Posts Tagged 'respiration'

Describing seasonal marine carbon system processes in Cambridge Bay Nunavut using an innovative sensor platform

The marine carbonate system is a critical component of global biogeochemical cycles. It determines a given marine region’s status as a source or sink for atmospheric CO2, and long-term changes (i.e. ocean acidification) that can affect key ecosystem functions. Carbonate system processes are highly-variable through space and time, which makes it difficult to fully characterize a region without either intensive sampling, or long-term deployment of high-precision instruments. Both of these are difficult in the Arctic, where challenging logistics limit sampling opportunities, and instruments must endure extreme conditions. In this work, we present the first high-resolution marine carbon system dataset covering a full Arctic cycle of sea ice growth and melt. We deployed a Satlantic SeaFET Ocean pH Sensor and a Pro-Oceanus CO2-Pro CV sensor for consecutive nearly year-long deployments onboard the Cambridge Bay Ocean Networks Canada Undersea Community Observatory from September 2015 – June 2018. The sensors measurements were compared to discrete sample references, and determined to require multipoint in situ calibration, but were representative of the greater sea surface mixed layer inside the bay through most of the year. Using a diagnostic box model approach, seasonal influencing processes on the marine carbon system at the platform were quantitatively determined. Air-sea gas exchange and biologic respiration/ remineralization were dominant in the fall, whereas following sea ice freeze-up brine rejection drove pCO2 to seasonal supersaturation with respect to the atmosphere, and the aragonite saturation state to become undersaturated. Shortly after the sun rose under the ice in the late winter, the ecosystem at the platform became net autotrophic at very low light levels, driving pCO2 to undersaturation. As sea ice melted, an under-ice phytoplankton bloom drew down a significant amount of carbon before the open water season, returning the aragonite saturation state to supersaturation at the platform. These observations show a dynamic system, where biological processes occur at times and rates previously unknown to the literature. These processes will need to be included in future biogeochemical modelling efforts, if we are to properly resolve the current, and future, role of the Arctic Ocean basin in global biogeochemical cycles.

Continue reading ‘Describing seasonal marine carbon system processes in Cambridge Bay Nunavut using an innovative sensor platform’

Temporal effects of ocean warming and acidification on coral–algal competition

While there is an ever-expanding list of impacts on coral reefs as a result of ocean warming and acidification, there is little information on how these global changes influence coral–algal competition. The present study assessed the impact of business-as-usual ocean warming and acidification conditions on the survivorship, calcification, photosynthesis and respiration of the coral–algal interaction between the macroalga Halimeda heteromorpha and the coral Acropora intermedia over 8 weeks in two seasons. The physiological responses of A. intermedia and H. heteromorpha were highly dependent on season, with both organisms demonstrating optimal rates of calcification and photosynthesis under present-day conditions in summer. Contact with H. heteromorpha did not influence A. intermedia survivorship, however did reduce long-term calcification rates. Photosynthetic rates of A. intermedia were influenced by algal contact temporally in opposing directions, with rates reduced in winter and increased in summer. Enhanced photosynthetic rates as a result of algal contact were not enough to offset the combined effects of ocean warming and acidification, which regardless of coral–algal contact, reduced survivorship, calcification and photosynthesis of A. intermedia and the calcification rates of H. heteromorpha. These findings provide experimental support for the idea that the effects of coral–algal competition are temporally variable, and help improve our understanding of how future ocean warming and acidification may alter the dynamics of coral–algal interactions.

Continue reading ‘Temporal effects of ocean warming and acidification on coral–algal competition’

Grazers increase the sensitivity of coralline algae to ocean acidification and warming


  • Stimulation of the primary production and calcification of corallines by grazing
  • Different response of maerl between winter and summer conditions
  • High vulnerability of corallines to ocean acidification in the presence of grazers


Coralline algae are expected to be adversely impacted by ocean acidification and warming. Most research on these algae has involved experiments on isolated species, without considering species interactions, such as grazing. This myopic view is challenging because the impact of climate change on coralline algae will depend on the direct impacts on individual coralline species and the indirect effects of altered interactions with other species. Here, we tested the influence of grazing on the response of the coralline alga Lithothamnion corallioides to near-future ocean acidification and warming. Two three-month experiments were performed in the winter and summer seasons in mesocosms under crossed conditions of pCO2 (ambient and high pCO2) and temperature (ambient and +3 °C) in the presence and absence of grazers. In the winter, L. corallioides photosynthesis decreased with rising temperature in the presence of grazers, while calcification increased. It is likely that increased calcification may act as a structural protection to prevent damage from grazing. However, increasing calcification rates in the presence of grazers may be detrimental to other physiological processes, such as photosynthesis. In the summer, L. corallioides primary production, respiration, and calcification were higher in the presence of grazers than in their absence. Light calcification rates were reduced under high pCO2 in the presence of grazers only. Moreover, dark calcification rates were more adversely affected by pCO2 increase in the presence of grazers. Through their feeding activity, grazers may alter the structural integrity of thalli and increase the sensitivity of coralline algae to ocean acidification. Our results indicate that both season and grazing play a key role in the response of L. corallioides to acidification and warming. Seasonal variations and species interactions are thus critical to consider to make ecologically relevant predictions of the effects of future environmental changes.

Continue reading ‘Grazers increase the sensitivity of coralline algae to ocean acidification and warming’

Varying conditions in intertidal pools: high resolution pH dynamics and primary production

Most studies designed to assess the effects of ocean acidification take place in coastal and intertidal environments, which are characterized by a great variability of its physical and chemical parameters. However, a great number of these studies use fixed pH levels predicted for the future, disregarding natural pH oscillations. In this work we studied the pH oscillations and primary productivity of intertidal rockpools in two rocky shore areas. To provide high resolution continuous pH data we used an autonomous pH measuring system which consisted of a pH sensor, a data logger and a battery encased in a waterproof container. Oxygen concentration and primary production from phytoplankton and macro- phytobentos were also measured. We found a range of pH variation in the pools of 0.07 pH units/day when water dynamics was high and of 0.26 pH units/day when conditions were more stable. Carbonate systems parameters, temperature and oxygen concentration were related and they responded to the day / night cycle and hydrodynamic conditions. We suggest that these natural oscillations in pH and temperature must be taken into account in ocean acidifications studies in order to obtain more accurate results.

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Direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 are revealed through shifts in phytoplankton, copepod development, and fatty acid accumulation

Change in the nutritional quality of phytoplankton is a key mechanism through which ocean acidification can affect the function of marine ecosystems. Copepods play an important role transferring energy from phytoplankton to higher trophic levels, including fatty acids (FA)—essential macronutrients synthesized by primary producers that can limit zooplankton and fisheries production. We investigated the direct effects of pCO2 on phytoplankton and copepods in the laboratory, as well as the trophic transfer of effects of pCO2 on food quality. The marine cryptophyte Rhodomonas salina was cultured at 400, 800, and 1200 μatm pCO2 and fed to adult Acartia hudsonica acclimated to the same pCO2 levels. We examined changes in phytoplankton growth rate, cell size, carbon content, and FA content, and copepod FA content, grazing, respiration, egg production, hatching, and naupliar development. This single-factor experiment was repeated at 12°C and at 17°C. At 17°C, the FA content of R. salina responded non-linearly to elevated pCO2 with the greatest FA content at intermediate levels, which was mirrored in A. hudsonica; however, differences in ingestion rate indicate that copepods accumulated FA less efficiently at elevated pCO2. A. hudsonica nauplii developed faster at elevated pCO2 at 12°C in the absence of strong food quality effects, but not at 17°C when food quality varied among treatments. Our results demonstrate that changes to the nutritional quality of phytoplankton are not directly translated to their grazers, and that studies that include trophic links are key to unraveling how ocean acidification will drive changes in marine food webs.

Continue reading ‘Direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 are revealed through shifts in phytoplankton, copepod development, and fatty acid accumulation’

The physiological response of marine diatoms to ocean acidification: differential roles of seawater pCO2 and pH

Although increasing the pCO2 for diatoms will presumably down‐regulate the CO2‐concentrating mechanism (CCM) to save energy for growth, different species have been reported to respond differently to ocean acidification (OA). To better understand their growth responses to OA, we acclimated the diatoms Thalassiosira pseudonana, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and Chaetoceros muelleri to ambient (pCO2 400 μatm, pH 8.1), carbonated (pCO2 800 μatm, pH 8.1), acidified (pCO2 400 μatm, pH 7.8), and OA (pCO2 800 μatm, pH 7.8) conditions and investigated how seawater pCO2 and pH affect their CCMs, photosynthesis, and respiration both individually and jointly. In all three diatoms, carbonation down‐regulated the CCMs, while acidification increased both the photosynthetic carbon fixation rate and the fraction of CO2 as the inorganic carbon source. The positive OA effect on photosynthetic carbon fixation was more pronounced in C. muelleri, which had a relatively lower photosynthetic affinity for CO2, than in either T. pseudonana or P. tricornutum. In response to OA, T. pseudonana increased respiration for active disposal of H+ to maintain its intracellular pH, whereas P. tricornutum and C. muelleri retained their respiration rate but lowered the intracellular pH to maintain the cross‐membrane electrochemical gradient for H+ efflux. As the net result of changes in photosynthesis and respiration, growth enhancement to OA of the three diatoms followed the order of C. muelleri > P. tricornutum > T. pseudonana. This study demonstrates that elucidating the separate and joint impacts of increased pCO2 and decreased pH aids the mechanistic understanding of OA effects on diatoms in the future, acidified oceans.

Continue reading ‘The physiological response of marine diatoms to ocean acidification: differential roles of seawater pCO2 and pH’

Ocean warming drives decline in coral metabolism while acidification highlights species-specific responses

Ocean warming and acidification can have negative implications on coral reefs. This mechanistic study aims to evaluate the proximal causes of the observed negative response of Hawaiian corals to climate change scenarios. Net calcification (Gnet), gross photosynthesis, and dark respiration were measured in three species of Hawaiian corals across a range of temperature and acidification regimes using endpoint incubations. Calcification rates showed a curvilinear response with temperature, with the highest calcification rates observed at 26°C. Coral response to ocean acidification (OA) was species dependent and highly variable. OA enhanced calcification rates by 45% in the perforate coral, Montipora capitata, but had no short-term effect on the calcification or photosynthetic rates of imperforate corals, Pocillopora damicornis or Leptastrea purpurea. Further investigations revealed M. capitata to effectively dissipate protons (H+) while increasing uptake of bicarbonate (HCO−3), therefore maintaining high rates of Gnet under acute OA stress. This study demonstrates the first experimental evidence of the ability of a coral species to take advantage of increased dissolved inorganic carbon and overcome an increasing proton gradient in the boundary layer under OA conditions. These observed differences in coral metabolism may underlie the species-specific responses to climate change.

Continue reading ‘Ocean warming drives decline in coral metabolism while acidification highlights species-specific responses’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book