community-level processes, which integrate species interactions, to better understand the impact of global change on marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Species interactions can shift the response of a maerl bed community to ocean acidification and warming (update)’

Local habitat influences on feeding and respiration of the intertidal mussels Perumytilus purpuratus exposed to increased pCO2 levels

Coastal ecosystems are exposed to changes in physical-chemical properties, such as those occurring in upwelling and freshwater-influenced areas. In these areas, inorganic carbon can influence seawater properties that may affect organisms and populations inhabiting benthic habitats such as the intertidal mussel Perumytilus purpuratus. Feeding and metabolic responses were measured in adult mussels from two geographic regions (central and southern Chile) and two local habitats (river-influenced and non-river-influenced) and three pCO2 levels (380, 750, and 1200 μatm pCO2 in seawater). The feeding rates of mussels tend to increase at high pCO2 levels in seawater; however this response was variable across regions and local habitats. In contrast, there was no difference in the respiratory rate of mussels between geographic areas, but there was a significant reduction of oxygen consumption at intermediate and high levels of pCO2. The results indicate that river-influenced organisms compensate for reductions in metabolic cost at elevated pCO2 levels by having their energy demands met, in contrast with non-river-influenced organisms. The lack of regional-scale variability in the physiological performance of mussels may indicate physiological homogeneity across populations and thus potential for local adaptation. However, the local-scale influences of river- and non-river-influenced habitats may counterbalance this regional response promoting intra-population variability and phenotypic plasticity in P. purpuratus. The plasticity may be an important mechanism that allows mussels to confront the challenges of projected ocean acidification scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Local habitat influences on feeding and respiration of the intertidal mussels Perumytilus purpuratus exposed to increased pCO2 levels’

Competitive interactions moderate the effects of elevated temperature and atmospheric CO2 on the health and functioning of oysters

Global increases in sea temperatures and atmospheric concentrations of CO2 may affect the health of calcifying shellfish. Little is known, however, about how competitive interactions within and between species may influence how species respond to multiple stressors. We experimentally assessed separate and combined effects of temperature (12 or 16°C) and atmospheric CO2 concentrations (400 and 1000 ppm) on the health and biological functioning of native (Ostrea edulis) and invasive (Crassostrea gigas) oysters held alone and in intraspecific or interspecific mixtures. We found evidence of reduced phagocytosis under elevated CO2 and, when combined with increased temperature, a reduction in the number of circulating haemocytes. Generally, C. gigas showed lower respiration rates relative to O. edulis when the species were in intraspecific or interspecific mixtures. In contrast, O. edulis showed a higher respiration rate relative to C. gigas when held in an interspecific mixture and exhibited lower clearance rates when held in intraspecific or interspecific mixtures. Overall, clearance rates of C. gigas were consistently greater than those of O. edulis. Collectively, our findings indicate that a species’ ability to adapt metabolic processes to environmental conditions can be modified by biotic context and may make some species (here, C. gigas) competitively superior and less vulnerable to future climatic scenarios at local scales. If these conclusions are generic, the relative role of species interactions, and other biotic parameters, in altering the outcomes of climate change will require much greater research emphasis.

Continue reading ‘Competitive interactions moderate the effects of elevated temperature and atmospheric CO2 on the health and functioning of oysters’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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