Posts Tagged 'review'

Fate of Mediterranean Scleractinian cold-water corals as a result of global climate change. A synthesis

This chapter addresses the question as to how Mediterranean cold-water corals might fare in the future under anthropogenically-induced global climate change. The focus on three most prominent scleractinian cold-water corals species, the two branching and habitat-forming forms Madrepora oculata, Lophelia pertusa and the solitary cup coral Desmophyllum dianthus. We provide an introduction to climate change principals, highlight the current status of the marine environment with regard to global climate change, and describe how climate change impacts such as ocean acidification are predicted to affect key calcifiers such as scleractinian cold-water corals in the Mediterranean region. A synthesis of the experimental cold-water coral studies conducted to date on climate change impacts: The present state of knowledge reviewed in this chapter takes into account the number of experiments that have been carried out in the Mediterranean as well as for comparative purposes in other parts of the world, to examine the effects of climate change on the corals. We assess the statistical robustness of these experiments and what challenges the presented experiments. A comprehensive multi-study comparison is provided in order to inform on the present state of knowledge, and knowledge gaps, in understanding the effects of global climate change on cold-water corals. Finally we describe what the fate could be for the important scleractinian coral group in the Mediterranean region.

Continue reading ‘Fate of Mediterranean Scleractinian cold-water corals as a result of global climate change. A synthesis’

Meta‐analysis reveals enhanced growth of marine harmful algae from temperate regions with warming and elevated CO2 levels

Elevated pCO2 and warming may promote algal growth and toxin production, and thereby possibly support the proliferation and toxicity of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Here, we tested whether empirical data support this hypothesis using a meta‐analytic approach and investigated the responses of growth rate and toxin content or toxicity of numerous marine and estuarine HAB species to elevated pCO2 and warming. Most of the available data on HAB responses towards the two tested climate change variables concern dinoflagellates, as many members of this phytoplankton group are known to cause HAB outbreaks. Toxin content and toxicity did not reveal a consistent response towards both tested climate change variables, while growth rate increased consistently with elevated pCO2. Warming also led to higher growth rates, but only for species isolated at higher latitudes. The observed gradient in temperature growth responses shows the potential for enhanced development of HABs at higher latitudes. Increases in growth rates with more CO2 may present an additional competitive advantage for HAB species, particularly as CO2 was not shown to enhance growth rate of other non‐HAB phytoplankton species. However, this may also be related to the difference in representation of dinoflagellate and diatom species in the respective HAB and non‐HAB phytoplankton groups. Since the proliferation of HAB species may strongly depend on their growth rates, our results warn for a greater potential of dinoflagellate HAB development in future coastal waters, particularly in temperate regions.

Continue reading ‘Meta‐analysis reveals enhanced growth of marine harmful algae from temperate regions with warming and elevated CO2 levels’

Characterizing the multivariate physiogenomic response to environmental change

Global change is altering the climate that species have historically adapted to – in some cases at a pace not recently experienced in their evolutionary history – with cascading effects on all taxa. A central aim in global change biology is to understand how specific populations may be “primed” for global change, either through acclimation or adaptive standing genetic variation. It is therefore an important goal to link physiological measurements to the degree of stress a population experiences (Annual Review of Marine Science, 2012, 4, 39). Although “omic” approaches such as gene expression are often used as a proxy for the amount of stress experienced, we still have a poor understanding of how gene expression affects ecologically and physiologically relevant traits in non‐model organisms. In a From the Cover paper in this issue of Molecular Ecology, Griffiths, Pan and Kelley (Molecular Ecology, 2019, 28) link gene expression to physiological traits in a temperate marine coral. They discover population-specific responses to ocean acidification for two populations that originated
from locations with different histories of exposure to acidification. By integrating physiological and gene expression data, they were able to elucidate the mechanisms that explain these population‐specific responses. Their results give insight into the physiogenomic feedbacks that may prime organisms or make them unfit for ocean global change.

Continue reading ‘Characterizing the multivariate physiogenomic response to environmental change’

Building the knowledge-to-action pipeline in North America: connecting ocean acidification research and actionable decision support

Ocean acidification (OA) describes the progressive decrease in the pH of seawater and other cascading chemical changes resulting from oceanic uptake of atmospheric carbon. These changes can have important implications for marine ecosystems, creating risk for commercial industries, subsistence communities, cultural practices, and recreation. Characterizing the extent of acidification and predicting the ramifications for marine and freshwater resources and ecosystem services are critical to national and international climate mitigation discussions and to local communities that rely on these resources. Based on critical grassroots connections between scientists, stakeholders and decision makers, “Knowledge-to-Action” networks for ocean acidification issues have formed at local, regional and international scales to take action. Here, we review three examples of North American groups elevating the issue of ocean acidification at these three levels. They each focus on developing practicable, implementable steps to mitigate causes, to adapt to unavoidable change, and to build resilience to changing ocean conditions in the marine environment and coastal communities. While these first steps represent critical efforts in protecting ecosystems and economies from the risks posed by ocean acidification, some challenges remain. Sensitivity and risk to OA varies by region, species and ecosystems; priorities for action can vary between multiple and conflicting partners; evidence-based strategies for OA risk mitigation are still in the early stages; and gaps remain between scientific research and actionable decision-maker support products. However, the scaled networks profiled here have proven to be adept at identifying and addressing these barriers to action. In the future, it will be critical to expand funding for food web impact studies and development of decision support tools, and to maintain the connections between scientists and marine resource users to build resilience to ocean acidification impacts.

Continue reading ‘Building the knowledge-to-action pipeline in North America: connecting ocean acidification research and actionable decision support’

Aprender a interpretar la acidificación oceánica con recursos on-line y experimentación contextualizada

In this paper we present an introductory experience of the process of Ocean Acidification –decrease in the pH of sea water–, as part of the Experimental Sciences course of the Bachelor’s Degree in Primary Education. The experience involved the use of on-line resources and contextualized experimentation, in order to promote student’s development of scientific competences and to formulate proposals of improvement within the framework of education for sustainability. Satisfactory results are shown in terms of knowledge acquisition, interpretation of the process analyzed here and awareness of environmental problems. We suggest improvements in the educational curriculum and formulate questions which can generate new research. Finally, limitations of the experience regarding its novelty and the lack of adequate educational resources are discussed.

En este artículo se presenta una experiencia de introducción al proceso de acidificación oceánica –disminución del pH del agua del mar– en aulas de Ciencias Experimentales del Grado en Educación Primaria, utilizando recursos on-line y experimentación contextualizada, para contribuir al desarrollo de competencias científicas y formular propuestas de mejora del currículo en el marco de la educación para la sustentabilidad. Se ha contribuido a la adquisición de conocimientos, a la interpretación del proceso estudiado y a la concienciación ambiental. Se han hecho propuestas de mejora del currículo y se han formulado preguntas que darán origen a nuevas investigaciones. Finalmente, se señalan limitaciones de la experiencia relativas a su novedad y a la escasez de recursos didácticos adecuados.

Continue reading ‘Aprender a interpretar la acidificación oceánica con recursos on-line y experimentación contextualizada’

Fish facing global change: are early stages the lifeline?

• The potential benefits of plasticity depend on several factors.

• Further knowledge of concurrent effects of several environmental factors is needed.

• It is also crucial to pursue and deepen transgenerational work.

• Models should take phenotypic plasticity into greater account.

The role of phenotypic plasticity in the acclimation and adaptive potential of an organism to global change is not currently accounted for in prediction models. The high plasticity of marine fishes is mainly attributed to their early stages, during which morphological, structural and behavioural functions are particularly sensitive to environmental constraints. This developmental plasticity can determine later physiological performances and fitness, and may further affect population dynamics and ecosystem functioning. This review asks the essential question of what role early stages play in the ability of fish to later cope with the effects of global change, considering three key environmental factors (temperature, hypoxia and acidification). After having identified the carry-over effects of early exposure reported in the literature, we propose areas that we believe warrant the most urgent attention for further research to better understand the role of developmental plasticity in the responses of marine organisms to global change.

Continue reading ‘Fish facing global change: are early stages the lifeline?’

An enhanced ocean acidification observing network: from people to technology to data synthesis and information exchange

A successful integrated ocean acidification (OA) observing network must include (1) scientists and technicians from a range of disciplines from physics to chemistry to biology to technology development; (2) government, private, and intergovernmental support; (3) regional cohorts working together on regionally specific issues; (4) publicly accessible data from the open ocean to coastal to estuarine systems; (5) close integration with other networks focusing on related measurements or issues including the social and economic consequences of OA; and (6) observation-based informational products useful for decision making such as management of fisheries and aquaculture. The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), a key player in this vision, seeks to expand and enhance geographic extent and availability of coastal and open ocean observing data to ultimately inform adaptive measures and policy action, especially in support of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. GOA-ON works to empower and support regional collaborative networks such as the Latin American Ocean Acidification Network, supports new scientists entering the field with training, mentorship, and equipment, refines approaches for tracking biological impacts, and stimulates development of lower-cost methodology and technologies allowing for wider participation of scientists. GOA-ON seeks to collaborate with and complement work done by other observing networks such as those focused on carbon flux into the ocean, tracking of carbon and oxygen in the ocean, observing biological diversity, and determining short- and long-term variability in these and other ocean parameters through space and time.

Continue reading ‘An enhanced ocean acidification observing network: from people to technology to data synthesis and information exchange’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book