Posts Tagged 'respiration'



Resilience of oxygen consumption rates in the juvenile blue crab Callinectes sapidus to future predicted increases in environmental temperature and pCO2 in the Mesohaline Chesapeake Bay

Quantifying the physiological impact of environmental stressors on living organisms is critical to predicting the response of any given species to future climate scenarios. Oxygen consumption rates (μmol/g/min) were measured to examine the physiological response of the juvenile blue crab Callinectes sapidus from the Chesapeake Bay (Patuxent River, Maryland) to elevated temperature and dissolved carbon dioxide in water (pCO2) reflective of projected future climate scenarios. Treatment levels were selected to represent current conditions in the Chesapeake Bay (26°C and 800 μatm) and conditions predicted to occur by the year 2100 (31°C and 8,000 μatm). Crabs were exposed in a factorial design to these conditions throughout two successive molts (approximately 30 days). At the end of the exposure, the oxygen consumption rates of individual crabs were determined over at least a 10-h period using a flow-through respiration chamber equipped with optical oxygen electrodes. No significant effect of temperature or pCO2 on oxygen consumption was observed, suggesting the absence of a respiratory impact of these two climate stressors on juvenile blue crabs. Oxygen consumption rates were also determined for crabs that experienced a rapid increase in temperature without prior acclimation. The oxygen consumption rate of crabs may have acclimated to increased temperature during the 30-day exposure period before respiratory measurement. This potential acclimation, combined with high individual variability, and a relatively small difference in temperature treatments are likely the cause for the lack of a statistically significant difference in mean oxygen consumption rates by temperature in the core experiment. The results of this study suggest that the blue crab may be quite resilient to future climate stressors and underscore the need for species-specific studies to quantify the effects of climate change on estuarine crustaceans.

Continue reading ‘Resilience of oxygen consumption rates in the juvenile blue crab Callinectes sapidus to future predicted increases in environmental temperature and pCO2 in the Mesohaline Chesapeake Bay’

Diatoms dominate and alter marine food-webs when CO2 rises

Diatoms are so important in ocean food-webs that any human induced changes in their abundance could have major effects on the ecology of our seas. The large chain-forming diatom Biddulphia biddulphiana greatly increases in abundance as pCO2 increases along natural seawater CO2 gradients in the north Pacific Ocean. In areas with reference levels of pCO2, it was hard to find, but as seawater carbon dioxide levels rose, it replaced seaweeds and became the main habitat-forming species on the seabed. This diatom algal turf supported a marine invertebrate community that was much less diverse and completely differed from the benthic communities found at present-day levels of pCO2. Seawater CO2 enrichment stimulated the growth and photosynthetic efficiency of benthic diatoms, but reduced the abundance of calcified grazers such as gastropods and sea urchins. These observations suggest that ocean acidification will shift photic zone community composition so that coastal food-web structure and ecosystem function are homogenised, simplified, and more strongly affected by seasonal algal blooms.

Continue reading ‘Diatoms dominate and alter marine food-webs when CO2 rises’

Zinc toxicity alters the photosynthetic response of red alga Pyropia yezoensis to ocean acidification

The globally changing environmental climate, ocean acidification, and heavy metal pollution are of increasing concern. However, studies investigating the combined effects of ocean acidification and zinc (Zn) exposure on macroalgae are very scarce. In this study, the photosynthetic performance of the red alga Pyropia yezoensis was examined under three different concentrations of Zn (control, 25 (medium), and 100 (high) μg L−1) and pCO2 (400 (ambient) and 1000 (high) μatm). The results showed that higher Zn concentrations resulted in increased toxicity for P. yezoensis, while ocean acidification alleviated this negative effect. Ocean acidification increased the relative growth rate of thalli under both medium and high Zn concentrations. The net photosynthetic rate and respiratory rate of thalli also significantly increased in response under ocean acidification, when thalli were cultured under both medium and high Zn concentrations. Malondialdehyde levels decreased under ocean acidification, compared to ambient CO2 conditions and either medium or high Zn concentrations. The activity of superoxide dismutase increased in response to high Zn concentrations, which was particularly apparent at high Zn concentration and ocean acidification. Immunoblotting tests showed that ocean acidification increased D1 removal, with increasing expression levels of the PSII reaction center proteins D2, CP47, and RbcL. These results suggested that ocean acidification could alleviate the damage caused by Zn exposure, thus providing a theoretical basis for a better prediction of the impact of global climate change and heavy metal contamination on marine primary productivity in the form of seaweeds.

Continue reading ‘Zinc toxicity alters the photosynthetic response of red alga Pyropia yezoensis to ocean acidification’

Combined effects of global climate change and nutrient enrichment on the physiology of three temperate maerl species

Made up of calcareous coralline algae, maerl beds play a major role as ecosystem engineers in coastal areas throughout the world. They undergo strong anthropogenic pressures, which may threaten their survival. The aim of this study was to gain insight into the future of maerl beds in the context of global and local changes. We examined the effects of rising temperatures (+3°C) and ocean acidification (−0.3 pH units) according to temperature and pH projections (i.e., the RCP 8.5 scenario), and nutrient (N and P) availability on three temperate maerl species (Lithothamnion corallioides, Phymatolithon calcareum, and Lithophyllum incrustans) in the laboratory in winter and summer conditions. Physiological rates of primary production, respiration, and calcification were measured on all three species in each treatment and season. The physiological response of maerl to global climate change was species‐specific and influenced by seawater nutrient concentrations. Future temperature–pH scenario enhanced maximal gross primary production rates in P. calcareum in winter and in L. corallioides in both seasons. Nevertheless, both species suffered an impairment of light harvesting and photoprotective mechanisms in winter. Calcification rates at ambient light intensity were negatively affected by the future temperature–pH scenario in winter, with net dissolution observed in the dark in L. corallioides and P. calcareum under low nutrient concentrations. Nutrient enrichment avoided dissolution under future scenarios in winter and had a positive effect on L. incrustans calcification rate in the dark in summer. In winter conditions, maximal calcification rates were enhanced by the future temperature–pH scenario on the three species, but P. calcareum suffered inhibition at high irradiances. In summer conditions, the maximal calcification rate dropped in L. corallioides under the future global climate change scenario, with a potential negative impact on CaCO3 budget for maerl beds in the Bay of Brest where this species is dominant. Our results highlight how local changes in nutrient availability or irradiance levels impact the response of maerl species to global climate change and thus point out how it is important to consider other abiotic parameters in order to develop management policies capable to increase the resilience of maerl beds under the future global climate change scenario.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of global climate change and nutrient enrichment on the physiology of three temperate maerl species’

Elevated CO2 and heatwave conditions affect the aerobic and swimming performance of juvenile Australasian snapper

As climate change advances, coastal marine ecosystems are predicted to experience increasingly frequent and intense heatwaves. At the same time, already variable CO2 levels in coastal habitats will be exacerbated by ocean acidification. High temperature and elevated CO2 levels can be stressful to marine organisms, especially during critical early life stages. Here, we used a fully cross-factored experiment to test the effects of simulated heatwave conditions (+ 4 °C) and elevated CO2 (1000 µatm) on the aerobic physiology and swimming performance of juvenile Australasian snapper, Chrysophrys auratus, an ecologically and economically important mesopredatory fish. Both elevated temperature and elevated CO2 increased resting metabolic rate of juvenile snapper, by 21–22% and 9–10%, respectively. By contrast, maximum metabolic rate was increased by elevated temperature (16–17%) and decreased by elevated CO2 (14–15%). The differential effects of elevated temperature and elevated CO2 on maximum metabolic rate resulted in aerobic scope being reduced only in the elevated CO2 treatment. Critical swimming speed also increased with elevated temperature and decreased with elevated CO2, matching the results for maximum metabolic rate. Periods of elevated CO2 already occur in the coastal habitats occupied by juvenile snapper, and these events will be exacerbated by ongoing ocean acidification. Our results show that elevated CO2 has a greater effect on metabolic rates and swimming performance than heatwave conditions for juvenile snapper, and could reduce their overall performance and potentially have negative consequences for population recruitment.

Continue reading ‘Elevated CO2 and heatwave conditions affect the aerobic and swimming performance of juvenile Australasian snapper’

Parental acclimation to future ocean conditions increases development rates but decreases survival in sea urchin larvae

Environmental conditions experienced by parents can have lasting effects on offspring. For some marine organisms, parental acclimation may attenuate the negative effects observed in offspring exposed to the same conditions. Here, development of the coral reef sea urchin Echinometra sp. A was examined in larvae derived from parents acclimated for 20 months in either present-day conditions or those predicted for the year 2100 (+ 2 °C/pH 7.8). Egg size was measured, and larval morphology, survival and respiration were quantified in larvae raised in present-day (26 °C/pH 8.1) and 2100 (28 °C/pH 7.8) treatments to near settlement to determine whether parental acclimation promotes greater resilience to climate change stressors. Although there was no difference in egg size, larvae from 2100 parents were generally larger and more developmentally advanced than those derived from present-day parents. However, negative carryover effects reduced survival in offspring of parents acclimated to 2100 conditions. At 15 days post-fertilization, survival of offspring derived from 2100 parents was 50.6% and 43.7% when raised in present-day and 2100 conditions, respectively, compared to 59.9% and 64.6% in offspring derived from present-day parents. When raised in 2100 conditions, respiration declined by 36.8% in larvae derived from present-day parents, while respiration rates of larvae from 2100 parents increased by 109%, suggesting that carryover effects may be associated with higher energy consumption and physiological stress in larvae from 2100 parents. Although parental acclimation enhanced growth of larvae in early development, overall, negative carryover effects outweighed potential benefits of parental acclimation to ocean warming and acidification in this species.

Continue reading ‘Parental acclimation to future ocean conditions increases development rates but decreases survival in sea urchin larvae’

Seasonal variability of calcium carbonate precipitation and dissolution in shallow coral reef sediments

Shallow, permeable calcium carbonate (CaCO3) sediments make up a large proportion of the benthic cover on coral reefs and account for a large fraction of the standing stock of CaCO3. There have been a number of laboratory, mesocosm, and in situ studies examining shallow sediment metabolism and dissolution, but none of these have considered seasonal variability. Advective benthic chambers were used to measure in situ net community calcification (NCC) rates of CaCO3 sediments on Heron Island, Australia (Great Barrier Reef) over an annual cycle. Sediments were, on average, net precipitating during the day and net dissolving at night throughout the year. Night dissolution rates (−NCCNIGHT) were highest in the austral autumn and lowest in the austral winter driven by changes in respiration (R) and to a lesser extent temperature and Ωarag/pH. Similarly, precipitation during the day (+NCCDAY) was highest in March and lowest in winter, driven primarily by benthic net primary production (NPP) and temperature. On average, sediments were net precipitating over a diel cycle (NCC24h) but shifted to net dissolving in July and December. This shift was largely caused by the differential effects of seasonal cycles in organic metabolism and carbonate chemistry on NCCDAY and NCCNIGHT. The results from this study highlight the large variability in sediment CaCO3 dynamics and the need to include repeated measurements over different months and seasons, particularly in shallow reef systems that can experience large swings in light, temperature, and carbonate chemistry.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal variability of calcium carbonate precipitation and dissolution in shallow coral reef sediments’


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