Posts Tagged 'South Atlantic'

Ocean acidification studies and the uncertainties relevance on measurements of marine carbonate system properties

The global ocean has a key role on the Earth’s climate system. It possesses a direct connection with the atmospheric gases, including the greenhouses, allowing exchanges between those compartments and oceanic storage of carbon. Through the years, this exchange of gases occurred based on gas equilibrium between ocean and atmosphere. After the Industrial Revolution, human activities have increased the emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), which changed the atmospheric concentration from ~280 ppm of CO2 to values as high as 391 ppm between c.a. 1750 and 2011 (Ciais et al., 2013). Recently, the measured CO2 atmospheric values are ranging near or above 400 ppm, as recorded by the Mauna Loa observatory, in Hawaii (daily CO2 measurements information available on www.scripps.ucsd.edu). A regional study in the south-southeast Brazilian continental shelf agrees with this value, which has measured an average of 396.7±2.5 ppm in the atmosphere during the spring of October 2014 (Kerr et al., 2016). This enhancement is reflected in the ocean, which has absorbed about 25% to 30% of the anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 emissions (Sabine and Tanhua, 2010); Le Quére et al., 2016). The CO2 uptake by the oceans directly affects the seawater chemistry and marine biogeochemical processes, impacting both the ecosystems and their respective biota (Doney et al., 2009).

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification studies and the uncertainties relevance on measurements of marine carbonate system properties’

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)’

Seawater acidification and anthropogenic carbon distribution on the continental shelf and slope of the western South Atlantic Ocean

Highlights

• We have measured hydrographic and carbonate system parameters in the western South Atlantic Ocean (WSAO).
• AT and CT are governed by calcification/dissolution and dilution/evaporation processes in the WSAO.
• Cant has already invaded the central and intermediate layers in the WSAO.
• The acidification of SACW and AAIW resulted in long-term pH changes of −0.17 ± 0.07 and −0.10 ± 0.06, respectively

Abstract

Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution have led to increases in the flux of CO2 into the oceans. A large fraction of this increased flux occurs due to anthropogenic carbon (Cant), i.e., the excess carbon released by human activities. The oceans take up large amounts of Cant, and this process likely affects calcifying organisms and the formation and dissolution of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). In this study, we measured hydrographic and carbonate system parameters in the western South Atlantic Ocean (WSAO). This region is key for understanding climate issues; however, it remains understudied, especially regarding the drivers of ocean acidification and its effects on marine organisms and ecosystems. Using novel data collected in this undersampled area of the global ocean, we (i) determined values of the marine carbonate system parameters and (ii) characterized the seawater acidification state along the western boundary current off the southeastern and southern coasts of Brazil. Specifically, we measured total alkalinity (AT) and pH and applied the TrOCA approach (to derive the Cant storage in the water masses) in the study area. Our results show that (i) AT and the dissolved inorganic carbon distribution in the study region are governed by calcification/dissolution and dilution/evaporation processes and that (ii) Cant is present in the central and intermediate water masses at an average concentration (± method precision) of 75.0 ± 6.6 μmol kg−1 and at depths of up to ~1000 m. The highest concentrations are observed in the lower levels of the Tropical Water (TW), although we cannot exclude an overestimated Cant concentration in this layer, and the South Atlantic Central Water (SACW). These findings suggest that cross-shelf processes likely contribute to increased Cant along western boundary current systems. The storage of Cant in the SACW and the Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) has led to long-term pH decreases of −0.17 ± 0.07 and −0.10 ± 0.06 pH units, respectively.

Continue reading ‘Seawater acidification and anthropogenic carbon distribution on the continental shelf and slope of the western South Atlantic Ocean’

Oxidative stress in the hydrocoral Millepora alcicornis exposed to CO2-driven seawater acidification

Global impacts are affecting negatively coral reefs’ health worldwide. Ocean acidification associated with the increasing CO2 partial pressure in the atmosphere can potentially induce oxidative stress with consequent cellular damage in corals and hydrocorals. In the present study, parameters related to oxidative status were evaluated in the hydrocoral Millepora alcicornis exposed to three different levels of seawater acidification using a mesocosm system. CO2-driven acidification of seawater was performed until reaching 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 pH units below the current pH of seawater pumped from the coral reef adjacent to the mesocosm. Therefore, treatments corresponded to control (pH 8.1), mild (pH 7.8), intermediate (pH 7.5) and severe (pH 7.2) seawater acidification. After 0, 16 and 30 d of exposure, hydrocorals were collected and the following parameters were analyzed in the holobiont: antioxidant capacity against peroxyl radicals (ACAP), total glutathione (GSHt) concentration, reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) glutathione ratio (GSH/GSSG), lipid peroxidation (LPO) and protein carbonyl group (PC) levels. ACAP was increased in hydrocorals after 16 d of exposure to intermediate levels of seawater acidification. GSHt and GSH/GSSG did not change over the experimental period. LPO was increased at any level of seawater acidification, while PC content was increased in hydrocorals exposed to intermediate and severe seawater acidification for 30 d. These findings indicate that the antioxidant defense system of M. alcicornis is capable of coping with acidic conditions for a short period of time (16 d). Additionally, they clearly show that a long-term (30 d) exposure to seawater acidification induces oxidative stress with consequent oxidative damage to lipids and proteins, which could compromise hydrocoral health.

Continue reading ‘Oxidative stress in the hydrocoral Millepora alcicornis exposed to CO2-driven seawater acidification’

Alkalinity, inorganic carbon and CO2 flux variability during extreme rainfall years (2010-2011) in two polluted tropical estuaries NE Brazil

The susceptibility of coastal environments to shifts in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nutrients driven by anthropogenic pressure and climate change is a real challenge for the scientific community. This paper evaluated the effects of an extreme rainfall event over the nutrients and carbonate parameters in two polluted tropical estuaries. Surface water samples were taken seasonally along a salinity gradient in the Capibaribe and Barra de Jangadas estuaries in order to investigate the spatial and seasonal variability of dissolved nutrients, chlorophyll-a, dissolved oxygen, total alkalinity, inorganic carbon, partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) and CO2 fluxes. The increased riverine influence caused by the fluvial flooding during the extremely rainy season augmented the nitrogen concentrations in the plumes, which also presented reduced salinity, alkalinity and dissolved oxygen values. In the Capibaribe plume it has also shifted the mean CO2 flux value of – 4.01 mmolC m-2 d-1 during the dry season, to a positive mean flux of + 5.7 mmolC m-2 d-1 during the rainy season. Within the estuaries the BOD5,20 and dissolved phosphorus values were higher during the dry season (p<0.0001), they showed positive correlation with the phytoplanktonic blooms that reached a chl-a value of 85 mg m-3 in the Capibaribe. The high alkalinity found in both estuaries, with mean values between dry and wet seasons respectively from 1808 to 1373 µmol kg-1 in the Capibaribe estuary and 1616 to 1058 µmol kg-1 in Barra de Jangadas estuary, may act as a buffer to the process of coastal acidification due to eutrophication. The increased rivers discharge lead to a greater transport of organic matter and nutrients to the coast, decreasing the oxygen availability and shifting the metabolic status of the estuarine plume to heterotrophic, whereas increased the water quality within the estuaries due the flushing promoted by the extreme rainfall event.

Continue reading ‘Alkalinity, inorganic carbon and CO2 flux variability during extreme rainfall years (2010-2011) in two polluted tropical estuaries NE Brazil’

Dual role of DOM in a scenario of global change on photosynthesis and structure of coastal phytoplankton from the South Atlantic Ocean

Highlights

• In a future scenario, attenuation by DOM outcompetes its physico-chemical role.
• Global change conditions will favor growth and photosynthesis of nanoplankton.
• Global change favors growth and photosynthesis of nano- as compared to microplankton.

Abstract

We evaluated the dual role of DOM (i.e., as a source of inorganic nutrients and as an absorber of solar radiation) on a phytoplankton community of the western South Atlantic Ocean. Using a combination of microcosms and a cluster approach, we simulated the future conditions of some variables that are highly influenced by global change in the region. We increased nutrients (i.e., anthropogenic input) and dissolved organic matter (DOM), and we decreased the pH, to assess their combined impact on growth rates (μ), species composition/abundance and size structure, and photosynthesis (considering in this later also the effects of light quality i.e., with and without ultraviolet radiation). We simulated two Future conditions (Fut) where nutrients and pH were similarly manipulated, but in one the physical role of DOM (Futout) was assessed whereas in the other (Futin) the physico-chemical role was evaluated; these conditions were compared with a control (Present condition, Pres). The μ significantly increased in both Fut conditions as compared to the Pres, probably due to the nutrient addition and acidification in the former. The highest μ were observed in the Futout, due to the growth of nanoplanktonic flagellates and diatoms. Cells in the Futin were photosynthetically less efficient as compared to those of the Futout and Pres, but these physiological differences, also between samples with or without solar UVR observed at the beginning of the experiment, decreased with time hinting for an acclimation process. The knowledge of the relative importance of both roles of DOM is especially important for coastal areas that are expected to receive higher inputs and will be more acidified in the future.

Continue reading ‘Dual role of DOM in a scenario of global change on photosynthesis and structure of coastal phytoplankton from the South Atlantic Ocean’

Influence of ocean acidification on elemental mass balances and particulate organic matter stoichiometry in natural plankton communities  

The oceanic uptake of anthropogenic CO2 leads to a gradual acidification of the ocean. Ocean acidification (OA) is known to affect marine biota from the organism to the ecosystem level but with largely unknown consequences for the cycling of key elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. However, the ocean’s ability to absorb anthropogenic carbon or to provide sufficient food for humankind depends on these oceanic material cycles. This doctoral dissertation thus aimed to assess the influence of OA on biogeochemical cycles of elements in natural pelagic food webs of several trophic levels (up to fish larvae) over extended time scales of weeks to months. Large-scale pelagic mesocosms (up to 75 m3 per unit) were deployed in different marine ecosystems and new methods were developed to quantify the downward flux of particulate organic matter under simulated OA. This thesis reports on the potential influence of OA on element pool partitioning and particulate organic matter stoichiometry with consequences for biogeochemical cycling of elements in the ocean. Furthermore the potential and limitations of biogeochemical measurements inside pelagic mesocosms that host entire plankton communities are elucidated.

Continue reading ‘Influence of ocean acidification on elemental mass balances and particulate organic matter stoichiometry in natural plankton communities  ‘


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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