Posts Tagged 'respiration'

Environmental stability and phenotypic plasticity benefit the cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus in an acidified fjord

The stratified Chilean Comau Fjord sustains a dense population of the cold-water coral (CWC) Desmophyllum dianthus in aragonite supersaturated shallow and aragonite undersaturated deep water. This provides a rare opportunity to evaluate CWC fitness trade-offs in response to physico-chemical drivers and their variability. Here, we combined year-long reciprocal transplantation experiments along natural oceanographic gradients with an in situ assessment of CWC fitness. Following transplantation, corals acclimated fast to the novel environment with no discernible difference between native and novel (i.e. cross-transplanted) corals, demonstrating high phenotypic plasticity. Surprisingly, corals exposed to lowest aragonite saturation (Ωarag < 1) and temperature (T < 12.0 °C), but stable environmental conditions, at the deep station grew fastest and expressed the fittest phenotype. We found an inverse relationship between CWC fitness and environmental variability and propose to consider the high frequency fluctuations of abiotic and biotic factors to better predict the future of CWCs in a changing ocean.

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Physiological response to seawater pH of the bivalve Abra alba, a benthic ecosystem engineer, is modulated by low pH

Highlights

  • Ocean acidification reduces fitness and condition of a benthic ecosystem engineer.
  • Degree of acidification determines the presence of effects.
  • Ocean acidification decreased the energy intake of Abra alba.
  • Physiological response resulted in higher metabolic losses through increased excretion rates.
  • Physiological changes of benthic engineers likely induce cascading effects on the ecosystem.

Abstract

The presence and behaviour of bivalves can affect the functioning of seafloor sediments through the irrigation of deeper strata by feeding and respiring through siphonal channels. Here, we investigated the physiological response and consecutive impact on functioning and body condition of the white furrow shell Abra alba in three pH treatments (pH = 8.2, pH = 7.9 and pH = 7.7). Although no pH effect on survival was found, lowered respiration and calcification rates, decreased energy intake (lower absorption rate) and increased metabolic losses (increased excretion rates) occurred at pH ∼ 7.7. These physiological responses resulted in a negative Scope for Growth and a decreased condition index at this pH. This suggests that the physiological changes may not be sufficient to sustain survival in the long term, which would undoubtedly translate into consequences for ecosystem functioning.

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Effects of elevated pCO2 and temperature on the calcification rate, survival, extrapallial fluid chemistry, and respiration of the Atlantic sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus

Anthropogenic CO2-emission is causing ocean warming and acidification. Understanding how basic physiological processes of marine organisms respond to these stressors is important for predicting their responses to future global change. We examined the effects of elevated pCO2 and temperature (pCO2 = 344–2199 ppm; temperature = 6°C, 9°C, and 12°C) on the calcification rate, extrapallial fluid (EPF) carbonate chemistry, respiration, and survivorship of Atlantic sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus) in a fully crossed 143-d experiment. Rates of calcification and respiration were inhibited by elevated pCO2, and mortality occurred when elevated pCO2 was accompanied by high-temperature stress. Declines in growth and survivorship were likely caused by external shell dissolution, thermal stress, and hypercapnic reduction of metabolism under elevated pCO2. Concentrations of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity in the EPF increased above seawater concentrations in response to elevated pCO2. EPF pH declined, but did not decline as much as seawater pH, indicating that scallops regulate EPF pH to support calcification. The combination of EPF pH regulation and DIC elevation yielded an increase in EPF [CO2−3] under elevated pCO2 treatments. The combination of low respiration rates, high EPF [CO2−3], and low calcification rates under elevated pCO2 suggests that the impaired calcification arises more from hypercapnic inhibition of metabolic activity and external shell dissolution than from chemically unfavorable conditions in the EPF. These results demonstrate the importance of EPF chemistry for bivalve biomineralization, but show that regulation efforts are insufficient to fully offset the deleterious effects of elevated pCO2 on scallop performance.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated pCO2 and temperature on the calcification rate, survival, extrapallial fluid chemistry, and respiration of the Atlantic sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus’

Pelagic and ice-associated microalgae under elevated light and pCO2: contrasting physiological strategies in two Arctic diatoms

Sea ice retreat, changing stratification, and ocean acidification are fundamentally changing the light availability and physico-chemical conditions for primary producers in the Arctic Ocean. However, detailed studies on ecophysiological strategies and performance of key species in the pelagic and ice-associated habitat remain scarce. Therefore, we investigated the acclimated responses of the diatoms Thalassiosira hyalina and Melosira arctica toward elevated irradiance and CO2 partial pressures (pCO2). Next to growth, elemental composition, and biomass production, we assessed detailed photophysiological responses through fluorometry and gas-flux measurements, including respiration and carbon acquisition. In the pelagic T. hyalina, growth rates remained high in all treatments and biomass production increased strongly with light. Even under low irradiances cells maintained a high-light acclimated state, allowing them to opportunistically utilize high irradiances by means of a highly plastic photosynthetic machinery and carbon uptake. The ice-associated M. arctica proved to be less plastic and more specialized on low-light. Its acclimation to high irradiances was characterized by minimizing photon harvest and photosynthetic efficiency, which led to lowered growth. Comparably low growth rates and strong silification advocate a strategy of persistence rather than of fast proliferation, which is also in line with the observed formation of resting stages under low-light conditions. In both species, responses to elevated pCO2 were comparably minor. Although both diatom species persisted under the applied conditions, their competitive abilities and strategies differ strongly. With the anticipated extension of Arctic pelagic habitats, flexible high-light specialists like T. hyalina seem to face a brighter future.

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Impact of lowered pH on the morphological, physiological, and microbial community composition of the temperate calcareous sponge, Grantia sp.

Global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂) concentrations have been increasing at unprecedented rates since the industrial revolution. The ocean has been acting as a buffer, absorbing CO₂, resulting in rising sea temperature (ocean warming; OW) and lowering its pH (ocean acidification; OA). OA is known to cause reductions in the calcification rates of marine calcifiers, resulting in dissolution of calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. Sponges have important functional and structural roles in marine ecosystems and there is some evidence to suggest that sponges may be “winners” under future ocean climate conditions due to their high level of resilience to OA and OW and the increased availability of space as a result of reductions in more sensitive calcifying species. Although this may be the case for those sponges with skeletons made up of siliceous spicules, little is known about how calcareous sponges, with calcite spicules, may react to OA conditions. This thesis addresses a knowledge gap on how temperate calcareous sponges may respond to OA using Grantia sp. as a model species. A twenty-eight-day experiment with three control (pH 8.0) tanks and three OA (based on IPCC (RCP8.5); pH 7.6) tanks was used to measure changes in sponge size, spicule size, spicule deformation, respiration rate and microbial community structure. I found no signs of corrosion or significant change in area of sponges, however, there was a significant 25% reduction in the spicule size under the projected climate change OA “worst case scenario” conditions, a sign that sponge growth was impacted under stressful external pressure. How this reduction is spicule size will impact the sponge is still unknown. Respiration rates of sponges were not significantly different between the control or treatment sponges, and the microbiome of control and OA sponges did not significantly differ, but they did change significantly over time (T0 compared to T28 (final day of the experiment). The microbiome over time changed with increasing abundance of microbes known to have a role in nutrient cycling and assisting in marine host’s acclimation to new niches with varied environmental conditions. My results suggest that while the physiology of Grantia sp. is not significantly affected by low pH conditions consistent with those predicted for 2100 under worst case climate scenarios, spicules were impacted with treatment sponges having smaller spicules. The consequences and mechanisms resulting in smaller spicules need further investigation. Overall, this study provides evidence that like many demosponges, calcareous sponges may have some resilience to OA impacts.

Continue reading ‘Impact of lowered pH on the morphological, physiological, and microbial community composition of the temperate calcareous sponge, Grantia sp.’

Ocean acidification elicits differential bleaching and gene expression patterns in larval reef coral Pocillopora damicornis under heat stress

Graphical abstract

Highlights

  • High temperature induced bleaching and settlement of Pocillopora damicornis larvae.
  • High pCO2 stimulated larval photosynthesis and mitigated symbiont loss at 33 °C.
  • Coral was far more transcriptionally responsive to heat stress than symbionts.
  • Transcriptomic signatures of compromised metabolism and tissue integrity in coral.
  • High pCO2 mediates bleaching and gene expression in P. damicornis larvae under heat.

Abstract

The successful dispersal of coral larvae is vital to the population replenishment and reef recovery and resilience. Despite that this critical early stage is susceptible to ocean warming and acidification, little is known about the responses of coral larvae to warming and acidification across different biological scales. This study explored the influences of elevated temperature (29 °C versus 33 °C) and pCO2 (500 μatm versus 1000 μatm) on brooded larvae of Pocillopora damicornis at the organismal, cellular and gene expression levels. Heat stress caused bleaching, depressed light-enhanced dark respiration, photosynthesis and autotrophy, whereas high pCO2 stimulated photosynthesis. Although survival was unaffected, larvae at 33 °C were ten-times more likely to settle than those at 29 °C, suggesting reduced capacity to disperse and differentiate suitable substrate. Remarkably, heat stress induced greater symbiont loss at ambient pCO2 than at high pCO2, while cell-specific pigment concentrations of symbionts at 33 °C increased twofold under ambient pCO2 relative to high pCO2, suggesting pCO2-dependent bleaching patterns. Considerable increases in activities of host antioxidants superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) at 33 °C indicated oxidative stress, whereas lipid peroxidation and caspase activities were contained, thereby restraining larval mortality at 33 °C. Furthermore, the coral host mounted stronger transcriptional responses than symbionts. High pCO2 stimulated host metabolic pathways, possibly because of the boosted algal productivity. In contrast, host metabolic processes and symbiont photosystem genes were downregulated at 33 °C. Interestingly, the upregulation of extracellular matrix genes and glycosaminoglycan degradation pathway at 33 °C was more evident under ambient pCO2 than high pCO2, suggesting compromised host tissue integrity that could have facilitated symbiont expulsion and bleaching. Our results provide insights into how coral larvae respond to warming and acidification at different levels of biological organization, and demonstrate that ocean acidification can mediate thermal bleaching and gene expression in coral larvae under heat stress.

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Synthesized effects of medium-term exposure to seawater acidification and microplastics on the physiology and energy budget of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus

Graphical abstract

Highlights

  • Ocean acidification (OA) inhibits most energy related physiological indexes in Mytilus coruscus.
  • OA stress impacts the energy budget of mussels.
  • The mussels are tolerant to Microplastics (MPs) by physiological regulation.
  • Interaction of OA and MPs on the mussels are found in terms of some physiological indexes but not scope for growth.

Abstract

Ocean acidification (OA) and microplastics (MPs) contamination are two results of human excises. In regions like estuarine areas, OA and MPs exposure are happening at the same time. The current research investigated the synthesized effects of OA and MPs exposure for a medium-term duration on the physiology and energy budget of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus. Mussels were treated by six combinations of three MPs levels (0, 10 and 1000 items L−1) × two pH levels (7.3, 8.1) for 21 d. As a result, under pH 7.3, clearance rate (CR), food absorption efficiency (AE), respiration rate (RR), and scope for growth (SFG) significantly decreased, while the fecal organic dry weight ratio (E) significantly increased. 1000 items L−1 MPs led to decrease of CR, E, SFG and increase of AE under pH 8.1. Interactive effects from combination of pH and MPs were found in terms of CR, AE, E and RR, but not for SFG of M. coruscus.

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Phototrophic sponge productivity may not be enhanced in a high CO2 world

Sponges are major components of benthic communities across the world and have been identified as potential “winners” on coral reefs in the face of global climate change as result of their tolerance to ocean warming and acidification (OA). Previous studies have also hypothesised that photosymbiont-containing sponges might have higher productivity under future OA conditions as a result of photosymbionts having increased access to CO2 and subsequently greater carbon production. Here we test this hypothesis for a widespread and abundant photosymbiont-containing sponge species Lamellodysidea herbacea at a CO2 seep in Papua New Guinea simulating OA conditions. We found seep sponges had relatively higher cyanobacterial abundance, chlorophyll concentrations and symbiont photosynthetic efficiency than non-seep sponges, and a three-fold higher sponge abundance at the seep site. However, while gross oxygen production was the same for seep and non-seep sponges, seep sponge dark respiration rates were higher and instantaneous photosynthesis: respiration (P:R) ratios were lower. We show that while photosymbiont containing sponges may not have increased productivity under OA, they are able to show flexibility in their relationships with microbes and offset increased metabolic costs associated with climate change associated stress.

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Long-term exposure to an extreme environment induces species-specific responses in corals’ photosynthesis and respiration rates

Extreme reef environments have become useful natural laboratories to investigate physiological specificities of species chronically exposed to future-like climatic conditions. The lagoon of Bouraké in New Caledonia (21°56′56.16′′ S; 125°59′36.82′′ E) is one of the only reef environments studied where the three main climatic stressors predicted to most severely impact corals occur. In this lagoon, temperatures, seawater pHT and dissolved oxygen chronically fluctuate between extreme and close-to-normal values (17.5–33.85 °C, 7.23–7.92 pHT units and 1.87–7.24 mg O2 L−1, respectively). In March 2020, the endosymbiont functions (chl a, cell density and photosynthesis) and respiration rates were investigated in seven coral species from this lagoon and compared with those of corals from an adjacent reference site using hour-long incubations mimicking present-day and future conditions. Corals originating from Bouraké displayed significant differences in these variables compared to reference corals, but these differences were species-specific. Photosynthetic rates of Bouraké corals were all significantly lower than those of reference corals but were partially compensated by higher chlorophyll contents. Respiration rates of the Bouraké corals were either lower or comparable to those of reference corals. Conversely, photosynthesis and respiration rates of most studied species were similar regardless of the incubation conditions, which mimicked either present-day or future conditions. This study supports previous work indicating that no unique response can explain corals’ tolerance to sub-optimal conditions and that a variety of mechanisms will be at play for corals in a changing world.

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The potential of kelp Saccharina japonica in shielding Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas from elevated seawater pCO2 stress

Ocean acidification (OA) caused by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration is predicted to have negative impacts on marine bivalves in aquaculture. However, to date, most of our knowledge is derived from short-term laboratory-based experiments, which are difficult to scale to real-world production. Therefore, field experiments, such as this study, are critical for improving ecological relevance. Due to the ability of seaweed to absorb dissolved carbon dioxide from the surrounding seawater through photosynthesis, seaweed has gained theoretical attention as a potential partner of bivalves in integrated aquaculture to help mitigate the adverse effects of OA. Consequently, this study investigates the impact of elevated pCO2 on the physiological responses of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas in the presence and absence of kelp (Saccharina japonica) using in situ mesocosms. For 30 days, mesocosms were exposed to six treatments, consisting of two pCO2 treatments (500 and 900 μatm) combined with three biotic treatments (oyster alone, kelp alone, and integrated kelp and oyster aquaculture). Results showed that the clearance rate (CR) and scope for growth (SfG) of C. gigas were significantly reduced by elevated pCO2, whereas respiration rates (MO2) and ammonium excretion rates (ER) were significantly increased. However, food absorption efficiency (AE) was not significantly affected by elevated pCO2. The presence of S. japonica changed the daytime pHNBS of experimental units by ~0.16 units in the elevated pCO2 treatment. As a consequence, CR and SfG significantly increased and MO2 and ER decreased compared to C. gigas exposed to elevated pCO2 without S. japonica. These findings indicate that the presence of S. japonica in integrated aquaculture may help shield C. gigas from the negative effects of elevated seawater pCO2.

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Natural analogues in pH variability and predictability across the coastal Pacific estuaries: extrapolation of the increased oyster dissolution under increased pH amplitude and low predictability related to ocean acidification

Coastal-estuarine habitats are rapidly changing due to global climate change, with impacts influenced by the variability of carbonate chemistry conditions. However, our understanding of the responses of ecologically and economically important calcifiers to pH variability and temporal variation is limited, particularly with respect to shell-building processes. We investigated the mechanisms driving biomineralogical and physiological responses in juveniles of introduced (Pacific; Crassostrea gigas) and native (Olympia; Ostrea lurida) oysters under flow-through experimental conditions over a six-week period that simulate current and future conditions: static control and low pH (8.0 and 7.7); low pH with fluctuating (24-h) amplitude (7.7 ± 0.2 and 7.7 ± 0.5); and high-frequency (12-h) fluctuating (8.0 ± 0.2) treatment. The oysters showed physiological tolerance in vital processes, including calcification, respiration, clearance, and survival. However, shell dissolution significantly increased with larger amplitudes of pH variability compared to static pH conditions, attributable to the longer cumulative exposure to lower pH conditions, with the dissolution threshold of pH 7.7 with 0.2 amplitude. Moreover, the high-frequency treatment triggered significantly greater dissolution, likely because of the oyster’s inability to respond to the unpredictable frequency of variations. The experimental findings were extrapolated to provide context for conditions existing in several Pacific coastal estuaries, with time series analyses demonstrating unique signatures of pH predictability and variability in these habitats, indicating potentially benefiting effects on fitness in these habitats. These implications are crucial for evaluating the suitability of coastal habitats for aquaculture, adaptation, and carbon dioxide removal strategies.

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Effects of seawater pCO2 on the skeletal morphology of massive Porites spp. corals

Ocean acidification alters the dissolved inorganic carbon chemistry of seawater and can reduce the calcification rates of tropical corals. Here we explore the effect of altering seawater pCO2 on the skeletal morphology of 4 genotypes of massive Porites spp. which display widely different calcification rates. Increasing seawater pCO2 causes significant changes in in the skeletal morphology of all Porites spp. studied regardless of whether or not calcification was significantly affected by seawater pCO2. Both the median calyx size and the proportion of skeletal surface occupied by the calices decreased significantly at 750 µatm compared to 400 µatm indicating that polyp size shrinks in this genus in response to ocean acidification. The coenosteum, connecting calices, expands to occupy a larger proportion of the coral surface to compensate for this decrease in calyx area. At high seawater pCO2 the spines deposited at the skeletal surface became more numerous and the trabeculae (vertical skeletal pillars) became significantly thinner in 2 of the 4 genotypes. The effect of high seawater pCO2 is most pronounced in the fastest growing coral and the regular placement of trabeculae and synapticulae is disturbed in this genotype resulting in a skeleton that is more randomly organised. The study demonstrates that ocean acidification decreases the polyp size and fundamentally alters the architecture of the skeleton in this major reef building species from the Indo-Pacific Ocean.

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Coral calcification mechanisms in a warming ocean and the interactive effects of temperature and light

Ocean warming is transforming the world’s coral reefs, which are governed by the growth of marine calcifiers, most notably branching corals. Critical to skeletal growth is the corals’ regulation of their internal chemistry to promote calcification. Here we investigate the effects of temperature and light on the calcifying fluid chemistry (using boron isotope systematics), calcification rates, metabolic rates and photo-physiology of Acropora nasuta during two mesocosm experiments simulating seasonal and static temperature and light regimes. Under the seasonal regime, coral calcification rates, calcifying fluid carbonate chemistry, photo-physiology and metabolic productivity responded to both changes in temperature and light. However, under static conditions the artificially prolonged exposure to summer temperatures resulted in heat stress and a heightened sensitivity to light. Our results indicate that temperature and light effects on coral physiology and calcification mechanisms are interactive and context-specific, making it essential to conduct realistic multi-variate dynamic experiments in order to predict how coral calcification will respond to ocean warming.

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The combined effects of ocean acidification and copper on the physiological responses of the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata

Highlights

  • Exposure to increased Cu concentrations suppressed coral calcification.
  • Calcification was suppressed further when exposed to Cu under high pCO2.
  • Respiration decreased after two weeks when stressors were applied in combination.

Abstract

A decrease in ocean pH of 0.3 units will likely double the proportion of dissolved copper (Cu) present as the free metal ion, Cu2+, the most bioavailable form of Cu, and one of the most common marine pollutants. We assess the impact of ocean acidification and Cu, separately and in combination, on calcification, photosynthesis and respiration of sub-colonies of a single tropical Stylophora pistillata colony. After 15 days of treatment, total calcification rates were significantly decreased in corals exposed to high seawater pCO2 (∼1000-μatm, 2100 scenario) and at both ambient (1.6–1.9 nmols) and high (2.5–3.6 nmols) dissolved Cu concentrations compared to controls. The effect was increased when both stressors were combined. Coral respiration rates were significantly reduced by the combined stressors after 2 weeks of exposure, indicating the importance of experiment duration. It is therefore likely rising atmospheric CO2 will exacerbate the negative effects of Cu pollution to S. pistillata.

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Response of Cymodocea nodosa to ocean acidification and warming in the Canary Islands: direct and indirect effects

Hightlights

  • Ocean acidification increase growth and gross primary production of Cymodocea nodosa.
  • The rise of temperature limited the net and gross primary production of Cymodocea nodosa.
  • A positive effect of decrased pH on greater vulnerability to consumption by Paracentrotus lividus.
  • A future scenario of climate change will affect metabolic rates of C.nodosa.
  • Different responses to climate change have been observed by C. nodosa from Canary Islands.

Abstract

As detected in warming and ocean acidification, global change can have profound impact on marine life. Its effects on seagrasses are becoming increasingly well-known, since several studies have focused on the responses of these species to global change conditions. However a few studies have assessed the combined effect of temperature and acidification on seagrasses. Overall in this study, the combined effects of increased ocean temperature and pH levels expected at the end of this century (+5 °C and pH 7.5) on Cymodocea nodosa from Canary Islands, were evaluated for one month through manipulative laboratory experiments. Growth, net production, respiration, gross primary production, chlorophyll-a concentration and its vulnerability to herbivory were quantified. Results showed a positive effect of decreased pH on growth and gross primary production, as well as greater vulnerability to consumption by the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. In contrast, increased temperature limited net and gross primary production. This study shows than in future scenarios, C. nodosa from the Canary Islands may be a losing species in the global change stakes.

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Temperature effects on leaf and epiphyte photosynthesis, bicarbonate use and diel O2 budgets of the seagrass Zostera marina L.

Ocean warming along with nutrient enrichment are major stressors causing global seagrass decline. While the effects of global warming on metabolic parameters in seagrasses are well described, the effect of increasing temperature on the epiphytic overgrowth of seagrass leaves and the consequences for the seagrass plant are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the effects of elevating temperature on the photosynthetic efficiency of the seagrass species Zostera marina L. and its associated epiphytes, to explore how ocean warming might affect epiphytism in seagrasses. Gas exchange and final pH measurements on bare seagrass leaves, leaves with epiphytes, and epiphytes separated from seagrass leaves were used to quantify photosynthesis and respiration rates, and the inorganic carbon extraction capacity of leaves and epiphytes as a function of photon scalar irradiance and temperature (12, 17, 22, and 27°C). Seagrass without epiphytic biofilm had a high ability to exploit the incoming irradiance regardless of the light intensity and temperature, shown as continuously high light use efficiency and maximum net photosynthesis rates. The presence of epiphytic biofilm on the seagrass leaves impaired plant photosynthesis by increasing light requirements and reducing the photosynthetic efficiency (especially at 27°C). Epiphytes showed the lowest respiration rates in darkness and had the highest oxygen surplus over diel cycles up to 22°C, whereas bare leaves had the highest diel oxygen surplus at 27°C. Both bare leaves and epiphytes lost the ability to utilize bicarbonate at 27°C, and epiphytes also did not show use of bicarbonate at 12°C. Our results indicate a competitive advantage for epiphytes in cold CO2-rich environments, whereas seagrass with bare leaves could be less affected under elevated seawater temperatures.

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Physiological acclimatization in Hawaiian corals following a 22-month shift in baseline seawater temperature and pH

Climate change poses a major threat to coral reefs. We conducted an outdoor 22-month experiment to investigate if coral could not just survive, but also physiologically cope, with chronic ocean warming and acidification conditions expected later this century under the Paris Climate Agreement. We recorded survivorship and measured eleven phenotypic traits to evaluate the holobiont responses of Hawaiian coral: color, Symbiodiniaceae density, calcification, photosynthesis, respiration, total organic carbon flux, carbon budget, biomass, lipids, protein, and maximum Artemia capture rate. Survivorship was lowest in Montipora capitata and only some survivors were able to meet metabolic demand and physiologically cope with future ocean conditions. Most M. capitata survivors bleached through loss of chlorophyll pigments and simultaneously experienced increased respiration rates and negative carbon budgets due to a 236% increase in total organic carbon losses under combined future ocean conditions. Porites compressa and Porites lobata had the highest survivorship and coped well under future ocean conditions with positive calcification and increased biomass, maintenance of lipids, and the capacity to exceed their metabolic demand through photosynthesis and heterotrophy. Thus, our findings show that significant biological diversity within resilient corals like Porites, and some genotypes of sensitive species, will persist this century provided atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are controlled. Since Porites corals are ubiquitous throughout the world’s oceans and often major reef builders, the persistence of this resilient genus provides hope for future reef ecosystem function globally.

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Coupled changes in pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen impact the physiology and ecology of herbivorous kelp forest grazers

Understanding species’ responses to upwelling may be especially important in light of ongoing environmental change. Upwelling frequency and intensity are expected to increase in the future, while ocean acidification and deoxygenation are expected to decrease the pH and dissolved oxygen of upwelled waters. However, the acute effects of a single upwelling event and the integrated effects of multiple upwelling events on marine organisms are poorly understood. Here, we use in situ measurements of pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen to characterize the covariance of environmental conditions within upwelling-dominated kelp forest ecosystems. We then test the effects of acute (0-3 days) and chronic (1-3 month) upwelling on the performance of two species of kelp forest grazers, the echinoderm, Mesocentrotus franciscanus, and the gastropod, Promartynia pulligo. We exposed organisms to static conditions in a regression design to determine the shape of the relationship between upwelling and performance and provide insights into the potential effects in a variable environment. We found that respiration, grazing, growth, and net calcification decline linearly with increasing upwelling intensity for M. francicanus over both acute and chronic timescales. Promartynia pulligo exhibited decreased respiration, grazing, and net calcification with increased upwelling intensity after chronic exposure, but we did not detect an effect over acute timescales or on growth after chronic exposure. Given the highly correlated nature of pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen in the California Current, our results suggest the relationship between upwelling intensity and growth in the 3-month trial could potentially be used to estimate growth integrated over long-term dynamic oceanographic conditions for M. franciscanus. Together, these results indicate current exposure to upwelling may reduce species performance and predicted future increases in upwelling frequency and intensity could affect ecosystem function by modifying the ecological roles of key species.

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The impact of oyster aquaculture on the estuarine carbonate system

Many studies have examined the vulnerability of calcifying organisms, such as the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), to externally forced ocean acidification, but the opposite interaction whereby oysters alter their local carbonate conditions has received far less attention. We present an exploratory model for isolating the impact that net calcification and respiration of aquacultured eastern oysters can have on calcite and aragonite saturation states, in the context of varying temperature, ocean-estuary mixing, and air-sea gas exchange. We apply the model to the Damariscotta River Estuary in Maine which has experienced rapid expansion of oyster aquaculture in the last decade. Our model uses oyster shell growth over the summer season and a previously derived relationship between net calcification and respiration to quantify impacts of net oyster calcification and gross metabolism on carbonate saturation states in open tidal waters. Under 2018 industry size and climate conditions, we estimate that oysters can lower carbonate saturation states by up to 5% (i.e., 0.17 and 0.11 units on calcite and aragonite saturation states, respectively) per day in late summer, with an average of 3% over the growing season. Perturbations from temperature and air-sea exchange are similar in magnitude. Under 2050 climate conditions and 2018 industry size, calcite saturation state will decrease by up to an additional 0.54 units. If the industry expands 3-fold by 2050, the calcite and aragonite saturation states may decrease by 0.73 and 0.47 units, respectively, on average for the latter half of the growing season when compared to 2018 climate conditions and industry size. Collectively, our results indicate that dense aggregations of oysters can have a significant role on estuarine carbonate chemistry.

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Heterogeneous environmental seascape across a biogeographic break influences the thermal physiology and tolerances to ocean acidification in an ecosystem engineer

Aim

Understanding how spatio-temporal environmental variability influences stress tolerance, local adaptation and phenotypic variation among populations is a key challenge for evolutionary ecology and climate change biology. Coastal biogeographic breaks are natural laboratories to explore this fundamental research question due to the contrasting environmental conditions experienced by natural populations across these regions.

Location

In the South East Pacific (SEP) coast, a major break (30º-32ºS) is characterized by extreme natural variability in sea surface temperature (SST) and carbonate chemistry parameters related to temporal and spatial dynamics in upwelling events. Calcifying organisms inhibiting this zone are exposed to marked fluctuations and clines in SST that together with naturally acidified waters can impact their metabolism, calcification and fitness, making them particularly prone to the effects of climate change (e.g. ocean acidification, OA). We investigated to what extent the spatial and temporal environmental variability (in SST and seawater carbonate conditions) that characterizes the biogeographic break in the SEP influences intra-specific differences in the thermal ecology and the tolerances to OA of the limpet Scurria araucana.

Methods

During two years, we conducted field surveys of limpet populations at sites across the SEP break (27ºS, 30ºS and 32ºS). We collected individuals from each population to test for geographic differences in morphometric (e.g. total buoyancy weight, shell length) and physiological (e.g. oxygen consumption rate, cardiac activity and thermal performance curves; TPC) responses to local environmental conditions (Tº and pH/pCO2) and to simulated OA scenarios.

Results

Populations of SAraucana exhibit high tolerance to OA with no signal of geographic influence on this attribute. However, inter-population differences in thermal physiology (metabolic rates and performances) were found across the biogeographic break in the SEP coast. Limpets from the central part of the break (30ºS) exhibit higher thermal performance compared to limpets from populations at both sides of the break.

Main conclusions

Variation in SST has a greater effect shaping inter-population differences in thermal physiology of the limpet Saraucana. These physiological differences are aligned the thermal heterogenous seascape along the biogeographic break in the SEP. Contrarily, temporal and spatial variation in seawater carbonate conditions does not influence inter-population differences in phenotypic response populations, but an overall high tolerance to OA.

Continue reading ‘Heterogeneous environmental seascape across a biogeographic break influences the thermal physiology and tolerances to ocean acidification in an ecosystem engineer’

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