Posts Tagged 'salinity'

Impact of climate change on Arctic macroalgal communities

The Arctic region faces a warming rate that is more than twice the global average. Seaice loss, increase in precipitation and freshwater discharge, changes in underwater light, and amplification of ocean acidification modify benthic habitats and the communities they host. Here we synthesize existing information on the impacts of climate change on the macroalgal communities of Arctic coasts. We review the shortand long-term changes in environmental characteristics of shallow hard-bottomed Arctic coasts, the floristics of Arctic macroalgae (description, distribution, life-cycle, adaptations), the responses of their biological and ecological processes to climate change, the resulting winning and losing species, and the effects on ecosystem functioning. The focus of this review is on fucoid species, kelps, and coralline algae which are key ecosystem engineers in hard-bottom shallow areas of the Arctic, providing food, substrate, shelter, and nursery ground for many species. Changes in seasonality, benthic functional diversity, food-web structure, and carbon cycle are already occurring and are reshaping Arctic benthic ecosystems. Shallow communities are projected to shift from invertebrate-to algal-dominated communities. Fucoid and several kelp species are expected to largely spread and dominate the area with possible extinctions of native species. A considerable amount of functional diversity could be lost impacting the processing of land-derived nutrients and organic matter and significantly altering trophic structure and energy flow up to the apex consumers. However, many factors are not well understood yet, making it difficult to appreciate the current situation and predict the future coastal Arctic ecosystem. Efforts must be made to improve knowledge in key regions with proper seasonal coverage, taking into account interactions between stressors and across species.

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Crustacean ecology in a changing climate

Whilst crustaceans occupy a diversity of ecological niches and have adapted to many environmental challenges, relatively little is known on how the predicted changes associated with climate change will impact individuals, communities, species and ecosystems globally. Direct oceanic change to seawater temperature, pH, alkalinity, oxygen level and salinity and indirect impacts on weather, seasonality, food availability and changes in ecological networks will put pressure upon crustaceans to acclimate. There is now emerging evidence that behaviour, physiology, fitness and ultimately reproduction and survival of coastal crustaceans is altered under experimental climate change conditions, with most studies showing negative impacts. Nevertheless measurable endpoints, multigenerational and ecosystem studies are to date extremely rare and the full impact of climate change stress upon crustaceans is nowhere near fully understood.

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Coral reef fishes in a multi-stressor world

Coral reef fishes and the ecosystems they support represent some of the most biodiverse and productive ecosystems on the planet yet are under threat as they face dramatic increases in multiple, interacting stressors that are largely intensified by anthropogenic influences, such as climate change. Coral reef fishes have been the topic of 875 studies between 1979 and 2020 examining physiological responses to various abiotic and biotic stressors. Here, we highlight the current state of knowledge regarding coral reef fishes’ responses to eight key abiotic stressors (i.e., pollutants, temperature, hypoxia and ocean deoxygenation, pH/CO2, noise, salinity, pressure/depth, and turbidity) and four key biotic stressors (i.e., prey abundance, predator threats, parasites, and disease) and discuss stressors that have been examined in combination. We conclude with a horizon scan to discuss acclimation and adaptation, technological advances, knowledge gaps, and the future of physiological research on coral reef fishes. As we proceed through this new epoch, the Anthropocene, it is critical that the scientific and general communities work to recognize the issues that various habitats and ecosystems, such as coral reefs and the fishes that depend on and support them, are facing so that mitigation strategies can be implemented to protect biodiversity and ecosystem health.

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Benthic foraminifera and pore water carbonate chemistry on a tidal flat and salt marsh at Ria Formosa, Algarve, Portugal

Graphical abstract


  • Foraminifera and halophytes showed a relationship with pore water properties.
  • Soil salinity and evaporation are the governing environmental factors.
  • Agglutinated foraminifera were rather related to pore water pCO2 than to submergence time or elevation.
  • Calcareous foraminifera specialised to tolerate carbonate-corrosive conditions prevailed at lowest saturation levels.


Benthic foraminifera showed a vertical zonation in tidally influenced salt marshes, which has been used for sea level reconstructions. Growing evidence suggested that freshwater influx, salinity, or the pH of interstitial waters has also an impact on the foraminiferal distribution. A tidal flat and salt marsh transect was investigated in the north-western Ria Formosa coastal lagoon, Algarve, Portugal, to constrain the relationship of benthic foraminifera, halophytes, and pore water properties. The dominance of saltworts from the subfamily Salicornioideae and landward increasing soil salinities depicted evaporation as governing environmental factor. The carbonate chemistry from lagoonal and pore waters identified anoxic tidal flat sediments of as main source of total alkalinity. The alkalinity was lower in the salt marsh, where the pCO2 was extremely high. Salt marsh pore waters showed a high variability of carbonate system parameters, which mirrored small-scale spatial heterogeneities in the soil. The distribution of textulariid salt marsh foraminifera was confined to the vegetated zones, where their abundance increased with elevation. Calcareous species were frequent on the tidal flat and in the highest salt marsh. Many of them were specialised to high salinities or to extreme and variable environmental conditions. Two levels of faunal change in the salt marsh coincide with vegetation zonal boundaries, mean tide or mean high water levels. The two other faunal changes were related to changes in calcite saturation state or organic carbon concentrations. The proportion of textulariids showed a negative correlation with submergence time or elevation, and a significant correlation with pore water pCO2. The faunal distribution, pore water calcite saturation, and Ammonia dissolution patterns indicated that calcareous species specialised to tolerate carbonate-corrosive conditions prevailed even at lowest saturation levels.

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Environmental change impacts on shell formation in the muricid Nucella lapillus

Environmental change is a significant threat to marine ecosystems worldwide. Ocean acidification, global warming and long-term emissions of anthropogenic effluents are all negatively impacting aquatic life. Marine calcifying organisms, in particular, are expected to be severely affected by decreasing seawater pH, resulting in shell dissolution and retardations during the formation and repair of shells. Understanding the underlying biological and environmental factors driving species vulnerabilities to habitat alterations is thus crucial to our ability to faithfully predict impacts on marine ecosystems under an array of environmental change scenarios. So far, existing knowledge about organism responses mainly stems from short to medium term laboratory experiments of single species or over- simplified communities. Although these studies have provided important insights, results may not translate to organism responses in a complex natural system requiring a more holistic experimental approach. In this thesis, I investigated shell formation mechanisms and shape and elemental composition responses in the shell of the important intertidal predatory muricid Nucella lapillus both in situ and across heterogeneous environmental gradients. The aim was to identify potential coping mechanisms of N. lapillus to environmental change and provide a more coherent picture of shell formation responses along large ecological gradients in the spatial and temporal domain. To investigate shell formation mechanisms, I tested for the possibility of shell recycling as a function to reduce calcification costs during times of exceptional demand using a multi-treatment shell labelling experiment. Reports on calcification costs vary largely in the literature. Still, recent discoveries showed that costs might increase as a function of decreasing calcification substrate abundance, suggesting that shell formation becomes increasingly more costly under future environmental change scenarios. However, despite the anticipated costs, no evidence was found that would indicate the use of functional dissolution as a means to recycle shell material for a more cost-efficient shell formation in N. lapillus. To investigate shell formation responses, I combined morphometric and shell thickness analyses with novel statistical methods to identify natural shape and thickness response of N. lapillus to large scale variability in temperature, salinity, wind speed and the carbonate system across a wide geographic range (from Portugal to Iceland) and through time (over 130 years). I found that along geographical gradients, the state of the carbonate system and, more specifically, the substrate inhibitor ratio ([HCO3−][H+]−1) (SIR) was the main predictor for shape variations in N. lapillus. Populations in regions with a lower SIR tend to form narrower shells with a higher spire to body whorl ratio. In contrast, populations in regions with a higher SIR form wider shells with a much lower spire to body whorl ratio. The results suggest a widespread phenotypic response of N. lapillus to continuing ocean acidification could be expected, affecting its phenotypic response patterns to predator or wave exposure regimes with profound implications for North Atlantic rocky shore communities. On the contrary, investigations of shell shape and thickness changes over the last 130 years from adjacent sampling regions on the Southern North Sea coast revealed that contrary to global predictions, N. lapillus built continuously thicker shells while maintaining a consistent shell shape throughout the last century. Systematic modelling efforts suggested that the observed shell thickening resulted from higher annual temperatures, longer yearly calcification windows, nearshore eutrophication, and enhanced prey abundance, which mitigated the impact of other climate change factors. An investigation into the trace elemental composition of common pollutant metals in the same archival N. lapillus specimens revealed that shell Cu/Ca and Zn/Ca concentration ratios remained remarkably constant throughout the last 130 years despite substantial shifts in the environmental concentration. However, Pb/Ca concentration ratios showed a definite trend closely aligned with leaded petrol emissions in Europe over the same period. Discussing physiological and environmental drivers for the observed shell bound heavy metal patterns, I argue that, unlike for Pb, constraints on environmental dissolved Cu species abundance and biologically mediated control on internal Zn levels were likely responsible for a decoupling of shell-bound to total ambient Cu and Zn concentrations. The results highlight the complexity of internal and external pathways that govern the uptake of heavy metals into the molluscan shell and suggest that the shell of N. lapillus could be a suitable archive for a targeted investigation of Pb pollution in the intertidal zone.

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Interaction between reduced pH and multiple stressors affects the physiology of the fiddler crab Leptuca thayeri (Rathbun, 1900) (Decapoda: Brachyura: Ocypodidae)

Increasing ocean acidification combined with other impacts may cause changes in homeostatic mechanisms of intertidal invertebrates. Stressors do not act in isolation, and experimental work is needed to assess their synergistic potential. We evaluated the effect of exposure to multiple stressors on the survival, osmoregulation, metabolism, Q10, excretion, hepatosomatic index, and energy substrate oxidation on of the fiddler crab Leptuca thayeri (Rathbun, 1900). Crabs were exposed to two pH values (7.0, 6.3) combined with temperatures (20, 25, 30, 35, 40 °C) and these pH values combined with salinities (10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 psu) during acute exposure. All individuals died at 40 °C. Crabs osmoregulated, suggesting that the factors evaluated did not affect salt absorption or secretion. Individuals were weak hyperosmorregulators at lower salinities in the pH 7 control, but they became strong hyperosmoregulators at acidified pH 6.3. Alterations in oxygen consumption and hepatosomatic index were observed in individuals exposed to the acidified pH combined with temperatures or salinities, compared to those kept in the control pH. Q10 was elevated under an acidified pH, with crabs using proteins and lipids as energy substrates. The interaction between reduced pH and temperature or salinity thus affected physiological mechanisms related to the energetic metabolism, but elevated temperatures are more limiting because they affected survival. These physiological effects of acute exposure offer clues about extreme climatic events, which have a short duration but can affect the related energy demands.

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Metabolic rate allometry in intertidal mussels across environmental gradients: the role of coastal carbonate system parameters in mediating the effects of latitude and temperature

Graphical abstract


  • Latitude and temperature do not explain intertidal mussel metabolic rate allometry.
  • Carbonate system parameters also have effects on size and metabolic rate.
  • Observed allometric variation is best explained by a structural equation model.
  • Metabolic rate allometry is modulated by multiple environmental stressors.


We assess the role of direct and indirect effects of coastal environmental drivers (including the parameters of the carbonate system) on energy expenditure (MR) and body mass (M) of the intertidal mussel, Perumytilus purpuratus, across 10 populations distributed over 2800 km along the Southern Eastern Pacific (SEP) coast. We find biogeographic and local variation in carbonate system variables mediates the effects of latitude and temperature on metabolic rate allometry along the SEP coast. Also, the fitted Piecewise Structural Equation models (PSEM) have greater predictive ability (conditional R2 = 0.95) relative to the allometric scaling model (R2 = 0.35). The largest standardized coefficients for MR and M were determined by the influence of temperature and latitude, followed by pCO2, pH, total alkalinity, and salinity. Thus, physiological diversity of P. purpuratus along the SEP coast emerges as the result of direct and indirect effects of biogeographic and local environmental variables.

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How does climate change affect a fishable resource? The case of the royal sea cucumber (Parastichopus regalis) in the central Mediterranean Sea

Holothurians or sea cucumbers are key organisms in marine ecosystems that, by ingesting large quantities of sediments, provide important ecosystem services. Among them, Parastichopus regalis (Cuvier, 1817) is one of the living sea cucumbers in the Mediterranean actively fished for human consumption mainly in Spain, where it is considered a gastronomic delicacy. In the Strait of Sicily (central Mediterranean Sea), this species is not exploited for commercial use even if it is used as bait by longline fishery. P. regalis is frequently caught by bottom trawling and discarded at sea by fishers after catch, and because of its capacity to resist air exposition (at least in cold months), it is reasonable to consider that it is not affected by fishing mortality. Having observed a significant decrease in abundance since 2018, the possible effects of some ecological factors related to current climate change (i.e., temperature and pH) were sought. Generalized additive models (GAMs) were applied to investigate the relationship among the abundance of P. regalis and environmental variables and fishing effort. Long time series of P. regalis densities (2008–2021) were extracted from the MEDITS bottom trawling survey and modeled as function of environmental parameters (i.e., salinity, dissolved oxygen, ammonium, pH, and chlorophyll α) and fishing effort (i.e., total number of fishing days per gross tonnage). Our results showed that this species prefers the soft bottoms (50–200 m) of the Adventure Bank and Malta Plateau, and its distribution changed over time with a slight deepening and a rarefaction of spatial distribution starting from 2011 and 2017, respectively. In addition, a positive relationship with pH concentration in surface waters during the larval dispersal phase (3-year lag before the survey) and nutrient concentration at sea bottom (1-year lag) has been found, suggesting that this species is sensitive to climate change and food availability. This study adds new knowledge about the population dynamics of an unexploited stock of P. regalis under fishing impact and environmental under climate change in fisheries management.

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Different responses of phytoplankton and zooplankton communities to current changing coastal environments

Marine plankton are faced with novel challenges associated with environmental changes such as ocean acidification, warming, and eutrophication. However, data on the effects of simultaneous environmental changes on complex natural communities in coastal ecosystems are relatively limited. Here we made a systematic analysis of biological and environmental parameters in the Bohai Sea over the past three years to suggest that plankton communities responded differently to current changing coastal environments, with the increase of phytoplankton and the decrease of zooplankton. These different changes of phyto- and zooplankton potentially resulted from the fact that both the effect of acidification as a result of pH decline and the effect of warming as a consequence of increasing temperature favored phytoplankton over zooplankton at present. Furthermore, water eutrophication and salinity as well as heavy metals Hg, Zn, and As had more or less diverse consequences for the dynamics of phytoplankton and zooplankton. Differently, with ongoing climate change, we also revealed that both phytoplankton and zooplankton would decrease in the future under the influence of interactions between acidification and warming.

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Role of abiotic factors in enhancing the capacity of mangroves in reducing ocean acidification

The present study investigated the effects of rising carbon dioxide levels in nature and the carbon sequestration potential of dominant mangrove species for reducing the toxic effects of ocean acidification. The study was conducted on the east coast of Odisha, in the western Bay of Bengal. To determine the effect of these ambient parameters on the absorption of carbon dioxide by the mangroves, water temperature, salinity, pH levels of seawater along with soil texture and pH, salinity expressed in electrical conductivity, compactness expressed in bulk density, and soil organic carbon were simultaneously monitored. The aboveground biomass and carbon of the selected species were studied for 2 consecutive years at 10 designated stations. The total carbon calculated for the study area varied from 242.50 ± 49.00 to 1321.29 ± 445.52 tons with a mean of 626.68 ± 174.81 tons for Bhitarkanika and Mahanadi mangrove chunks. This is equivalent to 2299.92 ± 641.55 tons of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere. A total of 27 equations were selected as the best fit models for the study area. The equations between mangrove biomass and carbon along with aquatic and edaphic factors governing the pH of water and soil strongly support the positive influence of mangrove photosynthetic activity in shifting the equilibrium toward alkalinity. This calls for conservation of mangrove ecosystem to minimize the pace of acidification of estuarine water. The results indicate that Excoecariaagallocha and Avicennia marina as are the most capable species for combatting maximum carbon dioxide toxicity from the atmosphere; which will be helpful in REDD + programs and carbon-based payments for ecosystem services (PES).

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Quality control of potentiometric pH measurements with a combination of NBS and Tris buffers at salinities from 20 to 40 and pH from 7.2 to 8.6

Seawater pH is a valuable parameter to describe ocean acidification. However, pH measurements are often subject to large uncertainty and the results of the pH comparison from different laboratories are not convincing. We assessed the potentiometric method for pH measurement on seawater samples with salinities from 20 to 40 and pH ranging from 7.2 to 8.6. pH glass electrodes were calibrated using both commercially available NBS buffers and the equimolal Tris (2‐amino‐2‐hydroxymethyl‐1,3‐propanediol) buffer (prepared in synthetic seawater at a salinity of 35). The results demonstrated that the uncertainty in pH measurements was within ± 0.01 in the entire salinity range and was better than ± 0.003, when the sample salinity was close to that of equimolal Tris buffer (salinity difference within ± 2.5), regardless of the sample pH. This study suggests that if the electrode calibration is performed properly, the potentiometric method can fulfill the “weather” goal (± 0.02) of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network in pH measurements; it might even meet the “climate” goal (± 0.003) if the difference between the salinity of the samples and the Tris buffer is small.

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Survival of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) larvae hatched at different salinity and pH conditions


  • Atlantic bluefin tuna larvae survival is related to environmental salinity.
  • Higher larval survival rates are shown at 36–38 ppt.
  • Larval survival does not change within environmental pH from 8.0 to 7.3.
  • Larval survival is related to osmoregulatory processes.


In this study, we assessed the effect of environmental salinity and pH as independent factors on larval survival of Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT –Thunnus thynnus) together with their whole-body Na+/K+-ATPase and v-type H+-ATPase activities. Fertilized eggs of ABFT were obtained from a spontaneous spawning of broodstock in the farming facilities at El Gorguel (Cartagena, SE Spain) and were transferred to facilities of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) in Mazarrón (SE Spain). In a first experiment, eggs (200 fertilized eggs L−1 per treatment, in 3 replicates) were exposed to different salinities treatments and constant pH 8.0 (control) until hatch was completed (50 h post-fertilization, hpf, at 23 °C): 27, 30, 33, 36, 37, 38 (control), 39, 40, 43, 46 and 49 ppt. In a second experiment eggs (200 fertilized eggs L−1, in 3 replicates) were exposed to seawater salinity (SW: 38 ppt) and four reduced pH treatments until hatch was completed (50 hpf at 23 °C): 8.0 (control), 7.7, 7.5 and 7.3. An inverse “U-shaped” relationship was observed between environmental salinity and number of hatched larvae. An opposite pattern was observed for both Na+/K+-ATPase and H+-ATPase activities in hatched larvae, increasing both activities in groups exposed to extreme salinities. Thus, larval survival was higher at intermediate salinities and lower at the extreme salinities tested. These results suggest higher survival rates with lower active pumps activities. No significant differences in larval survival were observed with pH treatment, but lower H+-ATPase activity was detected at control environmental pH (pH 8.0). Survival results are discussed in terms of osmoregulatory cost adapting to a salinity and pH predicted for the near future scenarios.

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The Mediterranean Rhodes gyre: modelled impacts of climate change, acidification and fishing

The Mediterranean Rhodes gyre is a cyclonic gyre with high primary production due to local upwelling of nutrients, and occasional deep overturning up to 1km depth. This nutrient-rich state is in sharp contrast to other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean which are oligotrophic. Here we study the upwelling system central to the Rhodes gyre and the impact of different stressors like meteorological changes, acidification and fishing pressure up to the year 2100. A water column model spanning the physical, chemical and biological system up to top predators (GOTM-ERSEM-BFM-EwE) was used to simulate the pelagic environment under single and combined stressors. Results show that due to increasing winter temperatures deep overturning events are becoming more rare in the future, until they stop occurring around 2060 under the business-as-usual climate scenario (RCP8.5). Stratification becomes stronger as temperature effects outweigh salinity effects in the surface mixed layer. Together with the lack of deep overturning this limits the nutrient supply to the euphotic zone, significantly reducing primary production. Phytoplankton species shift towards smaller species as nutrients become more scarce, mimicking the situation found currently on the edge of the gyre. Climatic changes and fishing pressure affected higher trophic levels in an additive way for some species (sardines, dolphins), while in a synergistic way for others (anchovy, mackerel). Acidification impacts were negligible. Fish stocks reduced significantly under the 2 climate scenarios considered: ~30% under RCP4.5 and ~40% under RCP8.5, with limited beneficial impact of MSY-level fishing, indicating a need for mitigating measures beyond fleet control.

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Abiotic stress in algae: response, signaling and transgenic approaches

High salinity, nutrient deficiency, heavy metals, desiccation, temperature fluctuations, and ultraviolet radiations are major abiotic stress factors considered inhospitable to algal growth and development in natural and artificial environments. All these stressful conditions cause effects on algal physiology and thus biochemical functioning. For instance, long-term exposure to hyper/hypo salinity conditions inhibits cell differentiation and reduces growth. Photosynthesis is completely blocked in algae’s dehydrated state, resulting in photoinhibition or photodamage. The limitation of nutrients in aquatic environments inhibits primary production via regulating phytoplankton community development and structure. Hence, in response to these stressful conditions, algae develop plenty of cellular, physiological, and morphological defences to survive and thrive. The conserved and generalized defence responses in algae include the production of secondary metabolites, desaturation of membrane lipids, activation of reactive species scavengers, and accumulation of compatible solutes. Moreover, a well-coordinated and timely response to such stresses involves signal perception and transduction mainly via phytohormones that could sustain algae growth under abiotic stress conditions. In addition, the combination of abiotic stresses and plant hormones could further elevate the biosynthesis of metabolites and enhance the ability of algae to tolerate abiotic stresses. This review aims to present different kinds of stressful conditions confronted by algae and their physiological and biochemical responses, the role of phytohormones in combatting these conditions, and, last, the future transgenic approaches for improving abiotic stress tolerance in algae.

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Temperature coefficient of seawater pH as a function of temperature, pH, DIC and salinity

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion activity in solution, which is a function of temperature. Under normal seawater conditions, it is well constrained. Nowadays, with an increasing interest in complex environments (e.g., sea ice), a better understanding of the temperature change on pH under extreme conditions is needed. The objective of this paper was to investigate the temperature coefficient of the seawater pH (∆pH/∆T) over a wide range of temperature, pH, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and salinity by a method of continuous pH measurement with the temperature change and to verify the application of CO2SYS for pH conversion under extreme conditions (on the NBS scale and the total proton scale). Both experimental results and CO2SYS calculations showed that ∆pH/∆T was slightly affected by temperature over the range of 0 to 40°C and by pH (at 25°C) from 7.8 to 8.5. However, when pH was out of this range, ∆pH/∆T varied greatly with pH value. According to the experimental results, changes in DIC from 1 mmol/kg to 5 mmol/kg and salinity from 20 to 105 had no significant effect on ∆pH/∆T. CO2SYS calculations showed a slight increase in ∆pH/∆T with DIC on both the NBS scale and the total proton scale; and underestimated ∆pH/∆T at high salinity (i.e., beyond the oceanographic range) on the NBS scale. Nevertheless, CO2SYS is still suitable for pH conversion even under extreme conditions by simply setting the input values of DIC and salinity in CO2SYS within the oceanographic range (e.g., DIC=2 mmol/kg and S=35).

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How do fungi survive in the sea and respond to climate change?

With the over 2000 marine fungi and fungal-like organisms documented so far, some have adapted fully to life in the sea, while some have the ability to tolerate environmental conditions in the marine milieu. These organisms have evolved various mechanisms for growth in the marine environment, especially against salinity gradients. This review highlights the response of marine fungi, fungal-like organisms and terrestrial fungi (for comparison) towards salinity variations in terms of their growth, spore germination, sporulation, physiology, and genetic adaptability. Marine, freshwater and terrestrial fungi and fungal-like organisms vary greatly in their response to salinity. Generally, terrestrial and freshwater fungi grow, germinate and sporulate better at lower salinities, while marine fungi do so over a wide range of salinities. Zoosporic fungal-like organisms are more sensitive to salinity than true fungi, especially Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. Labyrinthulomycota and marine Oomycota are more salinity tolerant than saprolegniaceous organisms in terms of growth and reproduction. Wide adaptability to saline conditions in marine or marine-related habitats requires mechanisms for maintaining accumulation of ions in the vacuoles, the exclusion of high levels of sodium chloride, the maintenance of turgor in the mycelium, optimal growth at alkaline pH, a broad temperature growth range from polar to tropical waters, and growth at depths and often under anoxic conditions, and these properties may allow marine fungi to positively respond to the challenges that climate change will bring. Other related topics will also be discussed in this article, such as the effect of salinity on secondary metabolite production by marine fungi, their evolution in the sea, and marine endophytes.

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Seasonal carbonate system vis-a-vis pH and salinity in selected tropical estuaries: implications on polychaete diversity and composition towards predicting ecological health


  • The role of salinity-pH gradient coupled with carbonate species on the polychaete community distribution was studied.
  • Salinity-pH was positively correlated with carbonate and DOC.
  • pCO2 was positively correlated with POC, DIC and CO2.
  • High levels of carbonate species and low pH have a greater impact on polychaete diversity and richness.


Salinity and pH play a fundamental role in structuring spatial patterns of physical properties, biota, and biogeochemical processes in the estuarine ecosystem. In this study, the influence of salinity-pH gradient and carbonate system on polychaete diversity in Ennore, Uppanar, Vellar, and Kaduvaiyar estuaries was investigated. Water and sediment samples were collected from September 2017 to August 2018. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were employed to define ecological status. Temperature, Salinity, pH, and partial pressure of carbon-di-oxide varied between 21 and 30°C; 29 and 39 ppt; 7.4 and 8.3; and 89.216 and 1702.558 µatm, respectively. PCA and CCA results revealed that DO, chlorophyll, carbonate species, and sediment TOC have a higher influence on polychaete community structure. Forty-two species such as Ancistrosyllis parva, Cossura coasta, Eunice pennata, Euclymene annandalei, Lumbrineris albidentata, Capitella capitata, Prionospio cirrifera, P. pinnata, P. cirrobranchiata, and Notomastus sp. were found dominantly in all estuaries. Shannon index values ranged between 1.619 (UE-1) and 3.376 (VE-2). Based on these findings, high levels of carbonate species and low pH have a greater impact on polychaete diversity and richness values. The results of the AMBI Index revealed that stations UE-1, UE-2, UE-3 in Uppanar, EC-1, EC-2 in Ennore indicate “moderately disturbed”, while other stations are under the “slightly disturbed” category. This trend was quite evident in M-AMBI as well.

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Can heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) serve as biomarkers in Antarctica for future ocean acidification, warming and salinity stress?

The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth. Elevated sea water temperatures cause glacier and sea ice melting. When icebergs melt into the ocean, it “freshens” the saltwater around them, reducing its salinity. The oceans absorb excess anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) causing decline in ocean pH, a process known as ocean acidification. Many marine organisms are specifically affected by ocean warming, freshening and acidification. Due to the sensitivity of Antarctica to global warming, using biomarkers is the best way for scientists to predict more accurately future climate change and provide useful information or ecological risk assessments. The 70-kilodalton (kDa) heat shock protein (HSP70) chaperones have been used as biomarkers of stress in temperate and tropical environments. The induction of the HSP70 genes (Hsp70) that alter intracellular proteins in living organisms is a signal triggered by environmental temperature changes. Induction of Hsp70 has been observed both in eukaryotes and in prokaryotes as response to environmental stressors including increased and decreased temperature, salinity, pH and the combined effects of changes in temperature, acidification and salinity stress. Generally, HSP70s play critical roles in numerous complex processes of metabolism; their synthesis can usually be increased or decreased during stressful conditions. However, there is a question as to whether HSP70s may serve as excellent biomarkers in the Antarctic considering the long residence time of Antarctic organisms in a cold polar environment which appears to have greatly modified the response of heat responding transcriptional systems. This review provides insight into the vital roles of HSP70 that make them ideal candidates as biomarkers for identifying resistance and resilience in response to abiotic stressors associated with climate change, which are the effects of ocean warming, freshening and acidification in Antarctic organisms.

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How does ocean acidification affect the early life history of Zostera marina? A series of experiments find parental carryover can benefit viability or germination

Elevated partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) as a concomitant of global climate change may facilitate the establishment of future seagrass meadows and subsequently its benefit could be incorporated into techniques to increase restoration success. In five manipulative experiments, we determined how increased CO2 affects the maturation of flowers, and the development of seeds and seedlings for the foundation species Zostera marina. Experiments tested the development from both seeds collected from non-treated flowering shoots (direct) and seeds harvested from flowering shoots after CO2 exposure (parental carryover). Flowering shoots were collected along the western coast of Sweden near the island of Skafto. The seeds produced were used in experiments conducted at Kristineberg, Sweden and Dauphin Island, AL, United States. Experiments varied in temperature (16, 18°C) and salinity (19, 33 ppt), as well as duration and magnitude of elevated CO2 exposure. Flowering maturation, spathe number, seed production, and indicators of seed quality did not appear to be affected by 39–69 days of exposure to CO2 conditions outside of natural variability (pCO2 = 1547.2 ± 267.60 μatm; pHT = 7.53 ± 0.07). Yet, seeds produced from these flowers showed twofold greater germination success. In another experiment, flowering shoots were exposed to an extreme CO2 condition (pCO2 = 5950.7 ± 1,849.82 μatm; pHT = 6.96 ± 0.15). In this case, flowers generated seeds that demonstrated a fivefold increase in an indicator for seed viability (sinking velocity). In the latter experiment, however, germination appeared unaffected. Direct CO2 effects on germination and seedling production were not observed. Our results provide evidence of a parental CO2 effect that can benefit germination or seed viability, but early benefits may not lead to bed establishment if other environmental conditions are not well suited for seedling development. Outcomes have implications for restoration; CO2 can be supplied to flowering shoot holding tanks to bolster success when the purpose is to redistribute seeds to locations where beds are extant and water quality is adequate.

Continue reading ‘How does ocean acidification affect the early life history of Zostera marina? A series of experiments find parental carryover can benefit viability or germination’

Chapter five – Interactive effects of ocean acidification and other environmental factors on marine organisms

In recent decades, the marine environment has been seriously affected by various anthropogenic activities (e.g., deforestation, fossil fuel combustion, and disordered discharges of pollutants). As a consequence, a range of changes in seawater environmental factors have taken place in oceans around the world, including increased temperature, reduced pH and dissolved oxygen, salinity fluctuation, and many other anomalous alterations in environmental factors, and these changes have aroused concerns from scientists. It has been widely reported that these changes in environmental factors would impact marine organisms severely. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that the environmental stressors mentioned above are rarely occurring independently in nature. Thus marine organisms are usually threatened by many different environmental stressors, and there would be complex and unpredicted interactions among the stressors. Generally, the interactive effects varied among additive (total effect equal to the sum of individual effects), synergistic (total effect greater than the sum of individual effects), or antagonistic (total effect less than the sum of individual effects), depending on the species and life stages of the studied organism, and the nature of the stressors themselves. It is necessary to figure out the interactive effects among various environmental stressors on specific marine organisms to accurately predict their physiological states and population dynamics under future climate scenarios. Therefore in this chapter, we summarize the related experiments in the last 20 years to discuss the interactive effects of ocean acidification (OA) combined with four other typical environmental stressors, namely ocean warming, hypoxia, salinity fluctuation, and heavy metal pollution, on marine organisms according to previously published studies. The authors hope that the contents of this chapter provide some basic information about the interactive effects of OA and the other four environmental factors for readers who are interested in this subject area.

Continue reading ‘Chapter five – Interactive effects of ocean acidification and other environmental factors on marine organisms’

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