Posts Tagged 'South Atlantic'

Coastal pH variability and the eco-physiological and behavioural response of a coastal fish species in light of future ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) is a global phenomenon referring to a decrease in ocean pH and a perturbation of the seawater carbonate system due to ever-increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. In coastal environments, identifying the impacts of OA is complex due to the multiple contributors to pH variability by coastal processes, such as freshwater inflow, upwelling, hydrodynamic processes, and biological activity. The aim of this PhD study was to quantify the local processes occurring in a temperate coastal embayment, Algoa Bay in South Africa, that contribute to pH and carbonate chemistry variability over time (monthly and 24-hour) and space (~10 km) and examine how this variability impacts a local fish species, Diplodus capensis, also commonly known as ‘blacktail’. Algoa Bay, known for its complex oceanography, is an interesting location in which to quantify carbonate chemistry variability. To assess this variability, monitoring sites were selected to coincide with the Algoa Bay Sentinel Site long-term ecological research (LTER) and continuous monitoring (CMP) programmes. The average pH at offshore sites in the bay was 8.03 ± 0.07 and at inshore sites was 8.04 ± 0.15. High pH variability (~0.55–0.61 pH units) was recorded at both offshore (>10 m depth) and inshore sites (intertidal surf zones). Many sites in the bay, especially the atypical site at Cape Recife, exhibit higher than the average pH levels (>8.04), suggesting that pH variability may be biologically driven. This is further evidenced by high diurnal variability in pH (~0.55 pH units). Although the specific drivers of the high pH variability in Algoa Bay could not be identified, baseline carbonate chemistry conditions were identified, which is necessary information to design and interpret biological experiments. Long-term, continuous monitoring is required to improve understanding of the drivers of pH variability in understudied coastal regions, like Algoa Bay.

Continue reading ‘Coastal pH variability and the eco-physiological and behavioural response of a coastal fish species in light of future ocean acidification’

Tidal action and macroalgal photosynthetic activity prevent coastal acidification in an eutrophic system within a semi-desert region

Highlights

  • Macroalgal photosynthesis (MP) controls daily pH variability during low tide.
  • Environmental factors control pH variability at seasonal scale.
  • Ulva lactuca photosynthetic activity increased the pH of seawater.
  • Macrotidal action and MP prevent coastal acidification in an eutrophic system.

Abstract

Nutrient input drive macroalgal blooms and increases in photosynthetic activity in coastal ecosystems. An intense macroalgal photosynthetic activity can increase the surrounding pH and it could prevent the acidification that often follows an eutrophication process. We tested this hypothesis with field sampling and experiments in a macrotidal (up to 9 m in amplitude) coastal system within a semi-desert region with contrasting eutrophic conditions and Ulva lactuca blooms in the northern Argentinean Patagonia (San Antonio Bay). Our results indicate that daily pH variability during low tide could be controlled by the photosynthetic activity of Ulva lactuca under eutrophic conditions. At seasonal scale, the pH variations were related to environmental features, particularly seawater temperature. Both environmental (i.e. high solar radiation, negligible freshwater inputs and, large tidal action) and anthropogenic nutrient inputs into the studied area promote the Ulva lactuca blooms, which in turn increases the surrounding pH in well oxygenated seawater through the intense photosynthetic activity. Our study shows that eutrophication instead of being a driver of acidification, could contribute to its prevention in well oxygenated marine coastal systems located within semi-desert regions.

Continue reading ‘Tidal action and macroalgal photosynthetic activity prevent coastal acidification in an eutrophic system within a semi-desert region’

Impact of increased nutrients and lowered pH on photosynthesis and growth of three marine phytoplankton communities from the coastal South West Atlantic (Patagonia, Argentina)

Effect of global change variables on the structure and photosynthesis of phytoplankton communities was evaluated in three different sites of the Patagonian coast of Argentina: enclosed bay (Puerto Madryn, PM), estuarine (Playa Unión, PU), and open waters (Isla Escondida, IE). We exposed samples to two contrasting scenarios: Present (nutrients at in situ levels) vs. Future (with lowered pH and higher nutrients inputs), and determined growth and photosynthetic responses after 2 days of acclimation. Under the Future condition phytoplankton growth was higher in the estuarine site compared to those in PM and IE. This effect was the most pronounced on large diatoms. While the increase of photosynthetic activity was not always observed in the Future scenario, the lower photosynthetic electron requirement for carbon fixation (Φe,C = ETR/PmB) in this scenario compared to the Present, suggests a more effective energy utilization. Long-term experiments were also conducted to assess the responses along a 4 days acclimation period in PU. Diatoms benefited from the Future conditions and had significantly higher growth rates than in the Present. In addition, Φe,C was lower after the acclimation period in the Future scenario, compared to the Present. Our results suggest that the availability, frequency and amount of nutrients play a key role when evaluating the effects of global change on natural phytoplankton communities. The observed changes in diatom growth under the Future scenario in PU and IE and photosynthesis may have implications in the local trophodynamics by bottom up control.

Continue reading ‘Impact of increased nutrients and lowered pH on photosynthesis and growth of three marine phytoplankton communities from the coastal South West Atlantic (Patagonia, Argentina)’

Multiple-stressor effects of warming and acidification on the embryonic development of an estuarine fiddler crab

Highlights

  • Elevated temperature accelerated early and late embryonic development.
  • Reduced pH accelerated late embryonic development.
  • Elevated temperature reduced survivorship in later stages.
  • A negative synergetic effect between pH and temperature was evidenced in egg volume.
  • > 70% of embryos well-developed under elevated temperature and reduced pH.

Abstract

Predicted effects of anthropogenic climate change on estuarine and coastal organisms are complex, and early life history stages of calcified ectotherms are amongst the most sensitive groups. Despite the importance of understanding their vulnerability, we lack information on the effects of multiple stressors on the embryonic development of estuarine and burrowing organisms, mainly mangrove-associated species. Here, we determined the combined effects of elevated temperature and decreased pH on the embryonic development of the estuarine fiddler crab Leptuca thayeri. Initially, the microhabitat (burrow) of ovigerous (egg-bearing) females was measured for temperature, pH, and salinity, which provided control values in our laboratory experiment. Embryos at the early stage of development were subjected to cross-factored treatments of predicted temperature and pH and evaluated for development rate, survivorship, and volume until their later embryonic stage. Embryo development was faster at early and later stages of development, and survivorship was lower under elevated temperature. Embryos under reduced pH showed advanced embryonic stages at their late development stage. Higher egg volume was observed in a warmer and acidified environment, and lower volume in warmer and non-acidified conditions, indicating that embryo development is synergistically affected by warming and acidification. More than 70% of embryos developed until late stages under the multiple-stressors treatment, giving insights on the effects of a warm and acidified environment on burrowing estuarine organisms and their early stages of development.

Continue reading ‘Multiple-stressor effects of warming and acidification on the embryonic development of an estuarine fiddler crab’

Anthropogenic CO2 and ocean acidification in Argentine Basin water masses over almost five decades of observations

Highlights

  • In the Argentine Basin there is an increase in anthropogenic carbon at all depths.
  • Acidification by carbon uptake is being enhanced by natural processes.
  • The loss of carbonate affects upper and intermediate water masses: SACW, SAMW, AAIW
  • The imminent carbonate undersaturation in AAIW is virtually unavoidable.

Abstract

The chemical conditions of the Argentine Basin (western South Atlantic Ocean) water masses are evaluated with measurements from eleven hydrographic cruises to detect and quantify anthropogenic and natural stressors in the ocean carbon system. The database covers almost half-century (1972-2019), a time-span where the mean annual atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (CO2atm) increased from 325 to 408 parts per million of volume (ppm). This increase of atmospheric CO2 (83 ppm, the 64% of the total anthropogenic signal in the atmosphere) leads to an increase in anthropogenic carbon (Cant) across all the water column and the consequent ocean acidification: a decrease in excess carbonate that is unequivocal in the upper (South Atlantic Central Water, SACW) and intermediate water masses (Sub Antarctic Mode Water, SAMW and Antarctic Intermediate Water, AAIW). For each additional ppm in CO2atm the water masses SACW, SAMW and AAIW lose excess carbonate at a rate of 0.39±0.04, 0.47±0.05 and 0.23±0.03 μmol·kg-1·ppm-1 respectively. Modal and intermediate water masses in the Argentine Basin are very sensitive to carbon increases due low buffering capacity. The large rate of AAIW acidification is the synergic effect of carbon uptake combined with deoxygenation and increased remineralization of organic matter. If CO2 emissions follows the path of business-as-usual emissions (SSP 5.85), SACW would become undersaturated with respect to aragonite at the end of the century. The undersaturation in AAIW is virtually unavoidable.

Continue reading ‘Anthropogenic CO2 and ocean acidification in Argentine Basin water masses over almost five decades of observations’

Primary, secondary, and tertiary stress responses of juvenile seahorse Hippocampus reidi exposed to acute acid stress in brackish and seawater

Highlights

• Activity of antioxidant enzymes was harmed in seahorse juveniles exposed to acidic environment in brackish water.

• Lower tolerance for acidification in brackish water triggered lipid peroxidation in seahorse juveniles.

• Seahorse juvenile survival was not influenced by pH neither in brackish nor in sea water.

Abstract

Seahorse Hippocampus reidi is a vulnerable species, inhabiting estuarine and coastal waters. The safety of acidic environments for fish has been considered in terms of ocean acidification in nature and decreasing pH in intensive aquaculture systems. This study aimed to investigate the effects of acute exposition (96 h) of juvenile seahorses to different pH (5, 6, 7, and 8) in brackish (BW – salinity 11) or seawater (SW – salinity 33). For that, we studied the responses of cortisol, oxidative stress, and survival, thus covering primary, secondary, and tertiary stress responses. In SW, cortisol levels were not altered for fish maintained at pH 5 and 8. However, in BW, cortisol was higher for fish kept at pH 5. Regarding secondary stress responses, only GST activity increased with acidification in SW. However, acidification in BW caused biochemical alterations at enzymatic level (SOD, GST, GPx) and glutathione metabolism, accompanied by reduction of antioxidant capacity (TEAC) and increased lipid peroxidation (TBARS). Survival was always above 90% and it did not differ significantly among pH levels. Our results suggest that H. reidi juveniles are more vulnerable to acidic exposure in BW than in SW.

Continue reading ‘Primary, secondary, and tertiary stress responses of juvenile seahorse Hippocampus reidi exposed to acute acid stress in brackish and seawater’

Influence of acidification and warming of seawater on biofouling by bacteria grown over API 5L steel

The acidification and warming of seawater have several impacts on marine organisms, including over microorganisms. The influence of acidification and warming of seawater on biofilms grown on API 5L steel surfaces was evaluated by sequencing the 16S ribosomal gene. For this, three microcosms were designed, the first simulating the natural marine environment (MCC), the second with a decrease in pH from 8.1 to 7.9, and an increase in temperature by 2 °C (MMS), and the third with pH in around 7.7 and an increase in temperature of 4 °C (MES). The results showed that MCC was dominated by the Gammaproteobacteria class, mainly members of the Alteromonadales Order. The second most abundant group was Alphaproteobacteria, with a predominance of Rhodobacterales and Oceanospirillales. In the MMS system there was a balance between representatives of the Gammaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria classes. In MES there was an inversion in the representations of the most prevalent classes previously described in MCC. In this condition, there was a predominance of members of the Alphaproteobacteria Class, in contrast to the decrease in the abundance of Gammaproteobacteria members. These results suggest that possible future climate changes may influence the dynamics of the biofouling process in surface metals.

Continue reading ‘Influence of acidification and warming of seawater on biofouling by bacteria grown over API 5L steel’

Ocean circulation drives the variability of the carbon system in the Eastern Tropical Atlantic

The carbon system in the eastern tropical Atlantic remains poorly known. The variability and drivers of the carbon system are assessed using surface dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), alkalinity (TA) and fugacity of CO2 (fCO2) measured in the 12° N–12° S, 12° W–12° E region from 2005 to 2019. A relationship linking DIC to temperature, salinity and year has been determined, with salinity being the strongest predictor. The seasonal variations of DIC, ranging from 80 to 120 mol kg−1, are more important than the year-to-year variability that is less than 50 mol kg−1 over the 2010–2019 period. DIC and TA concentrations are lower in the northern part of the basin where surface waters are fresher and warmer. Carbon supply dominates over biological carbon uptake during the productive upwelling period from July to September. The lowest DIC and TA are located in the Congo plume. The influence of the Congo is still observed at the mooring at 6° S, 8° E as shown by large salinity and chlorophyll variations. Nevertheless, this site is a source of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

Continue reading ‘Ocean circulation drives the variability of the carbon system in the Eastern Tropical Atlantic’

Effects of ocean acidification on growth, pigment contents and antioxidant potential of the subtropical Atlantic red alga Hypnea pseudomusciformis Nauer, Cassano & M.C. Oliveira (Gigartinales) in laboratory

Marine ecosystems are subject to several modifications due to anthropogenic impacts, including ocean acidification caused by the absorption of excessive CO2 present in the atmosphere. Perspectives are for dramatic modifications in seawater pH and more than 60% of the ocean surface impacted over the next 100 years by global change. In this study, ocean acidification scenarios were simulated by CO2 enrichment into seawater in three pH levels (8.0, 7.6 and 7.2) using a bioreactor system in laboratory conditions. Experimental evaluation was performed with Hypnea pseudomusciformis Nauer, Cassano & M.C. Oliveira due to its great importance in coastal marine ecosystems for primary production and commercial interest. Contrary to our initial hypothesis, the growth rate of H. pseudomusciformis decreased significantly with decreased pH conditions, even with increased availability of CO2. The maximum quantum yield and chlorophyll a content were also negatively affected by the pH reduction, while an increase in antioxidant activity was observed, indicating physiological stress. The physiological responses to decreased pH conditions reflect the importance of species-level studies and corroborate the changes caused by the ocean acidification on the macroalgal species.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on growth, pigment contents and antioxidant potential of the subtropical Atlantic red alga Hypnea pseudomusciformis Nauer, Cassano & M.C. Oliveira (Gigartinales) in laboratory’

Photoprotection and antioxidative metabolism in Ulva lactuca exposed to coastal oceanic acidification scenarios in the presence of Irgarol

Highlights

  • Photosynthetic yield is affected by low pH in assays with and without Irgarol.
  • Membrane damage and antioxidant activities increased in low pH added to Irgarol.
  • H2O2 content and lipid peroxidation were not affected by low pH isolated.
  • U.lactuca is tolerant to low pH by triggering photoprotector mechanisms.
  • Protective mechanisms could not avoid the simultaneous effects of low pH and Irgarol.

Abstract

Anthropogenic changes such as ocean acidification, eutrophication, and the release of hazardous chemicals affect coastal environments and aquatic organisms. We investigated the effects of seawater pH (7.4 and 8.2) isolated and in combination with Irgarol on Ulva lactuca. Stress indicators such as membrane damage, lipid peroxidation, and hydrogen peroxide content were assessed. In addition, chlorophyll fluorescence and antioxidant enzyme activities were measured. The photosynthetic yield was affected by low pH in assays with and without Irgarol. However, the combination of low pH and Irgarol promoted photoinhibition, besides the induction of non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) and changes in photosynthetic pigment contents. The induction of NPQ was directly influenced by low pH. The membrane damage was increased in low pH with and without Irgarol exposure. Total soluble protein and carbohydrate contents decreased in low pH, and in presence of Irgarol. The H2O2 content and lipid peroxidation were not affected by low pH. In contrast, Irgarol exposure strongly increased lipid peroxidation in both pHs, suggesting a possible synergistic effect. To avoid the harmful effects of high H2O2U. lactuca increased antioxidant enzyme activities in treatments under low pH and in presence of Irgarol. Our results indicate that U. lactuca is tolerant to low pH by inducing NPQ, changing pigment contents, and increasing antioxidant defenses. In contrast, these protective mechanisms could not avoid the harmful effects of the combination with Irgarol.

Continue reading ‘Photoprotection and antioxidative metabolism in Ulva lactuca exposed to coastal oceanic acidification scenarios in the presence of Irgarol’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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