Posts Tagged 'South Pacific'

Climate change does not affect seafood quality of a common targeted fish

Climate change can affect marine and estuarine fish via alterations to their distributions, abundances, sizes, physiology and ecological interactions, threatening the provision of ecosystem goods and services. While we have an emerging understanding of such ecological impacts to fish, we know little about the potential influence of climate change on the provision of nutritional seafood to sustain human populations. In particular, the quantity, quality and/or taste of seafood may be altered by future environmental changes with implications for the economic viability of fisheries. In an orthogonal mesocosm experiment, we tested the influence of near‐future ocean warming and acidification on the growth, health and seafood quality of a recreationally and economically important fish, yellowfin bream (Acanthopagrus australis). The growth of yellowfin bream significantly increased under near‐future temperature conditions (but not acidification), with little change in health (blood glucose and haematocrit) or tissue biochemistry and nutritional properties (fatty acids, lipids, macro‐and micronutrients, moisture, ash, and total N). Yellowfin bream appear to be highly resilient to predicted near‐future ocean climate change, which might be facilitated by their broad spatio‐temporal distribution across habitats and broad diet. Moreover, an increase in growth, but little change in tissue quality, suggests that near‐future ocean conditions will benefit fisheries and fishers that target yellowfin bream. The data reiterate the inherent resilience of yellowfin bream as an evolutionary consequence of their euryhaline status in often environmentally challenging habitats, and imply their sustainable and viable fisheries into the future.We contend that widely‐distributed species that span large geographic areas and habitats can be “climate‐winners” by being resilient to negative direct impacts of near‐future oceanic and estuarine climate change.
Continue reading ‘Climate change does not affect seafood quality of a common targeted fish’

Repeat bleaching of a central Pacific coral reef over the past six decades (1960–2016)

The oceans are warming and coral reefs are bleaching with increased frequency and severity, fueling concerns for their survival through this century. Yet in the central equatorial Pacific, some of the world’s most productive reefs regularly experience extreme heat associated with El Niño. Here we use skeletal signatures preserved in long-lived corals on Jarvis Island to evaluate the coral community response to multiple successive heatwaves since 1960. By tracking skeletal stress band formation through the 2015-16 El Nino, which killed 95% of Jarvis corals, we validate their utility as proxies of bleaching severity and show that 2015-16 was not the first catastrophic bleaching event on Jarvis. Since 1960, eight severe (>30% bleaching) and two moderate (<30% bleaching) events occurred, each coinciding with El Niño. While the frequency and severity of bleaching on Jarvis did not increase over this time period, 2015–16 was unprecedented in magnitude. The trajectory of recovery of this historically resilient ecosystem will provide critical insights into the potential for coral reef resilience in a warming world.

Continue reading ‘Repeat bleaching of a central Pacific coral reef over the past six decades (1960–2016)’

Seawater carbonate chemistry distributions across the Eastern South Pacific Ocean sampled as part of the GEOTRACES project and changes in marine carbonate chemistry over the past 20 years

The US GEOTRACES Eastern Pacific Zonal Transect in 2013 that sampled in the South Pacific Ocean has provided an opportunity to investigate the biogeochemical cycling of trace elements and isotopes (TEIs) and seawater carbon dioxide (CO2)–carbonate chemistry. Across the Peru to Tahiti section, the entire water column was sampled for total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), in addition to core hydrographic and chemical measurements conducted as part of the GEOTRACES cruise. From the nutrient-rich, low-oxygen coastal upwelling region adjacent to Peru to the oligotrophic central Pacific, very large horizontal gradients in marine carbonate chemistry were observed. Near the coast of Peru, upwelling of CO2-rich waters from the oxygen-deficient zone (ODZ) impinged at the surface with very high partial pressures of CO2 (pCO2; >800–1,200 μatm), and low pH (7.55–7.8). These waters were also undersaturated with respect to aragonite, a common calcium carbonate (CaCO3) mineral. These chemical conditions are not conducive to pelagic and shelf calcification, with shelf calcareous sediments vulnerable to CaCO3 dissolution, and to the future impacts of ocean acidification. A comparison to earlier data collected from 1991 to 1994 suggests that surface seawater DIC and pCO2 have increased by as much as 3 and 20%, respectively, while pH and saturation state for aragonite (Ωaragonite) have decreased by as much as 0.063 and 0.54, respectively. In intermediate waters (∼200–500 m), dissolved oxygen has decreased (loss of up to -43 μmoles kg-1) and nitrate increased (gain of up to 5 μmoles kg-1) over the past 20 years and this likely reflects the westward expansion of the ODZ across the central Eastern South Pacific Ocean. Over the same period, DIC and pCO2 increased by as much as +45 μmoles kg-1 and +145 μatm, respectively, while pH and Ωaragonite decreased by -0.091 and -0.45, respectively. Such rapid change in pH and CO2–carbonate chemistry over the past 20 years reflects substantial changes in the ODZ and water-column remineralization of organic matter with no direct influence from uptake of anthropogenic CO2. Estimates of anthropogenic carbon (i.e., CANT) determined using the TrOCA method showed no significant changes between 1993 and 2014 in these water masses. These findings have implications for changing the thermodynamics and solubility of intermediate water TEIs, but also for the marine ecosystem of the upper waters, especially for the vertically migrating community present in the eastern South Pacific Ocean.

Continue reading ‘Seawater carbonate chemistry distributions across the Eastern South Pacific Ocean sampled as part of the GEOTRACES project and changes in marine carbonate chemistry over the past 20 years’

Responses to climate change of the sea urchin (Pseudechinus sp.) and sea star (Odontaster validus) through hybridisation, local adaptations and transgenerational plasticity

Climate change, through ocean warming and ocean acidification, can affect the life cycles and population dynamics of marine species, which react by developing acclimation mechanisms. Sea urchins (Pseudechinus sp.) may hybridise with sympatric species or induce local adaptations geographically and sea stars (Odontaster validus) may develop transgenerational plasticity (TGP) in response to climate change. I studied their stress responses and if they developed potential acclimation capacity against climate change.

Continue reading ‘Responses to climate change of the sea urchin (Pseudechinus sp.) and sea star (Odontaster validus) through hybridisation, local adaptations and transgenerational plasticity’

Ocean acidification exacerbates the effects of paralytic shellfish toxins on the fitness of the edible mussel Mytilus chilensis


• The association between pCO2 – PST impacts negatively of the physiology of M. chilensis
• The association between pCO2 and PST may also result in indirect effect on mussel fitness.
• The inhibition of energy acquisition by PST may negatively impact mussel fitness.


High latitudes are considered particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification, since they are naturally low in carbonate ions. The edible mussel Mytilus chilensis is a common calcifier inhabiting marine ecosystems of the southern Chile, where culturing of this species is concentrated and where algal blooms produced by the toxic dinoflagellate A. catenella are becoming more frequent. Juvenile Mytilus chilensis were exposed to experimental conditions simulating two environmental phenomena: pCO2 increase and the presence of paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) produced by the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella. Individuals were exposed to two levels of pCO2: 380 μatm (control condition) and 1000 μatm (future conditions) over a period of 39 days (acclimation), followed by another period of 40 days exposure to a combination of pCO2 and PST. Both factors significantly affected most of the physiological variables measured (feeding, metabolism and scope for growth). However, these effects greatly varied over time, which can be explained by the high individual variability described for mussels exposed to different environmental conditions. Absorption efficiency was not affected by the independent effect of the toxic diet; however, the diet and pCO2 interaction affected it significantly. The inhibition of the physiological processes related with energy acquisition by diets containing PST, may negatively impact mussel fitness, which could have important consequences for both wild and cultured mussel populations, and thus, for socioeconomic development in southern Chile.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification exacerbates the effects of paralytic shellfish toxins on the fitness of the edible mussel Mytilus chilensis’

Elevated CO2 has little influence on the bacterial communities associated with the pH-tolerant coral, massive Porites spp.

Ocean acidification (OA) as a result of increased anthropogenic CO2 input into the atmosphere carries consequences for all ocean life. Low pH can cause a shift in coral-associated microbial communities of pCO2-sensitive corals, however, it remains unknown whether the microbial community is also influenced in corals known to be more tolerant to high pCO2/low pH. This study profiles the bacterial communities associated with the tissues of the pCO2-tolerant coral, massive Porites spp., from two natural CO2 seep sites in Papua New Guinea. Amplicon sequencing of the hypervariable V3-V4 regions of the 16S rRNA gene revealed that microbial communities remained stable across CO2 seep sites (pH = 7.44–7.85) and adjacent control sites (ambient pH = 8.0–8.1). Microbial communities were more significantly influenced by reef location than pH, with the relative abundance of dominant microbial taxa differing between reefs. These results directly contrast with previous findings that increased CO2 has a strong effect on structuring microbial communities. The stable structure of microbial communities associated with the tissues of massive Porites spp. under high pCO2/low pH conditions confirms a high degree of tolerance by the whole Porites holobiont to OA, and suggest that pH tolerant corals such as Porites may dominate reef assemblages in an increasingly acidic ocean.

Continue reading ‘Elevated CO2 has little influence on the bacterial communities associated with the pH-tolerant coral, massive Porites spp.’

In situ responses of the sponge microbiome to ocean acidification

Climate change is causing rapid changes in reef structure, biodiversity, and function, though most sponges are predicted to tolerate conditions projected for 2100. Sponges maintain intimate relationships with microbial symbionts, with previous studies suggesting that microbial flexibility may be pivotal to success under ocean acidification. We performed a reciprocal transplantation of the coral reef sponges Coelocarteria singaporensis and Stylissa cf. flabelliformis between a control reef site and an adjacent CO2 vent site in Papua New Guinea to explore how the sponge microbiome responds to ocean acidification. Microbial communities of C. singaporensis, which differed initially between sites, did not shift towards characteristic control or vent microbiomes, even though relative abundances of Chloroflexi and Cyanobacteria increased and that of Thaumarchaeota decreased seven months after transplantation to the control site. Microbial communities of S. cf. flabelliformis, which were initially stable between sites, did not respond specifically to transplantation but collectively exhibited a significant change over time, with a relative increase in Thaumarchaeota and decrease in Proteobacteria in all treatment groups. The lack of a community shift upon transplantation to the vent site suggests that microbial flexibility, at least in the adult life-history stage, does not necessarily underpin host survival under ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘In situ responses of the sponge microbiome to ocean acidification’

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,123,905 hits


Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book