Posts Tagged 'survival'

Effect of increased pCO2 level on early shell development in great scallop (Pecten maximus Lamarck) larvae (update)

As a result of high anthropogenic CO2 emissions, the concentration of CO2 in the oceans has increased, causing a decrease in pH, known as ocean acidification (OA). Numerous studies have shown negative effects on marine invertebrates, and also that the early life stages are the most sensitive to OA. We studied the effects of OA on embryos and unfed larvae of the great scallop (Pecten maximus Lamarck), at pCO2 levels of 469 (ambient), 807, 1164, and 1599 μatm until seven days after fertilization. To our knowledge, this is the first study on OA effects on larvae of this species. A drop inpCO2 level the first 12 h was observed in the elevatedpCO2 groups due to a discontinuation in water flow to avoid escape of embryos. When the flow was restarted, pCO2 level stabilized and was significantly different between all groups. OA affected both survival and shell growth negatively after seven days. Survival was reduced from 45% in the ambient group to 12% in the highest pCO2 group. Shell length and height were reduced by 8 and 15%, respectively, when pCO2increased from ambient to 1599 μatm. Development of normal hinges was negatively affected by elevated pCO2 levels in both trochophore larvae after two days and veliger larvae after seven days. After seven days, deformities in the shell hinge were more connected to elevatedpCO2 levels than deformities in the shell edge. Embryos stained with calcein showed fluorescence in the newly formed shell area, indicating calcification of the shell at the early trochophore stage between one and two days after fertilization. Our results show that P. maximus embryos and early larvae may be negatively affected by elevated pCO2 levels within the range of what is projected towards year 2250, although the initial drop inpCO2 level may have overestimated the effect of the highestpCO2 levels. Future work should focus on long-term effects on this species from hatching, throughout the larval stages, and further into the juvenile and adult stages.

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Trans-life cycle impacts of ocean acidification on the green sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis

This thesis studies the impacts of ocean acidification on an ecologically and economically important invertebrate of the Nordic waters: the green sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis. Acidification affects the different life stages and transitions composing the life-cycle. Paper I establishes the robustness of the larval stage to a broad range of acidification (-1.5 pHT units) covering present, projected near-future variability and beyond. Development of normal, although showing morphological plasticity, swimming larvae was possible as low as pHT ≥ 7.0. Acidification increased mortality and respiration and decreased growth rate.  Paper II focuses on the impacts of a decreased pH (-0.4 and -0.8 units) on the transitions phases between the larval and juvenile stages and on juveniles’ survival. Lowered pH induced both direct effects of (e.g. juvenile spine amount)  and carry-over effects (e.g. increased settlement rates).  Paper III deals with juvenile and adult stages. While adult fecundity was reduced after a 4-months exposure to low pH (-0.4 units), it was not affected anymore after 16-months. On the other hand, juveniles experienced a 95% mortality when grown at low pH since fertilization. Paper IV is a meta-analysis based on the available experimental data available on echinoderms in 2010 revealing differing sensitivities of the stages and processes studied to near-future predictions. Paper V reveals, from in vivo measurements on S. droebachiensis pluteus larvae, that the extracellular compartment surrounding the calcifying cells conforms to the surrounding seawater with respect to pH. Under ocean acidification, maintaining constant intracellular pH for calcium precipitation probably causes enhanced metabolic costs.

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Ocean acidification effects in the early life-stages of summer flounder, Paralichthys dentatus

The limited available evidence about effects of high CO2 and acidification of our oceans on fish suggests that effects will differ across fish species, be subtle, and interact with other stressors. An experimental framework was implemented that includes the use of (1) multiple marine fish species of relevance to the northeastern USA that differ in their ecologies including spawning season and habitat; (2) a wide yet realistic range of environmental conditions (i.e., concurrent manipulation of CO2 levels and water temperatures), and (3) a diverse set of response variables related to fish sensitivity to elevated CO2 levels, water temperatures, and their interactions. This report is on an array of early life-history responses of summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), an ecologically and economically important flatfish of this region, to a wide range of pH and CO2 levels. Survival of summer flounder embryos was reduced by 50% below local ambient conditions (7.8 pH, 775 ppm pCO2) when maintained at the intermediate conditions (7.4 pH, 1860 ppm pCO2), and by 75% below local ambient when maintained at the most acidic conditions tested (7.1 pH, 4715 ppm pCO2). This pattern of reduced survival of embryos at higher CO2 levels was consistent among three females used as sources of embryos. Sizes and shapes of larvae were altered by elevated CO2 levels with longer larvae in more acidic waters. This pattern of longer larvae was evident at hatching (although longer hatchlings had less energy reserves) to midway through the larval period. Larvae from the most acidic conditions initiated metamorphosis at earlier ages and smaller sizes than those from more moderate and ambient conditions. Tissue damage was evident in older larvae (age 14 to 28 d post-hatching) from both elevated CO2 levels. Damage included liver sinusoid dilation, focal hyperplasia on the epithelium, separation of the trunk muscle bundles, and dilation of the liver sinusoids and central veins. Cranial-facial features were affected by CO2 levels that changed with ages of larvae. Skeletal elements of larvae from ambient CO2 environments were comparable or smaller than those from elevated CO2 environments when younger (14 d and 21 d post-hatching) but larger at older ages (28 d). The degree of impairment in the early life-stages of summer flounder due to elevated CO2 levels suggests that this species will be challenged by ocean acidification in the near future. Further experimental comparative studies on marine fish are warranted in order to identify the species, life-stages, ecologies, and responses that are most sensitive to increased levels of CO2 and acidity in near-future ocean waters, and a strategy is proposed for achieving these goals.

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Sensitivities of extant animal taxa to ocean acidification

Anthropogenic CO2 emitted to the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, causing a progressive increase in ocean inorganic carbon concentrations and resulting in decreased water pH and calcium carbonate saturation. This phenomenon, called ocean acidification, is in addition to the warming effects of CO2 emissions. Ocean acidification has been reported to affect ocean biota, but the severity of this threat to ocean ecosystems (and humans depending on these ecosystems) is poorly understood. Here we evaluate the scale of this threat in the context of widely used representative concentration pathways (RCPs) by analysing the sensitivities of five animal taxa (corals, echinoderms, molluscs, crustaceans and fishes) to a wide range of CO2 concentrations. Corals, echinoderms and molluscs are more sensitive to RCP8.5 (936 ppm in 2100) than are crustaceans. Larval fishes may be even more sensitive than the lower invertebrates, but taxon sensitivity on evolutionary timescales remains obscure. The variety of responses within and between taxa, together with observations in mesocosms and palaeo-analogues, suggest that ocean acidification is a driver for substantial change in ocean ecosystems this century, potentially leading to long-term shifts in species composition.

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Impacts of CO2-induced seawater acidification on coastal Mediterranean bivalves and interactions with other climatic stressors

The effects of seawater acidification caused by increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), combined with other climatic stressors, were studied on 3 coastal Mediterranean bivalve species: the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis and the clams Chamelea gallina and Ruditapes decussatus. CO2 perturbation experiments produced contrasting responses on growth and calcification of juvenile shells, according to species and location. In the Northern Adriatic (Italy), long-term exposure to reduced pH severely damaged the shells of M. galloprovincialis and C. gallina and reduced growth for the latter species. Seawater in the Ria Formosa lagoon (Portugal) was consistently saturated in carbonates, which buffered the impacts on calcification and growth. After 80 days, no shell damage was observed in Portugal, but mussels in the acidified treatments were less calcified. Reduced clearance, ingestion and respiration rates and increased ammonia excretion were observed for R. decussatus under reduced pH. Clearance rates of juvenile mussels were significantly reduced by acidification in Italy, but not in Portugal. Both locations showed a consistent trend for increased ammonia excretion with decreasing pH, suggesting increased protein catabolism. Respiratory rates were generally not affected. Short-term factorial experiments done in Italy revealed that acidification caused alterations in immunological parameters of adult bivalves, particularly at temperature and salinity values far from the optimal for the species in the Mediterranean. Overall, our results showed large variations in the sensitivities of bivalves to climatic changes, among different species and between local populations of the same species. Expectations of impacts, mitigation and adaptation strategies have to consider such local variability.

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Lower hypoxia thresholds of cuttlefish early life stages living in a warm acidified ocean

The combined effects of future ocean acidification and global warming on the hypoxia thresholds of marine biota are, to date, poorly known. Here, we show that the future warming and acidification scenario led to shorter embryonic periods, lower survival rates and the enhancement of premature hatching in the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. Routine metabolic rates increased during the embryonic period, but environmental hypercapnia significantly depressed pre-hatchling’s energy expenditures rates (independently of temperature). During embryogenesis, there was also a significant rise in the carbon dioxide partial pressure in the perivitelline fluid (PVF), bicarbonate levels, as well as a drop in pH and oxygen partial pressure (pO2). The critical partial pressure (i.e. hypoxic threshold) of the pre-hatchlings was significantly higher than the PVF oxygen partial pressure at the warmer and hypercapnic condition. Thus, the record of oxygen tensions below critical pO2 in such climate scenario indicates that the already harsh conditions inside the egg capsules are expected to be magnified in the years to come, especially in populations at the border of their thermal envelope. Such a scenario promotes untimely hatching and smaller post-hatching body sizes, thus challenging the survival and fitness of early life stages.

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Temperature modulates the response of the thermophilous sea urchin Arbacia lixula early life stages to CO2-driven acidification

The increasing abundances of the thermophilous black sea urchin Arbacia lixula in the Mediterranean Sea are attributed to the Western Mediterranean warming. However, few data are available on the potential impact of this warming on A. lixula in combination with other global stressors such as ocean acidification. The aim of this study is to investigate the interactive effects of increased temperature and of decreased pH on fertilization and early development of A. lixula. This was tested using a fully crossed design with four temperatures (20, 24, 26 and 27°C) and two pH levels (pHNBS 8.2 and 7.9). Temperature and pH had no significant effect on fertilization and larval survival (2d) for temperature <27°C. At 27°C, the fertilization success was very low (<1%) and all larvae died within 2d. Both temperature and pH had effects on the developmental dynamics. Temperature appeared to modulate the impact of decreasing pH on the % of larvae reaching the pluteus stage leading to a positive effect (faster growth compared to pH 8.2) of low pH at 20°C, a neutral effect at 24°C and a negative effect (slower growth) at 26°C. These results highlight the importance of considering a range of temperatures covering today and the future environmental variability in any experiment aiming at studying the impact of ocean acidification.

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Near-future reductions in pH will have no consistent ecological effects on the early life-history stages of reef corals

Until recently, research into the consequences of oceanic uptake of CO2 for corals focused on its effect on physiological processes, in particular, calcification. However, events early in the life history of corals are also likely to be vulnerable to changes in ocean chemistry caused by increases in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 (ocean acidification). We tested the effect of reduced pH on embryonic development, larval survivorship and metamorphosis of 3 common scleractinian corals from the Great Barrier Reef. We used 4 treatment levels of pH, corresponding to the current level of ocean pH and 3 values projected to occur later this century. None of the early life-history stages we studied were consistently affected by reduced pH. Our results suggest that there will be no direct ecological effects of ocean acidification on the early life-history stages of reef corals, at least in the near future.

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Effect of ocean acidification on growth, gonad development and physiology of the sea urchin Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus

Ocean acidification, due to diffusive uptake of atmospheric CO2, has potentially profound ramifications for the entire marine ecosystem. Scientific knowledge on the biological impacts of ocean acidification is rapidly accumulating; however, data are still scarce on whether and how ocean acidification affects the reproductive system of marine organisms. We evaluated the long-term (9 mo) effects of high CO2 (1000 µatm) on the gametogenesis, survival, growth and physiology of the sea urchin Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus. Hypercapnic exposure delayed gonad maturation and spawning by 1 mo, whereas it had no effect on the maximum number of ova, survival or growth. After 9 mo of exposure, pH (control: 7.61, high-CO2: 7.03) and Mg2+ concentration (control: 50.3, high-CO2: 48.6 mmol l-1) of the coelomic fluid were significantly lower in the experimental urchins. In addition, a 16 d exposure experiment revealed that 1000 µatm CO2 suppressed food intake to <30% of that of the controls. These data suggest that the ocean condition predicted to occur by the end of this century disrupts the physiological status of the sea urchin, possibly through reduced energy intake, which may delay reproductive phenology of the species. Taking into account earlier studies reporting negative impacts of ocean acidification on the early development of the same species, these results imply that ocean acidification will threaten H. pulcherrimus at a community level.

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Ocean acidification disrupts prey responses to predator cues but not net prey shell growth in Concholepas concholepas (loco)

Most research on Ocean Acidification (OA) has largely focused on the process of calcification and the physiological trade-offs employed by calcifying organisms to support the building of calcium carbonate structures. However, there is growing evidence that OA can also impact upon other key biological processes such as survival, growth and behaviour. On wave-swept rocky shores the ability of gastropods to self-right after dislodgement, and rapidly return to normal orientation, reduces the risk of predation.

Methodology/Principal Findings
The impacts of OA on this self-righting behaviour and other important parameters such as growth, survival, shell dissolution and shell deposition in Concholepas concholepas (loco) were investigated under contrasting pCO2 levels. Although no impacts of OA on either growth or net shell calcification were found, the results did show that OA can significantly affect self-righting behaviour during the early ontogeny of this species with significantly faster righting times recorded for individuals of C. concholepas reared under increased average pCO2 concentrations (± SE) (716±12 and 1036±14 µatm CO2) compared to those reared at concentrations equivalent to those presently found in the surface ocean (388±8 µatm CO2). When loco were also exposed to the predatory crab Acanthocyclus hassleri, righting times were again increased by exposure to elevated CO2, although self-righting times were generally twice as fast as those observed in the absence of the crab.

Conclusions and Significance
These results suggest that self-righting in the early ontogeny of C. concholepas will be positively affected by pCO2 levels expected by the end of the 21st century and beginning of the next one. However, as the rate of self-righting is an adaptive trait evolved to reduce lethal predatory attacks, our result also suggest that OA may disrupt prey responses to predators in nature.

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Larval carry-over effects from ocean acidification persist in the natural environment

An extensive body of work suggests that altered marine carbonate chemistry can negatively influence marine invertebrates, but few studies have examined how effects are moderated and persist in the natural environment. A particularly important question is whether impacts initiated in early life might be exacerbated or attenuated over time in the presence or absence of other stressors in the field. We reared Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) larvae in laboratory cultures under control and elevated seawater pCO2 concentrations, quantified settlement success and size at metamorphosis, then outplanted juveniles to Tomales Bay, California, in the mid intertidal zone where emersion and temperature stress were higher, and in the low intertidal zone where conditions were more benign. We tracked survival and growth of outplanted juveniles for four months, halfway to reproductive age. Survival to metamorphosis in the laboratory was strongly affected by larval exposure to elevated pCO2 conditions. Survival of juvenile outplants was reduced dramatically at mid shore compared to low shore levels regardless of the pCO2 level that oysters experienced as larvae. However, juveniles that were exposed to elevated pCO2 as larvae grew less than control individuals, representing a larval carry-over effect. Although juveniles grew less at mid shore than low shore levels, there was no evidence of an interaction between the larval carry-over effect and shore level, suggesting little modulation of acidification impacts by emersion or temperature stress. Importantly, the carry-over effects of larval exposure to ocean acidification remained unabated four months later with no evidence of compensatory growth, even under benign conditions. This latter result points to the potential for extended consequences of brief exposures to altered seawater chemistry with potential consequences for population dynamics.

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Effects of reduced pH on Macoma balthica larvae from a system with naturally fluctuating pH-dynamics

Ocean acidification is causing severe changes in the inorganic carbon balance of the oceans. The pH conditions predicted for the future oceans are, however, already regularly occurring in the Baltic Sea, and the system might thus work as an analogue for future ocean acidification scenarios. The characteristics of the Baltic Sea with low buffering capacity and large natural pH fluctuations, in combination with multiple other stressors, suggest that OA effects may be severe, but remain largely unexplored. A calcifying species potentially affected by low pH conditions is the bivalve Macoma balthica (L.). We investigated larval survival and development of M. balthica by exposing the larvae to a range of pH levels: 7.2, 7.4, 7.7 and 8.1 during 20 days in order to learn what the effects of reduced pH are on the larval biology and thus also potentially for the population dynamics of this key species. We found that even a slight pH decrease causes significant negative changes during the larval phase, both by slowing growth and by decreasing survival. The growth was slower in all reduced pH treatments compared to the control treatment. The size of 250 µm that is considered indicative to imminent settling in our system was reached by 22% of the larvae grown in control conditions after 20 days, whereas in all reduced pH treatments the size of 250 µm was reached by only 7–14%. The strong impact of ocean acidification on larvae is alarming as slowly growing individuals are exposed to higher predation risk in response to the longer time they are required to spend in the plankton, further decreasing the ecological competence of the species.

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Larval development of the barnacle Amphibalanus improvisus responds variably but robustly to near-future ocean acidification

Increasing atmospheric CO2 decreases seawater pH in a phenomenon known as ocean acidification. In two separate experiments we found that larval development of the barnacle Amphibalanus (Balanus) improvisus was not significantly affected by the level of reduced pH that has been projected for the next 150 years. After 3 and 6 days of incubation, we found no consistent effects of reduced pH on developmental speed or larval size at pH 7.8 compared with the control pH of 8.1. After 10 days of incubation, there were no net changes in survival or overall development of larvae raised at pH 7.8 or 7.6 compared with the control pH of 8.0. In all cases, however, there was significant variation in responses between replicate batches (parental genotypes) of larvae, with some batches responding positively to reduced pH. Our results suggest that the non-calcifying larval stages of A. improvisus are generally tolerant to near-future levels of ocean acidification. This result is in line with findings for other barnacle species and suggests that barnacles do not show the greater sensitivity to ocean acidification in early life history reported for other invertebrate species. Substantial genetic variability in response to low pH may confer adaptive benefits under future ocean acidification.

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Combined effects of temperature and ocean acidification on the juvenile individuals of the mussel Mytilus chilensis

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions have lead to increasing global mean temperatures (a process called global warming) and Ocean Acidification. Because both processes are occurring simultaneously, to better understand their consequences on marine species their combined effects must be experimentally evaluated. The aim of this study was to evaluate for the first time the combined effects of ocean acidification and water temperature increase on the total calcification rate, growth rate and survival of juvenile individuals of the mytilid mussel Mytilus chilensis (Hupe). Two temperature levels (12 and 16 °C) and three nominal CO2 concentrations (390, 700 and 1000 ppm of CO2) were used. We found that the net rate of calcium deposition and total weight were not significantly affected by temperature, but were negatively affected by the levels of CO2. The interactive effects of temperature and CO2 levels affected only the shell dissolution, but this process was not important for the animal’s net calcification. These results suggest that individuals of M. chilensis are able to overcome increased temperatures, but not increments of CO2 levels. It is well know that mussels influence their physical and biological surroundings. Therefore, the negative effects of a CO2 increase could have significant ecological consequences, mainly in those habitats where this group is dominant in term of abundance and biomass. Finally, taking into account that this species inhabit a wide geographic range, with contrasting environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, salinity and, pH), further studies are needed to evaluate the intraspecific variability in the responses of this species to different environmental stressors.

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Impaired learning of predators and lower prey survival under elevated CO2: a consequence of neurotransmitter interference

Ocean acidification is one of the most pressing environmental concerns of our time, and not surprisingly, we have seen a recent explosion of research into the physiological impacts and ecological consequences of changes in ocean chemistry. We are gaining considerable insights from this work, but further advances require greater integration across disciplines. Here we showed that projected near-future CO2 levels impaired the ability of damselfish to learn the identity of predators. These effects stem from impaired neurotransmitter function; impaired learning under elevated CO2 was reversed when fish were treated with gabazine, an antagonist of the GABA-A receptor – a major inhibitory neurotransmitter receptor in the brain of vertebrates. The effects of CO2 on learning and the link to neurotransmitter interference were manifested as major differences in survival for fish released into the wild. Lower survival under elevated CO2, as a result of impaired learning, could have a major influence on population recruitment.

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Synergistic effects of elevated carbon dioxide and sodium hypochlorite on survival and impairment of three phytoplankton species

Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is widely used to disinfect seawater in power plant cooling systems in order to reduce biofouling, and in ballast water treatment systems to prevent transport of exotic marine species. While the toxicity of NaOCl is expected to increase by ongoing ocean acidification, and many experimental studies have shown how algal calcification, photosynthesis and growth respond to ocean acidification, no studies have investigated the relationship between NaOCl toxicity and increased CO2. Therefore, we investigated whether the impacts of NaOCl on survival, chlorophyll a (Chl-a), and effective quantum yield in three marine phytoplankton belonging to different taxonomic classes are increased under high CO2 levels. Our results show that all biological parameters of the three species decreased under increasing NaOCl concentration, but increasing CO2 concentration alone (from 450 to 715 μatm) had no effect on any of these parameters in the organisms. However, due to the synergistic effects between NaOCl and CO2, the survival and Chl-a content in two of the species, Thalassiosira eccentrica and Heterosigma akashiwo, were significantly reduced under high CO2 when NaOCl was also elevated. The results show that combined exposure to high CO2 and NaOCl results in increasing toxicity of NaOCl in some marine phytoplankton. Consequently, greater caution with use of NaOCl will be required, as its use is widespread in coastal waters.

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Larval and post-larval stages of Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) are resistant to elevated CO2

The average pH of surface oceans has decreased by 0.1 unit since industrialization and is expected to decrease by another 0.3–0.7 units before the year 2300 due to the absorption of anthropogenic CO2. This human-caused pH change is posing serious threats and challenges to the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), especially to their larval stages. Our knowledge of the effect of reduced pH on C. gigas larvae presently relies presumptively on four short-term (<4 days) survival and growth studies. Using multiple physiological measurements and life stages, the effects of long-term (40 days) exposure to pH 8.1, 7.7 and 7.4 on larval shell growth, metamorphosis, respiration and filtration rates at the time of metamorphosis, along with the juvenile shell growth and structure of the C. gigas, were examined in this study. The mean survival and growth rates were not affected by pH. The metabolic, feeding and metamorphosis rates of pediveliger larvae were similar, between pH 8.1 and 7.7. The pediveligers at pH 7.4 showed reduced weight-specific metabolic and filtration rates, yet were able to sustain a more rapid post-settlement growth rate. However, no evidence suggested that low pH treatments resulted in alterations to the shell ultrastructures (SEM images) or elemental compositions (i.e., Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios). Thus, larval and post-larval forms of the C. gigas in the Yellow Sea are probably resistant to elevated CO2 and decreased near-future pH scenarios. The pre-adapted ability to resist a wide range of decreased pH may provide C. gigas with the necessary tolerance to withstand rapid pH changes over the coming century.

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Multistressor impacts of warming and acidification of the ocean on marine invertebrates’ life histories

Benthic marine invertebrates live in a multistressor world where stressor levels are, and will continue to be, exacerbated by global warming and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. These changes are causing the oceans to warm, decrease in pH, become hypercapnic, and to become less saturated in carbonate minerals. These stressors have strong impacts on biological processes, but little is known about their combined effects on the development of marine invertebrates. Increasing temperature has a stimulatory effect on development, whereas hypercapnia can depress developmental processes. The pH, pCO2, and CaCO3 of seawater change simultaneously with temperature, challenging our ability to predict future outcomes for marine biota. The need to consider both warming and acidification is reflected in the recent increase in cross-factorial studies of the effects of these stressors on development of marine invertebrates. The outcomes and trends in these studies are synthesized here. Based on this compilation, significant additive or antagonistic effects of warming and acidification of the ocean are common (16 of 20 species studied), and synergistic negative effects also are reported. Fertilization can be robust to near-future warming and acidification, depending on the male–female mating pair. Although larvae and juveniles of some species tolerate near-future levels of warming and acidification (+2°C/pH 7.8), projected far-future conditions (ca. ≥4°C/ ≤pH 7.6) are widely deleterious, with a reduction in the size and survival of larvae. It appears that larvae that calcify are sensitive both to warming and acidification, whereas those that do not calcify are more sensitive to warming. Different sensitivities of life-history stages and species have implications for persistence and community function in a changing ocean. Some species are more resilient than others and may be potential “winners” in the climate-change stakes. As the ocean will change more gradually over coming decades than in “future shock” perturbation investigations, it is likely that some species, particularly those with short generation times, may be able to tolerate near-future oceanic change through acclimatization and/or adaption.

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Direct and indirect effects of ocean acidification and warming on a marine plant–herbivore interaction

The impacts of climatic change on organisms depend on the interaction of multiple stressors and how these may affect the interactions among species. Consumer–prey relationships may be altered by changes to the abundance of either species, or by changes to the per capita interaction strength among species. To examine the effects of multiple stressors on a species interaction, we test the direct, interactive effects of ocean warming and lowered pH on an abundant marine herbivore (the amphipod Peramphithoe parmerong), and whether this herbivore is affected indirectly by these stressors altering the palatability of its algal food (Sargassum linearifolium). Both increased temperature and lowered pH independently reduced amphipod survival and growth, with the impacts of temperature outweighing those associated with reduced pH. Amphipods were further affected indirectly by changes to the palatability of their food source. The temperature and pH conditions in which algae were grown interacted to affect algal palatability, with acidified conditions only affecting feeding rates when algae were also grown at elevated temperatures. Feeding rates were largely unaffected by the conditions faced by the herbivore while feeding. These results indicate that, in addition to the direct effects on herbivore abundance, climatic stressors will affect the strength of plant–herbivore interactions by changes to the susceptibility of plant tissues to herbivory.

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Effects of ocean warming and acidification on survival, growth and skeletal development in the early benthic juvenile sea urchin (Heliocidaris erythrogramma)

Co-occurring ocean warming, acidification and reduced carbonate mineral saturation have significant impacts on marine biota, especially calcifying organisms. The effects of these stressors on development and calcification in newly metamorphosed juveniles (ca. 0.5 mm test diam) of the intertidal sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma, an ecologically important species in temperate Australia, were investigated in context with present and projected future conditions. Habitat temperature and pH/pCO2 were documented to place experiments in a biologically and ecologically relevant context. These parameters fluctuated diurnally up to 10°C and 0.45 pH units. The juveniles were exposed to three temperature (21°C, 23°C, 25°C) and four pH (8.1, 7.8, 7.6, 7.4) treatments in all combinations, representing ambient sea surface conditions (21°C, pH 8.1; pCO2 397; ΩCa 4.7; ΩAr 3.1), near-future projected change (+2-4°C, -0.3-0.5 pH units; pCO2 400-1820; ΩCa 5.0-1.6; ΩAr 3.3-1.1), and extreme conditions experienced at low tide (+4°C, -0.3-07 pH units; pCO2 2850-2967; ΩCa 1.1-1.0; ΩAr 0.7-0.6). The lowest pH treatment (pH 7.4) was used to assess tolerance levels. Juvenile survival and test growth were resilient to current and near-future warming and acidification. Spine development, however, was negatively effected by near-future increased temperature (+2-4°C) and extreme acidification (pH 7.4), with a complex interaction between stressors. Near-future warming was the more significant stressor. Spine tips were dissolved in the pH 7.4 treatments. Adaptation to fluctuating temperature-pH conditions in the intertidal may convey resilience to juvenile H. erythrogramma to changing ocean conditions, however, ocean warming and acidification may shift baseline intertidal temperature and pH/pCO2 to levels that exceed tolerance limits.

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