Posts Tagged 'South Pacific'

Greenhouse gases, nutrients and the carbonate system in the Reloncaví Fjord (Northern Chilean Patagonia): implications on aquaculture of the mussel, Mytilus chilensis, during an episodic volcanic eruption

• A large bloom of phytoplankton was detected in the surface waters of the Reloncaví fjord following the Calbuco volcano eruption.

• Subsequent to the Calbuco volcano eruption, higher N2O, CH4 and SO42− concentrations were observed in Fjord surface waters close to areas of river discharge.

• Optimal juvenile mussel growth was observed in refugee subsurface depths coinciding with increased aragonite saturation.

• Thus, the observed trends in the carbonate system and nutrient outputs may be valuable for developing effective management strategies for mussel aquaculture in the Reloncaví Fjord.

This study investigates the immediate and mid-term effects of the biogeochemical variables input into the Reloncaví fjord (41°40′S; 72°23′O) as a result of the eruption of Calbuco volcano. Reloncaví is an estuarine system supporting one of the largest mussels farming production within Northern Chilean-Patagonia. Field-surveys were conducted immediately after the volcanic eruption (23–30 April 2015), one month (May 2015), and five months posterior to the event (September 2015). Water samples were collected from three stations along the fjord to determine greenhouse gases [GHG: methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O)], nutrients [NO3−, NO2−, PO43−, Si(OH)4, sulphate (SO42−)], and carbonate systems parameters [total pH (pHT), temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (O2), and total alkalinity (AT)]. Additionally, the impact of physicochemical changes in the water column on juveniles of the produced Chilean blue mussel, Mytilus chilensis, was also studied. Following the eruption, a large phytoplankton bloom led to an increase in pHT, due to the uptake of dissolved-inorganic carbon in photic waters, potentially associated with the runoff of continental soil covered in volcanic ash. Indeed, high surface SO42− and GHG were observed to be associated with river discharges. No direct evidence of the eruption was observed within the carbonate system. Notwithstanding, a vertical pattern was observed, with an undersaturation of aragonite (ΩAr < 1) both in brackish surface (10 m), and saturated values in subsurface waters (3 to 7 m). Simultaneously, juvenile mussel shells showed maximized length and weight at 4 m depth. Results suggest a localized impact of the volcanic eruption on surface GHG, nutrients and short-term effects on the carbonate system. Optimal conditions for mussel calcification were identified within a subsurface refuge in the fjord. These specific attributes can be integrated into adaptation strategies by the mussel aquaculture industry to confront ocean acidification and changing runoff conditions.

Continue reading ‘Greenhouse gases, nutrients and the carbonate system in the Reloncaví Fjord (Northern Chilean Patagonia): implications on aquaculture of the mussel, Mytilus chilensis, during an episodic volcanic eruption’

Ocean acidification impacts in select Pacific Basin coral reef ecosystems

In the vast tropical Pacific Basin islands, corals reef ecosystems are one of the defining marine habitats, critical for maintaining biodiversity and supporting highly productive fisheries. These reefs are also vital for tourism and armoring exposed shorelines against erosion and other storm-related effects. Since the 1980’s, there has been growing evidence that these Pacific Basin coral reef ecosystems are highly vulnerable to the combined effects of both climatic and non-climatic stressors. Observations of widespread bleaching in the region has been linked to acute temperature stress, and the heightened recurrence intervals and intensity of storms has been correlated to recent climate-change induced impacts. Ocean acidification is another ubiquitous stressor with dramatic consequences to biological systems. In this paper we describe what sets this region apart from other coral reef regions around the world, and highlight some examples of the diverse response to ocean acidification threats and associated socio-economic impacts.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification impacts in select Pacific Basin coral reef ecosystems’

Dealing with the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs in the Indian Ocean and Asia

Shallow coral reefs provide food, income, well-being and coastal protection to countries around the Indian Ocean and Asia. These reefs are under threat due to many anthropogenic stressors including pollution, sedimentation, overfishing, sea surface warming and habitat destruction. Ocean acidification interacts with these factors to exacerbate stress on coral reefs. Effective solutions in tackling the impact of ocean acidification require a thorough understanding of the current adaptive capacity of each nation to deal with the consequences. Here, we aim to help the decision-making process for policy makers in dealing with these future challenges at the regional and national levels. We recommend that a series of evaluations be made to understand the current status of each nation in this region in dealing with ocean acidification impacts by assessing the climate policy, education, policy coherence, related research activities, adaptive capacity of reef-dependent economic sectors and local management. Indonesia and Thailand, are selected as case studies. We also highlight general recommendations on mitigation and adaptation to ocean acidification impacts on coral reefs and propose well-designed research program would be necessary for developing a more targeted policy agenda in this region.

Continue reading ‘Dealing with the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs in the Indian Ocean and Asia’

A triple trophic boost: how carbon emissions indirectly change a marine food chain

The pervasive enrichment of CO2 in our oceans is a well‐documented stressor to marine life. Yet, there is little understanding about how CO2 affects species indirectly in naturally complex communities. Using natural CO2 vents, we investigated the indirect effects of CO2 enrichment through a marine food chain. We show how CO2 boosted the biomass of three trophic levels: from the primary producers (algae), through to their grazers (gastropods), and finally through to their predators (fish). We also found that consumption by both grazers and predators intensified under CO2 enrichment, but, ultimately, this top‐down control failed to compensate for the boosted biomass of both primary producers and herbivores (bottom‐up control). Our study suggests that indirect effects can buffer the ubiquitous and direct, negative effects of CO2 enrichment by allowing the upward propagation of resources through the food chain. Maintaining the natural complexity of food webs in our ocean communities could, therefore, help minimize the future impacts of CO2 enrichment.

Continue reading ‘A triple trophic boost: how carbon emissions indirectly change a marine food chain’

Responses of macroalgae to CO2 enrichment cannot be inferred solely from their inorganic carbon uptake strategy

Increased plant biomass is observed in terrestrial systems due to rising levels of atmospheric CO2, but responses of marine macroalgae to CO2 enrichment are unclear. The 200% increase in CO2 by 2100 is predicted to enhance the productivity of fleshy macroalgae that acquire inorganic carbon solely as CO2 (non‐carbon dioxide‐concentrating mechanism [CCM] species—i.e., species without a carbon dioxide‐concentrating mechanism), whereas those that additionally uptake bicarbonate (CCM species) are predicted to respond neutrally or positively depending on their affinity for bicarbonate. Previous studies, however, show that fleshy macroalgae exhibit a broad variety of responses to CO2 enrichment and the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. This physiological study compared the responses of a CCM species (Lomentaria australis) with a non‐CCM species (Craspedocarpus ramentaceus) to CO2 enrichment with regards to growth, net photosynthesis, and biochemistry. Contrary to expectations, there was no enrichment effect for the non‐CCM species, whereas the CCM species had a twofold greater growth rate, likely driven by a downregulation of the energetically costly CCM(s). This saved energy was invested into new growth rather than storage lipids and fatty acids. In addition, we conducted a comprehensive literature synthesis to examine the extent to which the growth and photosynthetic responses of fleshy macroalgae to elevated CO2 are related to their carbon acquisition strategies. Findings highlight that the responses of macroalgae to CO2 enrichment cannot be inferred solely from their carbon uptake strategy, and targeted physiological experiments on a wider range of species are needed to better predict responses of macroalgae to future oceanic change.

Continue reading ‘Responses of macroalgae to CO2 enrichment cannot be inferred solely from their inorganic carbon uptake strategy’

Diel CO2 cycles and parental effects have similar benefits to growth of a coral reef fish under ocean acidification

Parental effects have been shown to buffer the negative effects of within-generation exposure to ocean acidification (OA) conditions on the offspring of shallow water marine organisms. However, it remains unknown if parental effects will be impacted by the presence of diel CO2 cycles that are prevalent in many shallow water marine habitats. Here, we examined the effects that parental exposure to stable elevated (1000 µatm) and diel-cycling elevated (1000 ± 300 µatm) CO2 had on the survival and growth of juvenile coral reef anemonefish, Amphiprion melanopus. Juvenile survival was unaffected by within-generation exposure to either elevated CO2 treatment but was significantly increased (8%) by parental exposure to diel-cycling elevated CO2. Within-generation exposure to stable elevated CO2 caused a significant reduction in juvenile growth (10.7–18.5%); however, there was no effect of elevated CO2 on growth when diel CO2 cycles were present. Parental exposure to stable elevated CO2 also ameliorated the negative effects of elevated CO2 on juvenile growth, and parental exposure to diel CO2 cycles did not alter the effects of diel CO2 cycles on juveniles. Our results demonstrate that within-generation exposure to diel-cycling elevated CO2 and parental exposure to stable elevated CO2 had similar outcomes on juvenile condition. This study illustrates the importance of considering natural CO2 cycles when predicting the long-term impacts of OA on marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Diel CO2 cycles and parental effects have similar benefits to growth of a coral reef fish under ocean acidification’

Diurnal cycles of coral calcifying fluid aragonite saturation state

The sensitivity of corals to ocean acidification depends on the extent to which they can buffer their calcifying fluid aragonite saturation state (Ωcf) from declines in seawater pH. While the seasonal response of the coral calcifying fluid Ωcf to seawater pH has been studied previously, relatively little is known about Ωcf dynamics on shorter (daily) timescales, particularly whether it is sensitive to seawater pH. Here, we use alizarin dye to mark 4 days of skeletal growth in the corals Acropora nasuta and Pocillopora damicornis living in situ on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Exploiting newly developed confocal Raman spectroscopy techniques, we imaged the alizarin stains and quantified Ωcf between them. We report the first observations of diurnal Ωcf cycles, which were found in both species. Our results are consistent with either external control of Ωcf by seawater pH or light, or alternatively that Ωcf follows an endogenous circadian rhythm.

Continue reading ‘Diurnal cycles of coral calcifying fluid aragonite saturation state’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book