Posts Tagged 'temperature'

Photoprotective responses in a brown macroalgae Cystoseira tamariscifolia to increases in CO2 and temperature

Global warming and ocean acidification are increasingly affecting coastal ecosystems, with impacts that vary regionally depending upon local biogeography. Ocean acidification drives shifts in seaweed community dominance that depend on interactions with other factors such as light and nutrients. In this study, we investigated the photophysiological responses in the brown macroalgae species Cystoseira tamariscifolia (Hudson) Papenfuss with important structural role in the coastal Mediterranean communities. These algae were collected in the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park in ultraoligotrophic waters (algae exposed under high irradiance and less nutrient conditions) vs. those collected in the La Araña beach in oligotrophic waters (algae exposed at middle nutrient and irradiance conditions) in the Mediterranean Sea. They were incubated in mesocosms, under two levels of CO2; ambient (400-500 ppm) and high CO2 (1200-1300 ppm), combined with two temperatures (ambient temperature; 20 °C and ambient temperature + 4 °C; 24 °C) and the same nutrient conditions of the waters of the origin of macroalgae. Thalli from two sites on the Spanish Mediterranean coast were significantly affected by increases in pCO2 and temperature. The carotenoids (fucoxanthin, violaxanthin and β-carotene) contents were higher in algae from oligotrophic than that from ultraoligotrophic water, i.e., algae collected under higher nutrient conditions respect to less conditions, increase photoprotective pigments content. Thalli from both locations upregulated photosynthesis (as Fv/Fm) at increased pCO2 levels. Our study shows that ongoing ocean acidification and warming can increase photoprotection and photosynthesis in intertidal macroalgae.

Continue reading ‘Photoprotective responses in a brown macroalgae Cystoseira tamariscifolia to increases in CO2 and temperature’

The effects of ocean warming and acidification on seaweed growth and urchin grazing

Human produced carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are currently higher than previously recorded and are continuing to rise at alarming rates. This greenhouse gas is the primary driver for changing climate scenarios highlighted by an approximate 1°C increase in sea surface temperatures. In addition to driving global warming, CO2 is readily absorbed by the oceans, resulting in changes in seawater chemistry and a decrease in seawater pH (acidification). The singular effects of ocean warming and acidification are known to impact marine organisms; lesser known, however, are the combined effects of these stressors, particularly on biotic interactions. This study aimed to expand on the knowledge of how these abiotic stressors affect seaweed and seaweed-herbivore interactions by comparing seaweed growth and herbivore feeding rate and selectivity under combinations of current and modelled future temperature (18°C and 21°C) and pH (8.1 and 7.8) conditions. Growth rates of two seaweed species, a calcified red alga (Lithothrix aspergillum) and a non-calcified brown alga (giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera), were compared among manipulated seawater conditions. In addition, the feeding rates and feeding selectivity of a common sea urchin herbivore (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) for these two seaweeds were compared among water conditions. Lithothrix was not affected by the singular effects of pH or temperature but under combined future temperature and pH conditions, the seaweed performed poorly. While acidification is known to affect the ability of calcifying species to deposit calcium carbonate, Lithothrix appeared to only be impacted by acidification under temperature stress. Macrocystis, on the other hand, performed significantly better under future acidic conditions, regardless of temperature, as it likely experienced an increase in photosynthetic rate driven by high CO2 concentrations. Urchin herbivory rates were elevated for both seaweeds grown under acidification scenarios, possibly due to increased grazing susceptibility of Lithothrix during poor calcification/decalcification conditions and Macrocystis during new growth conditions. Feeding preference trials were inconsistent with feeding rate patterns as urchins exhibited low overall consumption and no selectivity for either seaweed under any water condition. Although the impacts of warming and acidification on growth of seaweeds and susceptibility to grazing by urchins are variable among taxa, potential future stressors are likely to alter seaweed population and seaweed-herbivore dynamics.

Continue reading ‘The effects of ocean warming and acidification on seaweed growth and urchin grazing’

Effects of hypoxia and ocean acidification on the upper thermal niche boundaries of coral reef fishes

Rising ocean temperatures are predicted to cause a poleward shift in the distribution of marine fishes occupying the extent of latitudes tolerable within their thermal range boundaries. A prevailing theory suggests that the upper thermal limits of fishes are constrained by hypoxia and ocean acidification. However, some eurythermal fish species do not conform to this theory, and maintain their upper thermal limits in hypoxia. Here we determine if the same is true for stenothermal species. In three coral reef fish species we tested the effect of hypoxia on upper thermal limits, measured as critical thermal maximum (CTmax). In one of these species we also quantified the effect of hypoxia on oxygen supply capacity, measured as aerobic scope (AS). In this species we also tested the effect of elevated CO2 (simulated ocean acidification) on the hypoxia sensitivity of CTmax. We found that CTmax was unaffected by progressive hypoxia down to approximately 35 mmHg, despite a substantial hypoxia-induced reduction in AS. Below approximately 35 mmHg, CTmax declined sharply with water oxygen tension (PwO2). Furthermore, the hypoxia sensitivity of CTmax was unaffected by elevated CO2. Our findings show that moderate hypoxia and ocean acidification do not constrain the upper thermal limits of these tropical, stenothermal fishes.

Continue reading ‘Effects of hypoxia and ocean acidification on the upper thermal niche boundaries of coral reef fishes’

Effect of ocean acidification and elevated temperature on growth of calcifying tubeworm shells (Spirorbis spirorbis): an in-situ benthocosm approach

The calcareous tubeworm Spirorbis spirorbis is a wide-spread serpulid species in the Baltic Sea, where it commonly grows as an epibiont on brown macroalgae (genus Fucus). It lives within a Mg-calcite shell and could be affected by ocean acidification and temperature rise induced by the predicted future atmospheric CO2 increase. However, Spirorbis tubes grow in a chemically modified boundary layer around the algae, which may mitigate acidification. In order to investigate how increasing temperature and rising pCO2 may influence S. spirorbis shell growth we carried out four seasonal experiments in the ‘Kiel Outdoor Benthocosms’ at elevated pCO2 and temperature conditions. Compared to laboratory batch culture experiments the benthocosm approach provides a better representation of natural conditions for physical and biological ecosystem parameters, including seasonal variations. We find that growth rates of S. spirorbis are significantly controlled by ontogenetic and seasonal effects. The length of the newly grown tube is inversely related to the initial diameter of the shell. Our study showed no significant difference of the growth rates between ambient atmospheric and elevated (1100 ppm) pCO2 conditions. No influence of daily average CaCO3 saturation state on the growth rates of S. spirorbiswas observed. We found, however, net growth of the shells even in temporarily undersaturated bulk solutions, under conditions that concurrently favored selective shell surface dissolution. The results suggest an overall resistance of S. spirorbis growth to acidification levels predicted for the year 2100 in the Baltic Sea. In contrast, S. spirorbis did not survive at mean seasonal temperatures exceeding 24 °C during the summer experiments. In the autumn experiments at ambient pCO2, the growth rates of juvenile S. spirorbis were higher under elevated temperature conditions. The results reveal that S. spirorbis may prefer moderately warmer conditions during their early life stages but will suffer from an excessive temperature increase and from increasing shell corrosion as a consequence of progressing ocean acidification.
Continue reading ‘Effect of ocean acidification and elevated temperature on growth of calcifying tubeworm shells (Spirorbis spirorbis): an in-situ benthocosm approach’

Warming has a greater effect than elevated CO2 on predator–prey interactions in coral reef fish

Ocean acidification and warming, driven by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, are considered to be among the greatest threats facing marine organisms. While each stressor in isolation has been studied extensively, there has been less focus on their combined effects, which could impact key ecological processes. We tested the independent and combined effects of short-term exposure to elevated CO2 and temperature on the predator–prey interactions of a common pair of coral reef fishes (Pomacentrus wardi and its predator, Pseudochromis fuscus). We found that predator success increased following independent exposure to high temperature and elevated CO2. Overall, high temperature had an overwhelming effect on the escape behaviour of the prey compared with the combined exposure to elevated CO2 and high temperature or the independent effect of elevated CO2. Exposure to high temperatures led to an increase in attack and predation rates. By contrast, we observed little influence of elevated CO2 on the behaviour of the predator, suggesting that the attack behaviour of P. fuscus was robust to this environmental change. This is the first study to address how the kinematics and swimming performance at the basis of predator–prey interactions may change in response to concurrent exposure to elevated CO2 and high temperatures and represents an important step to forecasting the responses of interacting species to climate change.

Continue reading ‘Warming has a greater effect than elevated CO2 on predator–prey interactions in coral reef fish’

Physiological responses to ocean acidification and warming synergistically reduce condition of the common cockle Cerastoderma edule

The combined effect of ocean acidification and warming on the common cockle Cerastoderma edule was investigated in a fully crossed laboratory experiment. Survival of the examined adult organisms remained high and was not affected by elevated temperature (+3 °C) or lowered pH (-0.3 units). However, the morphometric condition index of the cockles incubated under high pCO2 conditions (i.e. combined warming and acidification) was significantly reduced after six weeks of incubation. Respiration rates increased significantly under low pH, with highest rates measured under combined warm and low pH conditions. Calcification decreased significantly under low pH while clearance rates increased significantly under warm conditions and were generally lower in low pH treatments. The observed physiological responses suggest that the reduced food intake under hypercapnia is insufficient to support the higher energy requirements to compensate for the higher costs for basal maintenance and growth in future high pCO2waters.

Continue reading ‘Physiological responses to ocean acidification and warming synergistically reduce condition of the common cockle Cerastoderma edule’

Taiwanese marine microbenthic algal communities remain similar yet chlorophyll a concentrations rise in mesocosms with elevated CO2 and temperature

The effects of increasing CO2 concentrations and temperature on microalgal assemblages were examined in Taiwan using mesocosms that simulate coral reef ecosystem. We assessed changes in abundance and diversity of benthic algae grown at 25 °C and 28 °C, under ambient (~ 400 μatm) and at high CO2 conditions (800–1000 μatm). Total alkalinity, pCO2, and the aragonite saturation state, were all significantly different between control and high CO2 treatments in both temperature treatments. Chl a concentration increased significantly in CO2-treated groups at 25 °C, but benthic microalgal abundance was not significantly different. The number of microalgal species and the microalgal community structure did not differ between control and CO2-treated groups at both temperatures. Our results suggest that increasing CO2may boost benthic microalgal primary productivity if sufficient nutrients are available, although site-specific responses are difficult to predict.

Continue reading ‘Taiwanese marine microbenthic algal communities remain similar yet chlorophyll a concentrations rise in mesocosms with elevated CO2 and temperature’


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