Posts Tagged 'respiration'

Carbonate dissolution by reef microbial borers: a biogeological process producing alkalinity under different pCO2 conditions

Rising atmospheric CO2 is acidifying the world’s oceans, affecting both calcification and dissolution processes in coral reefs. Among processes, carbonate dissolution by bioeroding microflora has been overlooked, and especially its impact on seawater alkalinity. To date, this biogeological process has only been studied using microscopy or buoyant weight techniques. To better understand its possible effect on seawater alkalinity, and thus on reef carbonate budget, an experiment was conducted under various seawater chemistry conditions (2 ≤ Ωarag ≤ 3.5 corresponding to 440 ≤ pCO2 (µatm) ≤ 940) at 25 °C under night and daylight (200 µmol photons m−2 s−1) with natural microboring communities colonizing dead coral blocks (New Caledonia). Both the alkalinity anomaly technique and microscopy methods were used to study the activity of those communities dominated by the chlorophyte Ostreobium sp. Results show that (1) the amount of alkalinity released in seawater by such communities is significant and varies between 12.8 ± 0.7 at ΩArag ~ 2 and 5.6 ± 0.4 mmol CaCO3 m−2 day−1 at ΩArag ~ 3–3.5 considering a 12:12 photoperiod; (2) although dissolution is higher at night (~ 80 vs. 20% during daylight), the process can occur under significant photosynthetic activity; and (3) the process is greatly stimulated when an acidity threshold is reached (pCO2 ≥ 920 µatm vs. current conditions at constant light intensity). We show that carbonate dissolution by microborers is a major biogeochemical process that could dissolve a large part of the carbonates deposited by calcifying organisms under ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Carbonate dissolution by reef microbial borers: a biogeological process producing alkalinity under different pCO2 conditions’

Elevated CO2 leads to enhanced photosynthesis but decreased growth in early life stages of reef building coralline algae

Crustose coralline algae (CCA) are key organisms in coral reef ecosystems, where they contribute to reef building and substrate stabilization. While ocean acidification due to increasing CO2 can affect the biology, physiology and ecology of fully developed CCA, the impacts of elevated CO2 on the early life stages of CCA are much less explored. We assessed the photosynthetic activity and growth of 10-day-old recruits of the reef-building crustose coralline alga Porolithon cf. onkodes exposed to ambient and enhanced CO2 seawater concentration causing a downward shift in pH of ∼0.3 units. Growth of the CCA was estimated using measurements of crust thickness and marginal expansion, while photosynthetic activity was studied with O2 microsensors. We found that elevated seawater CO2 enhanced gross photosynthesis and respiration, but significantly reduced vertical and marginal growth of the early life stages of P. cf. onkodes. Elevated CO2 stimulated photosynthesis, particularly at high irradiance, likely due to increased availability of CO2, but this increase did not translate into increased algal growth as expected, suggesting a decoupling of these two processes under ocean acidification scenarios. This study confirms the sensitivity of early stages of CCA to elevated CO2 and identifies complexities in the physiological processes underlying the decreased growth and abundance in these important coral reef builders upon ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Elevated CO2 leads to enhanced photosynthesis but decreased growth in early life stages of reef building coralline algae’

Impact of increased seawater pCO2 on the host and symbiotic algae of juvenile giant clam Tridacna crocea

Increases in atmospheric CO2 cause decreases in calcium carbonate saturation, which is predicted to affect the calcification process of most marine calcifiers. At the same time, the increase of seawater pCO2 is also known to increase the productivity of primary producers. Giant clams host symbiotic dinoflagellates (‘zooxanthellae’: Symbiodinium spp.) that provide nutrition and use CO2 as their primary source for photosynthesis. This leads to the hypothesis that increased seawater pCO2 rise could positively affect the production of giant clam zooxanthellae, and dampen effects of CO2 on host giant clams. To test this hypothesis, we measured the shell growth rate, photosynthesis rate, respiration rate and zooxanthellae density of the juvenile Tridacna crocea reared under three different pCO2 conditions. Results revealed that negative shell growth of juvenile Tridacna crocea was observed once seawater Ωarag reached less than 2.33. Additionally, although zooxanthellae density in T. crocea increased with seawater pCO2 rise, zooxanthellae productivity did not change, suggesting that the productivity per zooxanthella decreased in high pCO2 seawater. Our findings suggest future seawater pCO2 rise will not increase productivity of zooxanthellae, thus giant clam will be negatively impacted in the coming centuries.

Continue reading ‘Impact of increased seawater pCO2 on the host and symbiotic algae of juvenile giant clam Tridacna crocea’

Climate change effects on copepod physiology and trophic transfer

Increased anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have led to an increasingly acidified ocean and higher average global sea surface temperatures. This alteration of abiotic conditions is directly affecting aquatic organisms through physiological stress and indirectly through reductions in trophic transfer efficiency. Less efficient trophic transfer at the base of the food web would reduce the overall energy available to support higher trophic levels and could be detrimental to the dependent ecosystem. Estuarine ecosystems are subject to harmful algal blooms (HABs). They are also characterized by low species diversity, which lowers ecosystem resilience to environmental perturbations. This results in a system where changes in phytoplankton and their consumers can dramatically impact the health of the local community. Increased temperature and pCO2 are predicted to change nutritional adequacy and/or toxicity of some HAB species and their copepod consumers. Interactions between Karlodinium veneficum, a HAB species present in the Delaware Inland Bays, and its consumer Acartia tonsa, a locally-dominant copepod, were used to assess direct changes to physiology and/or indirect changes to trophic transfer. Acartia tonsa, toxic prey K. veneficum, and non-toxic prey Storeatula major were grown in multi-generational laboratory cultures at both ambient conditions (25 °C/400 ppm pCO2) and those predicted for year 2100 (29 °C/ 1000 ppm pCO2). Physiological changes were assessed using grazing, respirometry, egg production, and egg hatching success. Grazing experiments indicated there was not a direct toxic effect of the prey on A. tonsa. Respiration rates did not change significantly at higher temperature and pCO2 values, indicating physiological compensation. Egg production did not significantly differ between treatments, but a significant reduction in egg hatching success was found when A. tonsa were fed exclusively K. veneficum. Significant reduction of egg production and hatching also occurred as a result of higher temperature and pCO2. Significant reductions in efficiency of carbon transfer from prey to consumer offspring were found when A. tonsa ingested K. veneficum, and when A. tonsa ingested S. major at elevated temperature and pCO2. In summary, A. tonsa acclimated to the elevated pCO2 and temperature conditions, but changes in resource partitioning led to a lowered transfer of carbon to their offspring. Ingestion of K. veneficum also led to a lowered trophic transfer efficiency, irrespective of temperature and pCO2 level. This indicates that both HABs and increased temperature and pCO2 from climate change have the potential to alter ecosystem dynamics by reducing trophic transfer efficiency at the base of the food chain.

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In-situ incubation of a coral patch for community-scale assessment of metabolic and chemical processes on a reef slope

Anthropogenic pressures threaten the health of coral reefs globally. Some of these pressures directly affect coral functioning, while others are indirect, for example by promoting the capacity of bioeroders to dissolve coral aragonite. To assess the coral reef status, it is necessary to validate community-scale measurements of metabolic and geochemical processes in the field, by determining fluxes from enclosed coral reef patches. Here, we investigate diurnal trends of carbonate chemistry, dissolved organic carbon, oxygen, and nutrients on a 20 m deep coral reef patch offshore from the island of Saba, Dutch Caribbean by means of tent incubations. The obtained trends are related to benthic carbon fluxes by quantifying net community calcification (NCC) and net community production (NCP). The relatively strong currents and swell-induced near-bottom surge at this location caused minor seawater exchange between the incubated reef and ambient water. Employing a compensating interpretive model, the exchange is used to our advantage as it maintains reasonably ventilated conditions, which conceivably prevents metabolic arrest during incubation periods of multiple hours. No diurnal trends in carbonate chemistry were detected and all net diurnal rates of production were strongly skewed towards respiration suggesting net heterotrophy in all incubations. The NCC inferred from our incubations ranges from −0.2 to 1.4 mmol CaCO3 m−2 h−1 (−0.2 to 1.2 kg CaCO3 m−2 year−1) and NCP varies from −9 to −21.7 mmol m−2 h−1 (net respiration). When comparing to the consensus-based ReefBudget approach, the estimated NCC rate for the incubated full planar area (0.36 kg CaCO3 m−2 year−1) was lower, but still within range of the different NCC inferred from our incubations. Field trials indicate that the tent-based incubation as presented here, coupled with an appropriate interpretive model, is an effective tool to investigate, in situ, the state of coral reef patches even when located in a relatively hydrodynamic environment.

Continue reading ‘In-situ incubation of a coral patch for community-scale assessment of metabolic and chemical processes on a reef slope’

Aerobic capacities and swimming performance of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) under ocean acidification and warming conditions

Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) is an important prey species in the Arctic ecosystem, yet its habitat is changing rapidly: climate change, through rising seawater temperatures and CO2 concentrations, is projected to be most pronounced in Arctic waters. This study aimed to investigate the influence of ocean acidification and warming on maximum performance parameters of B. saida as indicators for the species’ acclimation capacities under environmental conditions projected for the end of this century. After 4 months at four acclimation temperatures (0, 3, 6, 8°C) each combined with two PCO2 levels (390 and 1170 µatm), aerobic capacities and swimming performance of B. saida were recorded following a Ucrit protocol. At both CO2 levels, standard metabolic rate (SMR) was elevated at the highest acclimation temperature indicating thermal limitations. Maximum metabolic rate (MMR) increased continuously with temperature, suggesting an optimum temperature for aerobic scope for exercise (ASex) at 6°C. Aerobic swimming performance (Ugait) increased with acclimation temperature irrespective of CO2 levels, while critical swimming speed (Ucrit) did not reveal any clear trend with temperature. Hypercapnia evoked an increase in MMR (and thereby ASex). However, swimming performance (both Ugait and Ucrit) was impaired under elevated near-future PCO2 conditions, indicating reduced efficiencies of oxygen turnover. The contribution of anaerobic metabolism to swimming performance was very low overall, and further reduced under hypercapnia. Our results revealed high sensitivities of maximum performance parameters (MMR, Ugait, Ucrit) of B. saida to ocean acidification. Impaired swimming capacity under ocean acidification may reflect reduced future competitive strength of B. saida.

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Effects of oil and global environmental drivers on two keystone marine invertebrates

Ocean warming (OW) and acidification (OA) are key features of global change and are predicted to have negative consequences for marine species and ecosystems. At a smaller scale increasing oil and gas activities at northern high latitudes could lead to greater risk of petroleum pollution, potentially exacerbating the effects of such global stressors. However, knowledge of combined effects is limited. This study employed a scenario-based, collapsed design to investigate the impact of one local acute stressor (North Sea crude oil) and two chronic global drivers (pH for OA and temperature for OW), alone or in combination on aspects of the biology of larval stages of two key invertebrates: the northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis) and the green sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis). Both local and global drivers had negative effects on survival, development and growth of the larval stages. These effects were species- and stage-dependent. No statistical interactions were observed between local and global drivers and the combined effects of the two drivers were approximately equal to the sum of their separate effects. This study highlights the importance of adjusting regulation associated with oil spill prevention to maximize the resilience of marine organisms to predicted future global conditions.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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