Posts Tagged 'salinity'

Sensitivity to near-future CO2 conditions in marine crabs depends on their compensatory capacities for salinity change

Marine crabs inhabit shallow coastal/estuarine habitats particularly sensitive to climate change, and yet we know very little about the diversity of their responses to environmental change. We report the effects of a rarely studied, but increasingly prevalent, combination of environmental factors, that of near-future pCO2 (~1000 µatm) and a physiologically relevant 20% reduction in salinity. We focused on two crab species with differing abilities to cope with natural salinity change, and revealed via physiological and molecular studies that salinity had an overriding effect on ion exchange in the osmoregulating shore crab, Carcinus maenas. This species was unaffected by elevated CO2, and was able to hyper-osmoregulate and maintain haemolymph pH homeostasis for at least one year. By contrast, the commercially important edible crab, Cancer pagurus, an osmoconformer, had limited ion-transporting capacities, which were unresponsive to dilute seawater. Elevated CO2 disrupted haemolymph pH homeostasis, but there was some respite in dilute seawater due to a salinity-induced metabolic alkalosis (increase in HCO3− at constant pCO2). Ultimately, Cancer pagurus was poorly equipped to compensate for change, and exposures were limited to 9 months. Failure to understand the full spectrum of species-related vulnerabilities could lead to erroneous predictions of the impacts of a changing marine climate.

Continue reading ‘Sensitivity to near-future CO2 conditions in marine crabs depends on their compensatory capacities for salinity change’

Effects of ocean acidification on salinity tolerance and seawater growth of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts

Human activity has resulted in increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), which will result in reduced pH and higher levels of CO2 in the ocean, a process known as ocean acidification. Understanding the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on fishes will be important to predicting and mitigating its consequences. Anadromous species such as salmonids may be especially at risk because of their rapid movements between fresh water and seawater, which could minimize their ability to acclimate. In the present study, we examine the effect of future OA on the salinity tolerance and early seawater growth of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts. Exposure to 610 and 1010 μatm CO2 did not alter salinity tolerance but did result in slightly lower plasma chloride levels in smolts exposed to seawater compared with controls (390 μatm). Gill Na+–K+‐ATPase activity, plasma cortisol, glucose and haematocrit after seawater exposure were not altered by elevated CO2. Growth rate in the first 2 weeks of seawater exposure was greater at 1010 μatm CO2 than under control conditions. This study of the effects of OA on S. salar during the transition from fresh water to seawater indicates that elevated CO2 is not likely to affect osmoregulation negatively and may improve early growth in seawater.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on salinity tolerance and seawater growth of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts’

Trophic functioning of macrobenthic fauna in a tropical acidified Bornean estuary (Southeast Asia)

The trophic structure of a community is used to infer ecosystem functioning (e.g. energy transfer and nutrient cycling). Here the trophic structure of the benthic infaunal and epifaunal communities in the Brunei Estuary are characterized, and their distribution along an estuarine pH gradient is analyzed using univariate and multivariate techniques. This analysis revealed that surface deposit feeders (e.g., polychaetes) were numerically dominant within the infaunal communities whereas in the epifaunal communities filter feeders (e.g., bivalves) were highly abundant. Species richness for almost all trophic groups increased toward the lower estuary, except for omnivores in the epifaunal communities, which decreased markedly. Both Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Analysis of Similarities (ANOSIM) detected significant differences in the density of respective trophic groups among stations. Within infaunal communities, both Biological and Environmental procedure (BIO-ENV) and Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) showed that trophic shifts were associated with environmental gradients. Surface-deposit feeders and omnivores were the most abundant macrobenthos of the upper estuary characterized by low salinity, low pH, and a higher percentage of mud particles. The proportion of filter feeders and carnivores increased with salinity/pH and sand. A more uniform distribution of trophic structure was found in the lower estuary, with high salinity and pH over sandy habitat. In contrast, within epifaunal trophic groups, the percentage of surface deposit feeders and omnivores declined, but filter feeders remarkably increased toward the sea. The proportion of carnivores remained similar at all stations. Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling (nMDS) ordination for epifaunal trophic groups clearly demarcated higher salinity/pH stations from lower salinity/pH stations, suggesting different trophic compositions along the estuarine pH gradient.

Continue reading ‘Trophic functioning of macrobenthic fauna in a tropical acidified Bornean estuary (Southeast Asia)’

Analysis of Na+/K+ -ATPase gene expression and physiological parameters in the crab Callinectes danae submitted to future scenarios of ocean acidification in the laboratory (in Portuguese)

Oceanic acidification, a process resulting from the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by activities of anthropic nature, has been causing in recent decades a change in the chemical balance of the bicarbonate / carbonate system and consequently a decrease in the pH of the oceans. Estimates indicate that this decrease can be 0.7 units per year of 2300, which can affect the growth, reproduction and even survival of the species. In this sense, studies are needed to evaluate the impact of oceanic acidification on physiological and molecular levels in different marine species. The Callinectes danae crab is an important ecological and economic resource of the Region of the Baixada Santista and inhabitant of different ranges of salinity. The present study evaluated the effects of ocean acidification on C. danae crab on a set of physiological parameters (oxygen consumption, ammonia excretion, O: N ratio, hepatosomatic index and osmo-and ionoregulatory capacity of hemolymph), and gene expression of Na + / K + – ATPase, an important enzyme in the process of osmoregulation and acid base balance. The animals were kept at different salinities (20, 25, 30, 35 and 40) and at pHs 8.0 (control) and 7.3 (acidified) for a period of three and thirty days. It was observed an increase in the oxygen consumption in salinities 25 (3 days), 20 and 40 (30 days) probably due to a greater energy requirement for the maintenance of systems related to acid-base regulation. Metabolic depression was also observed at the salinity of 30 (30 days). Ammonia excretion decreased in salinities 30 (3 days), 25, 30 and 35 (30 days) possibly due to competition between Na + / H + and Na + / NH + 4 transporters. The hepatosomatic index had an increase in salinities of 30 (3 days) and 40 (30 days) due to a possible accumulation of reserves in stressful situations. The energy substrate and the osmoregulatory pattern remained unchanged in all treatments. However, the Cl- and Na + concentrations were reduced at the salinity of 25 and 35 (30 days), probably due to some changes in their transporters. Molecularly, a regulation of Na + / K + ATPase expression was observed, with a decrease in salinities of 35 and 40 (3 days), and a subsequent increase in the period of 30 days. The work was the first to evaluate the physiological and molecular parameters of C.danae in different salinities. Animals that remained longer on exposure to high pCO2 are more negatively affected than animals that were exposed in 3 days. The observed changes may indicate that although C. danae is an eurialan animal and inhabits different environments, ocean acidification can alter its physiological and molecular patterns, taking organisms out of their homeostasis, having consequences on the growth, development and distribution of the species.

Continue reading ‘Analysis of Na+/K+ -ATPase gene expression and physiological parameters in the crab Callinectes danae submitted to future scenarios of ocean acidification in the laboratory (in Portuguese)’

Effects of ocean acidification and salinity variations on the physiology of osmoregulating and osmoconforming crustaceans

Survival, osmoregulatory pattern, oxygen consumption, energy spent on metabolism, ammonia excretion, type of oxidized energy substrate, and hepatosomatic index were evaluated in decapods (an osmoregulating crab, Callinectes danae, and an osmoconforming seabob shrimp, Xiphopenaeus kroyeri) exposed to carbon dioxide-induced water acidification (pH 7.3, control pH 8.0) and different salinities (20, 25, 30, 35, and 40‰) for 3 days. Compared to the animals kept at controlled pH, exposure to reduced pH resulted in the loss of osmoregulatory capacity in C. danae at all salinities, except for some hyporegulation at 40‰, and reduced oxygen consumption and ammonia excretion at 20 and 40‰. Xiphopenaeus kroyeri remained an osmoconformer in all evaluated conditions, except for some hyporegulation at 40‰, and when exposed to the reduced pH, it presented changes in oxygen consumption at all salinities and reductions in ammonia excretion at 20 and 35‰ compared to the control animals. Both species use protein as the main energy substrate and decrease the hepatosomatic index when exposed to reduced pH relative to the control. The observed changes may be associated with changes in the activity of enzymes related to osmoregulation, the use of amino acids as osmotic effectors of cell volume control and recovery, and the Bohr effect, and, because the gills are multifunctional organs related to osmoregulation, the changes may be related to acid–base control, nitrogen excretion, and respiration, with a change in one of these functions bringing about changes in the others.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification and salinity variations on the physiology of osmoregulating and osmoconforming crustaceans’

Will temperature and salinity changes exacerbate the effects of seawater acidification on the marine microalga Phaeodactylum tricornutum?


• Combined effects of pH, temperature and salinity were studied on a marine diatom.
• A novel CO2 injection system was used for performing microalgae toxicity test.
• Synergistic effects were found on cell viability, cell size and autofluorescence.
• Results are useful to address the potential impact of climate change.

To evaluate the effects related to the combination of potential future changes in pH, temperature and salinity on microalgae, a laboratory experiment was performed using the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Populations of this species were exposed during 48 h to a three-factor experimental design (3 × 2 × 2) with two artificial pH values (6, 7.4), two levels of temperature (23 °C, 28 °C), two levels of salinity (34 psu, 40 psu) and a control (pH 8, Temp 23 °C, Sal 34 psu). The effects on growth, cell viability, metabolic activity, and inherent cell properties (size, complexity and autofluorescence) of P. tricornutum were studied using flow cytometry. The results showed adverse effects on cultures exposed to pH 6 and high temperature and salinity, being the inherent cell properties the most sensitive response. Also, linked effects of these parameters resulted on cell viability and cell size decrease and an increase of cell autofluorescence. The conclusions obtained from this work are useful to address the potential effects of climate change (in terms of changes on pH, salinity and temperature) in microalgae.

Continue reading ‘Will temperature and salinity changes exacerbate the effects of seawater acidification on the marine microalga Phaeodactylum tricornutum?’

Decalcification and survival of benthic foraminifera under the combined impacts of varying pH and salinity


  • Coastal ocean acidification did not enhance apparent test dissolution or affect survival in the short term of the benthic foraminifera species Ammonia sp. and Elphidium crispum.
  • Ωcalc <1 caused by low salinity decreases resistance to dissolution of the foraminifera.
  • The response of foraminifera to the combined impact of low pH and desalination was species-specific.
  • Living, decalcified juvenile specimens of Ammonia sp. were observed after one month at salinity 5.


Coastal areas display natural large environmental variability such as frequent changes in salinity, pH, and carbonate chemistry. Anthropogenic impacts – especially ocean acidification – increase this variability, which may affect the living conditions of coastal species, particularly, calcifiers. We performed culture experiments on living benthic foraminifera to study the combined effects of lowered pH and salinity on the calcification abilities and survival of the coastal, calcitic species Ammonia sp. and Elphidium crispum. We found that in open ocean conditions (salinity ∼35) and lower pH than usual values for these species, the specimens displayed resistance to shell (test) dissolution for a longer time than in brackish conditions (salinity ∼5 to 20). However, the response was species specific as Ammonia sp. specimens survived longer than E. crispum specimens when placed in the same conditions of salinity and pH. Living, decalcified juveniles of Ammonia sp. were observed and we show that desalination is one cause for the decalcification. Finally, we highlight the ability of foraminifera to survive under Ωcalc < 1, and that high salinity and [Ca2+] as building blocks are crucial for the foraminiferal calcification process.

Continue reading ‘Decalcification and survival of benthic foraminifera under the combined impacts of varying pH and salinity’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book