Posts Tagged 'review'

Sponges to be winners under near-future climate scenarios

Sponges are functionally important components of global benthic environments and have been proposed as potential winners under future climate scenarios. We review the evidence to support this hypothesis by examining the individual and combined effects of ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) on sponges and comparing sponge responses with tolerance thresholds for other benthic organisms. Although sponges are generally tolerant of OA and may even benefit from elevated partial pressure of carbon dioxide, they are often sensitive to seawater temperatures only a few degrees higher than their normal range. Sponge responses to the combined effects of OA and OW are generally more positive than their response to OW alone. We found that sponges are generally less affected by OW or OA than are a number of currently dominant benthic organisms, such as corals. Therefore, sponges are expected to benefit under near-future climate scenarios, although species-specific differences in tolerance will likely shift the sponge assemblage composition toward more resilient species.

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Acidic oceans: how will copepods cope?

Early OA research quickly established the serious threat that more acidic oceans directly impose on calcifying organisms such as corals and bivalves because their calcium carbonate structures dissolve more easily and are more difficult to build as seawater pH decreases. Research continued to establish baseline effects of OA on individual organisms, before looking at multiple species responses and effects of double stressors (e.g., low pH + high temperature). Current OA research is leaning into community-level responses to two or three environmental drivers simultaneously, with the ultimate goal of understanding effects of OA within the context of multiple stressors and entire ecosystems.

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Ecological and functional consequences of coastal ocean acidification: perspectives from the Baltic-Skagerrak System

Ocean temperatures are rising; species are shifting poleward, and pH is falling (ocean acidification, OA). We summarise current understanding of OA in the brackish Baltic-Skagerrak System, focussing on the direct, indirect and interactive effects of OA with other anthropogenic drivers on marine biogeochemistry, organisms and ecosystems. Substantial recent advances reveal a pattern of stronger responses (positive or negative) of species than ecosystems, more positive responses at lower trophic levels and strong indirect interactions in food-webs. Common emergent themes were as follows: OA drives planktonic systems toward the microbial loop, reducing energy transfer to zooplankton and fish; and nutrient/food availability ameliorates negative impacts of OA. We identify several key areas for further research, notably the need for OA-relevant biogeochemical and ecosystem models, and understanding the ecological and evolutionary capacity of Baltic-Skagerrak ecosystems to respond to OA and other anthropogenic drivers.

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Approaches to reconsider literature on physiological effects of environmental change: examples from ocean acidification research

Understanding links between the abiotic environment and organism fitness and function is a central challenge of biology, and an issue of growing relevance due to anthropogenic environmental changes. To date, our understanding of these links has largely been based on the findings of isolated experimental studies. This command may, however, be enhanced where currently disparate data are synthesized. By outlining a range of approaches appropriate in bringing together the findings of studies considering ocean acidification effects, we hope to provide insight as to how they may be used in the future. Specifically, approaches discussed in this narrative literature review include established literature review methods, as well as emerging schemes structured around biological theories (i.e., dynamic energy budget, DEB; oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance, OCLTT; multiple performance-multiple optima, MPMO), and strategies developed in other disciplines (i.e., adverse outcome pathways, AOP). In the future approaches to use such frameworks in creative combinations may be developed. Here we discuss some of these potential combinations, specifically the use of: AOPs to identify key steps that can be explored in more detail through literature review frameworks; OCLTT and DEB frameworks to consider effects on both energy supply and allocation; MPMO frameworks to identify the performance curves of organisms whose interactions are considered in an ecosystem model. Regardless of the approach taken, synthesizing scientific literature represents a potentially powerful method to enhance understanding of the influence of the abiotic environment on whole organism fitness.

Continue reading ‘Approaches to reconsider literature on physiological effects of environmental change: examples from ocean acidification research’

Ocean acidification and Sustainable Development Goal 14: a goal but no target?

This paper explores the theme of climate change and the oceans with a focus on the “other” side of climate change: ocean acidification. It is estimated that the acidity of the oceans has increased by about 30 percent since the beginning of the Industrial era and the rate of change is particularly significant in colder Polar waters. Until recently, ocean acidification has received little attention at the international level and the particular threat posed by carbon dioxide (as opposed to other greenhouse gases) to the oceans is not specifically acknowledged within the climate change regime. By contrast, the United Nations General Assembly and other fora, such as the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, are increasingly acknowledging the threat posed by ocean acidification to the health of our oceans. Sustainable Development Goal 14, among other objectives, calls upon states to “minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels” (14.3). Nevertheless, specific action, including targets to limit ocean acidification, have yet to be established by any institution. This chapter examines the interaction between law of the sea institutions and the climate regime in order to assess progress to date and potential for future action on ocean acidification and conclude with a number of proposals for reform.

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Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on environmental microbes and its mechanisms: a review

Highlights

• Elevated CO2 shifts the community structure and lower the microbial diversity.
• CO2 leakage severely inhibits microbial growth.
• High CO2 levels destroy the cell structure of microbes.
• The microbial metabolism can be affected by CO2.
• Underlying mechanisms are summarized at the molecular and cellular levels.

Abstract

Before the industrial revolution, the atmospheric CO2 concentration was 180–330 ppm; however, fossil-fuel combustion and forest destruction have led to increased atmospheric CO2 concentration. CO2 capture and storage is regarded as a promising strategy to prevent global warming and ocean acidification and to alleviate elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration, but the leakage of CO2 from storage system can lead to rapid acidification of the surrounding circumstance, which might cause negative influence on environmental microbes. The effects of elevated CO2 on microbes have been reported extensively, but the review regarding CO2 affecting different environmental microorganisms has never been done previously. Also, the mechanisms of CO2 affecting environmental microorganisms are usually contributed to the change of pH values, while the direct influences of CO2 on microorganisms were often neglected. This paper aimed to provide a systematic review of elevated CO2 affecting environmental microbes and its mechanisms. Firstly, the influences of elevated CO2 and potential leakage of CO2 from storage sites on community structures and diversity of different surrounding environmental microbes were assessed and compared. Secondly, the adverse impacts of CO2 on microbial growth, cell morphology and membranes, bacterial spores, and microbial metabolism were introduced. Then, based on biochemical principles and knowledge of microbiology and molecular biology, the fundamental mechanisms of the influences of carbon dioxide on environmental microbes were discussed from the aspects of enzyme activity, electron generation and transfer, and key gene and protein expressions. Finally, key questions relevant to the environmental effect of CO2 that need to be answered in the future were addressed.

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Legal practices and challenges in addressing climate change and its impact on the oceans—a Chinese perspective

Highlights

• International legal and policy instruments contain certain measures to tackle the effects of climate change on the oceans.
• China has also committed to addressing the effects of climate change on the oceans.
• The overlapping of different systems has, however, created some difficulties in practice and further coordination is urgently required.
• The ultimate solution in avoiding the worsening effects of climate change on the oceans would be to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases worldwide and China wishes to take a leading role in such efforts.

Abstract

Two key drivers, ocean warming and ocean acidification, affect the oceans and adds to the climate change adversely. International legal and policy instruments contain certain measures to tackle these growing effects. China is also committed to addressing the effects of climate change on the oceans. The overlapping of different systems has, however, created some difficulties in practice and further coordination is urgently required. This paper uses qualitative methods to investigate China’s legal practices in addressing the effects of climate change and their impact on the oceans. The study considers newly introduced policies and recent actions launched by the Chinese Government to chart a clearer picture of the current practices. To this end, it is concluded that the ultimate solution in avoiding the worsening effects of climate change on the oceans would be to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases worldwide, and China aims to take advantage of playing leading role in such efforts.

Continue reading ‘Legal practices and challenges in addressing climate change and its impact on the oceans—a Chinese perspective’


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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book