Posts Tagged 'South Atlantic'

Harmful effects of cocaine byproduct in the reproduction of sea urchin in different ocean acidification scenarios


• Impact of different acidification scenarios by enrichment of CO2 on contaminants of emerging concern.

• Toxicity of a cocaine byproduct in different scenarios of ocean acidification.

• Combined effects of crack cocaine and low pH on reproduction of sea urchin.

• Hazards and risks of illicit drugs pose to public health and the environment.


This study has as main objective assessing the toxicity of crack-cocaine combined with different scenarios of ocean acidification on fertilization rate and embryo-larval development of Echinometra lucunter sea urchin. Effects on early life stages were assessed at five different concentrations (6,25 mg.L-1; 12,5 mg.L-1; 25 mg.L-1; 50 mg.L-1 and 100 mg.L-1) of crack-cocaine at four different pH values (8.5; 8.0; 7.5; 7.0). The pH values were achieved using two different methodologies: adding hydrochloric acid (HCl) and injecting carbon dioxide (CO2). The fertilization test did not show significant differences (p≤0.05) compared with control sample at pH values 8.5; 8.0 and 7.5. Results of embryo-larval assays showed a half maximal effective concentration (EC50) of crack-cocaine at pH values tested (8.5, 8.0, 7.5) as 58.83, 10.67 and 11.58 mg/L-1 for HCl acidification and 58.83, 23.28 and 12.57 mg/L-1 for CO2 enrichment. At pH 7.0 the effects observed in fertilization rate and embryo development were associated with the acidification. This study is the first ecotoxicological assessment of illicit drug toxicity in aquatic ecosystems at different ocean acidification scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Harmful effects of cocaine byproduct in the reproduction of sea urchin in different ocean acidification scenarios’

The effect of Agulhas eddies on absorption and transport of anthropogenic carbon in the South Atlantic Ocean

The South Atlantic Ocean is currently undergoing significant alterations due to climate change. This region is important to the global carbon cycle, but marine carbon data are scarce in this basin. Additionally, this region is influenced by Agulhas eddies. However, their effects on ocean biogeochemistry are not yet fully understood. Thus, we aimed to model the carbonate parameters in this region and investigate the anthropogenic carbon (Cant) content in 13 eddies shed by the Agulhas retroflection. We used in situ data from the CLIVAR/WOCE/A10 section to elaborate total dissolved inorganic carbon (CT) and total alkalinity (AT) models and reconstruct those parameters using in situ data from two other Brazilian initiatives. Furthermore, we applied the Tracer combining Oxygen, inorganic Carbon, and total Alkalinity (TrOCA) method to calculate the Cant, focusing on the 13 identified Agulhas eddies. The CT and AT models presented root mean square errors less than 1.66 and 2.19 μmol kg−1, indicating Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network climate precision. The Cant content in the Agulhas eddies was 23% higher than that at the same depths of the surrounding waters. We observed that Agulhas eddies can play a role in the faster acidification of the South Atlantic Central Water.

Continue reading ‘The effect of Agulhas eddies on absorption and transport of anthropogenic carbon in the South Atlantic Ocean’

Effects of chronic hypercapnia and elevated temperature on the immune response of the spiny lobster, Jasus lalandii


• Lobsters are very efficient at rendering an injected dose of bacteria non-culturable.
• There is an interactive effects of temperature and pH on lobster immunity.
• Haemocyte numbers are reduced following chronic exposure to hypercapnia/high temperature.
• Chronic exposure to hypercapnia/high temperature does not affect the ability of J. lalandii to defend itself against bacterial infection.


The West Coast rock lobster (WCRL), Jasus lalandii, inhabits highly variable environments frequented by upwelling events, episodes of hypercapnia and large temperature variations. Coupled with the predicted threat of ocean acidification and temperature change for the coming centuries, the immune response in this crustacean will most likely be affected. We therefore tested the hypothesis that chronic exposure to hypercapnia and elevated seawater temperature will alter immune function of the WCRL. The chronic effects of four combinations of two stressors (seawater pCO2 and temperature) on the total number of circulating haemocytes (THC) as well as on the lobsters’ ability to clear (inactivate) an injected dose of Vibrio anguillarum from haemolymph circulation were assessed. Juvenile lobsters were held in normocapnic (pH 8.01) or hypercapnic (pH 7.34) conditions at two temperatures (15.6 and 18.9 °C) for 48 weeks (n = 30 lobster per treatment), after which a subsample of lobsters (n = 8/treatment), all at a similar moult stage, were selected from each treatment for the immune challenge. Baseline levels of haemocytes (THC ml−1) and bacteria (CFU ml−1) in their haemolymph were quantified 24 h prior to bacterial challenge. Lobsters were then challenged by injecting 4 × 104 V. anguillarum per g body weight directly into the cardiac region of each lobster and circulating haemocyte and culturable bacteria were measured at 20 min post challenge. No significant differences in THC ml−1 (p < 0.05) were observed between any of the treatment groups prior to the bacterial challenge. However lobsters chronically exposed to a combination of hypercapnia and low temperature had significantly higher (p < 0.05) THCs post-challenge in comparison with lobsters chronically exposed to hypercapnia and high temperature. A significant interactive effect was recorded between temperature and pH for the post-challenge THC data (two-way ANOVA, p = 0.0025). Lobster were very efficient at rendering an injected dose of bacteria non-culturable, with more than 83% of the theoretical challenge dose (∼1.7 × 105 Vibrio ml−1 haemolymph) inactivated within the first 10 min following injection. Although differences in the inactivation of V. anguillarum were observed between treatment groups, none of these differences were significant. Clearance efficiency was in the following order: Hypercapnia/low temperature > normocapnia/high temperature > normocapnia/low temperature > hypercapnia/high temperature. This study demonstrated that despite chronic exposure to combinations of reduced seawater pH and high temperature, the WCRL was still capable of rapidly rendering an injected dose of bacteria non-culturable.

Continue reading ‘Effects of chronic hypercapnia and elevated temperature on the immune response of the spiny lobster, Jasus lalandii’

Isotopic fractionation of carbon during uptake by phytoplankton across the South Atlantic subtropical convergence

The stable isotopic composition of particulate organic carbon (δ13CPOC) in the surface waters of the global ocean can vary with the aqueous CO2 concentration ([CO2(aq)]) and affects the trophic transfer of carbon isotopes in the marine food web. Other factors such as cell size, growth rate and carbon concentrating mechanisms decouple this observed correlation. Here, the variability in δ13CPOC is investigated in surface waters across the south subtropical convergence (SSTC) in the Atlantic Ocean, to determine carbon isotope fractionation (εp) by phytoplankton and the contrasting mechanisms of carbon uptake in the subantarctic and subtropical water masses. Our results indicate that cell size is the primary determinant of δ13CPOC across the Atlantic SSTC in summer. Combining cell size estimates with CO2 concentrations, we can accurately estimate εp within the varying surface water masses in this region. We further utilize these results to investigate future changes in εp with increased anthropogenic carbon availability. Our results suggest that smaller cells, which are prevalent in the subtropical ocean, will respond less to increased [CO2(aq)] than the larger cells found south of the SSTC and in the wider Southern Ocean. In the subantarctic water masses, isotopic fractionation during carbon uptake will likely increase, both with increasing CO2 availability to the cell, but also if increased stratification leads to decreases in average community cell size. Coupled with decreasing δ13C of [CO2(aq)] due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions, this change in isotopic fractionation and lowering of δ13CPOC may propagate through the marine food web, with implications for the use of δ13CPOC as a tracer of dietary sources in the marine environment.

Continue reading ‘Isotopic fractionation of carbon during uptake by phytoplankton across the South Atlantic subtropical convergence’

Seagrass can mitigate negative ocean acidification effects on calcifying algae

The ultimate effect that ocean acidification (OA) and warming will have on the physiology of calcifying algae is still largely uncertain. Responses depend on the complex interactions between seawater chemistry, global/local stressors and species-specific physiologies. There is a significant gap regarding the effect that metabolic interactions between coexisting species may have on local seawater chemistry and the concurrent effect of OA. Here, we manipulated CO2 and temperature to evaluate the physiological responses of two common photoautotrophs from shallow tropical marine coastal ecosystems in Brazil: the calcifying alga Halimeda cuneata, and the seagrass Halodule wrightii. We tested whether or not seagrass presence can influence the calcification rate of a widespread and abundant species of Halimeda under OA and warming. Our results demonstrate that under elevated CO2, the high photosynthetic rates of H. wrightii contribute to raise H. cuneata calcification more than two-fold and thus we suggest that H. cuneata populations coexisting with H. wrightii may have a higher resilience to OA conditions. This conclusion supports the more general hypothesis that, in coastal and shallow reef environments, the metabolic interactions between calcifying and non-calcifying organisms are instrumental in providing refuge against OA effects and increasing the resilience of the more OA-susceptible species.

Continue reading ‘Seagrass can mitigate negative ocean acidification effects on calcifying algae’

Implicações fisiológicas e ecológicas de interações interespecíficas nos bentos marinho-subsídio para o entendimento de cenários atuais e futuros (in Portuguese)

Biotic interactions are increasingly known to shape ecosystem community structure. Recently, there has been a renewed focus on species interactions in light of global change, especially ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) in marine ecosystems. In coastal environments, macroalgae are among the most important taxa as they are often the most abundant primary producers and form the base of food webs. However, due to their sedentary nature, they are also vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In order to better understand how species interactions will be affected by climate change stressors, a solid understanding of how interspecies interactions operate under present-day conditions is needed. The first chapter of this thesis attempts to characterize seasonal variation in macroalgal physiology and biochemistry, and how interspecific interactions might affect algal fitness and palatability to a sea urchin herbivore (Echinometra lucunter). Specimens of Jania rubens, Sargassum cymosum, and Ulva lactuca were collected from monospecific patches or from associations , where individuals were in physical contact with another species, in both summer and winter. Net photosynthesis, nitrogen reductase activity, and pigment, phenolic and carbonate content of algae were evaluated among different associations across the two seasons. The results indicate that in addition to seasonal variation in most parameters measured, interactions between algae could change in both magnitude and sign (positive, negative or neutral) in different seasons. The no-choice herbivory assay (conducted in winter) revealed that both Jania and Ulva were consumed at higher rates when they were associated with each other, whereas Sargassum was not affected. These results suggest that macroalgae may influence the physiology and biochemical composition of neighboring species and subsequently affect their palatability, which may influence local community structure. To further evaluate effects of species interactions under climate change stressors, an experiment was performed to assess algal-herbivore interactions under OW and OA conditions. The most preferentially consumed algae from the first experiment (Jania rubens) and the sea urchin E. lucunter were evaluated in a 21-day mesocosm study with treatments of control, OW, OA, and OW+OA. Algal physiology was unaffected by increased temperature (+4°C) and pCO2 (1,000 ppm), but changes in the biochemical composition of the algal tissue were found. Metabolic rates of the sea urchin E. lucunter were higher in the ambient temperature, high pCO2 treatment, and feeding assays showed that this influenced consumption, with increased feeding rates in this treatment. The results here show that although algal biochemical composition was affected by future pCO2, at least in the short term, direct effects to sea urchin metabolism were more important for impacting this algae-herbivore interaction.

Continue reading ‘Implicações fisiológicas e ecológicas de interações interespecíficas nos bentos marinho-subsídio para o entendimento de cenários atuais e futuros (in Portuguese)’

The sea-air CO2 net fluxes in the South Atlantic Ocean and the role played by Agulhas eddies


• A mean FCO2 of −3.76 mmol m−2 d−1 was obtained in the FORSA cruise track.
• An Agulhas eddy can uptake up to −3.16 kg CO2 d−1, leading to −2.5 t CO2 lifetime−1.
• The seawater temperature is the main driver of the CO2 variability in the SAO.


The South Atlantic Ocean is vitally important to the global overturning circulation, which is influenced by heat, salt and other properties carried by Agulhas eddies. However, this influence is not yet fully understood, mainly in the context of the biogeochemistry changes on the CO2 system. This study uses in situ data obtained during the Following Ocean Rings in the South Atlantic cruise, which occurred between Cape Town, South Africa and Arraial do Cabo, Brazil in July 2015 when six eddies and the surrounding waters were sampled. The seawater and atmospheric CO2 molar fraction, surface temperature and salinity were continuously measured to calculate the oceanic and atmospheric CO2 partial pressures (pCO2sw and pCO2atm, respectively). This study investigated the role played by the Agulhas eddies in the sea-air CO2 net flux (FCO2) and modeled the seawater CO2 as a function of environmental parameters. The mean pCO2sw and pCO2atm for the entire region were 351.5 and 390.6 μatm, respectively. The mean difference (ΔpCO2) was −39.1 μatm. The CO2 uptake was dominated by temperature (r = 0.88) during the period analyzed. The mean FCO2 was −3.76 and −3.62 mmol m−2 d−1 using two different KT-models. We show that an Agulhas eddy can contribute to an ocean uptake of −3.16 kg CO2 d−1, leading to the capture of approximately 2.52 t CO2 lifetime−1. Thus, providing evidence that the Agulhas eddies propagation can likely play a key role on the rapid seawater acidification of the South Atlantic Central Water. A multiple linear regression model was developed that could reliably reconstruct the cruise survey with better results than previously published.

Continue reading ‘The sea-air CO2 net fluxes in the South Atlantic Ocean and the role played by Agulhas eddies’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book