Posts Tagged 'temperature'



Long-term exposure to elevated pCO2 more than warming modifies early-life shell growth in a temperate gastropod

Co-occurring global change drivers, such as ocean warming and acidification, can have large impacts on the behaviour, physiology, and health of marine organisms. However, whilst early-life stages are thought to be most sensitive to these impacts, little is known about the individual level processes by which such impacts take place. Here, using mesocosm experiments simulating ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) conditions expected for the NE Atlantic region by 2100 using a variety of treatments of elevated pCO2 and temperature. We investigated their impacts on bio-mineralization, microstructure, and ontogeny of Nucella lapillus (L.) juveniles, a common gastropod predator that exerts important top-down controls on biodiversity patterns in temperate rocky shores. The shell of juveniles hatched in mesocosms during a 14 month long experiment were analysed using micro-CT scanning, 3D geometric morphometrics, and scanning-electron microscopy. Elevated temperature and age determined shell density, length, width, thickness, elemental chemistry, shape, and shell surface damages. However, co-occurring elevated pCO2 modified the impacts of elevated temperature, in line with expected changes in carbonate chemistry driven by temperature. Young N. lapillus from acidified treatments had weaker shells and were therefore expected to be more vulnerable to predation and environmental pressures such as wave action. However, in some instances, the effects of both higher CO2 content and elevated temperature appeared to have reversed as the individuals aged. This study suggests that compensatory development may therefore occur, and that expected increases in juvenile mortality under OA and OW may be counteracted, to some degree, by high plasticity in shell formation in this species. This feature may prove advantageous for N. lapillus community dynamics in near-future conditions.

Continue reading ‘Long-term exposure to elevated pCO2 more than warming modifies early-life shell growth in a temperate gastropod’

Environmental controls on the elemental composition of a Southern Hemisphere strain of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

A series of semi-continuous incubation experiments were conducted with the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi strain NIWA1108 (Southern Ocean isolate) to examine the effects of five environmental drivers (nitrate concentration, phosphate concentration, irradiance, temperature and pCO2) on both the physiological rates and elemental composition. Here, we report the alteration of the elemental composition of E. huxleyi in response to the changes in these environmental drivers. A series of dose response curves for the cellular elemental composition of E. huxleyi were fitted for each of the five drivers across an environmentally-representative gradient. The importance of each driver in regulating the elemental composition of E. huxleyi was ranked using a semi-quantitative approach. The percentage variation in elemental composition arising from the change in each driver between present day and model-projected conditions for the year 2100 were calculated. Temperature was the most important driver controlling both cellular particulate organic and inorganic carbon content, whereas nutrient concentrations were the most important regulator of cellular particulate nitrogen and phosphorus of E. huxleyi. In contrast, elevated pCO2 had the greatest influence on cellular particulate inorganic carbon to organic carbon ratio, resulting in a decrease in the ratio. Our results indicate that the different environmental drivers each play specific roles in regulating the cellular elemental composition of E. huxleyi with wide-reaching implications for coccolithophore biogeochemistry, as a consequence of the regulation of E. huxleyi physiological processes.

Continue reading ‘Environmental controls on the elemental composition of a Southern Hemisphere strain of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi’

Seasonal variations of Fucus vesiculosus fertility under ocean acidification and warming in the western Baltic Sea

Ocean warming and acidification may substantially affect the reproduction of keystone species such as Fucus vesiculosus (Phaeophyceae). In four consecutive benthic mesocosm experiments, we compared the reproductive biology and quantified the temporal development of Baltic Sea Fucus fertility under the single and combined impact of elevated seawater temperature and pCO2 (1100 ppm). In an additional experiment, we investigated the impact of temperature (0–25°C) on the maturation of North Sea F. vesiculosus receptacles. A marked seasonal reproductive cycle of F. vesiculosus became apparent in the course of 1 year. The first appearance of receptacles on vegetative apices and the further development of immature receptacles of F. vesiculosus in autumn were unaffected by warming or elevated pCO2. During winter, elevated pCO2 in both ambient and warmed temperatures increased the proportion of mature receptacles significantly. In spring, warming and, to a lesser extent, elevated pCO2 accelerated the maturation of receptacles and advanced the release of gametes by up to 2 weeks. Likewise, in the laboratory, maturation and gamete release were accelerated at 15–25°C relative to colder temperatures. In summary, elevated pCO2 and/or warming do not influence receptacle appearance in autumn, but do accelerate the maturation process during spring, resulting in earlier gamete release. Temperature and, to a much lesser extent, pCO2 affect the temporal development of Fucus fertility. Thus, rising temperatures will mainly shift or disturb the phenology of F. vesiculosus in spring and summer, which may alter and/or hamper its ecological functions in shallow coastal ecosystems of the Baltic Sea.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal variations of Fucus vesiculosus fertility under ocean acidification and warming in the western Baltic Sea’

The dinoflagellate Akashiwo sanguinea will benefit from future climate change: The interactive effects of ocean acidification, warming and high irradiance on photophysiology and hemolytic activity

Due to global climate change, marine phytoplankton will likely experience low pH (ocean acidification), high temperatures and high irradiance in the future. Here, this work report the results of a batch culture experiment conducted to study the interactive effects of elevated CO2, increased temperature and high irradiance on the harmful dinoflagellate Akashiwo sanguinea, isolated at Dongtou Island, Eastern China Sea. The A. sanguineacells were acclimated in high CO2 condition for about three months before testing the responses of cells to a full factorial matrix experimentation during a 7-day period. This study measured the variation in physiological parameters and hemolytic activity in 8 treatments, representing full factorial combinations of 2 levels each of exposure to CO2(400 and 1000 μatm), temperature (20 and 28 °C) and irradiance (50 and 200 μmol photons m−2 s−1). Sustained growth of A. sanguinea occurred in all treatments, but high CO2 (HC) stimulated faster growth than low CO2 (LC). The pigments (chlorophyll a and carotenoid) decreased in all HC treatments. The quantum yield (Fv/Fm) declined slightly in all high-temperature (HT) treatments. High irradiance (HL) induced the accumulation of ultraviolet-absorbing compounds (UVabc) irrespective of temperature and CO2. The hemolytic activity in the LC treatments, however, declined when exposed to HT and HL, but HC alleviated the adverse effects of HT and HL on hemolytic activity. All HC and HL conditions and the combinations of high temperature*high light (HTHL) and high CO2*high temperature*high light (HCHTHL) positively affected the growth in comparison to the low CO2*low temperature*low light (LCLTLL) treatment. High temperature (HT), high light (HL) and a combination of HT*HL, however, negatively impacted hemolytic activity. CO2 was the main factor that affected the growth and hemolytic activity. There were no significant interactive effects of CO2*temperature*irradiance on growth, pigment, Fv/Fm or hemolytic activity, but there were effects on Pm, α, and Ek. If these results are extrapolated to the natural environment, it can be hypothesized that A. sanguinea cells will benefit from the combination of ocean acidification, warming, and high irradiance that are likely to occur under future climate change. It is assumed that faster growth and higher hemolytic activity and UVabc of this species will occur under future conditions compared with those the current CO2 (400 μatm) and temperature (20 °C) conditions.

Continue reading ‘The dinoflagellate Akashiwo sanguinea will benefit from future climate change: The interactive effects of ocean acidification, warming and high irradiance on photophysiology and hemolytic activity’

Short-term CO2 exposure and temperature rise effects on metazoan meiofauna and free-living nematodes in sandy and muddy sediments: Results from a flume experiment

Global concern over increasing CO2 emissions, and the resultant CO2 driven temperature rises and changes in seawater chemistry, necessitates the advancement of understanding into how these changes will affect marine life now and in the future. Here we report on an experimental investigation into the effects of increased CO2concentration and elevated temperature on sedimentary meiofaunal communities. Cohesive (muddy) and non-cohesive (sandy) sediments were collected from the Eden Estuary in St. Andrews, Scotland, UK, placed within a flume setup and exposed to 2 levels of CO2 concentration (380 and 750 ppmv, current at the time of the experiment, and predicted CO2 concentration by 2100, respectively) and 2 temperature levels (12 °C and 16 °C, current in-situ and predicted temperature by 2100, respectively). We investigated the metazoan meiofauna and nematode communities before and after 28 days of exposure under these experimental conditions. The most determinative factor for abundance, diversity and community structure of meiofauna and nematodes was sediment type: on all levels, communities were significantly different between sand and mud sediments which agrees with what is generally known about the influence of sediment structure on meiofaunal organisms. Few CO2 and temperature effects were observed, suggesting that meiofauna and nematodes are generally much less responsive than, for instance, microbial communities and macrofauna to these environmental changes in estuarine environments, where organisms are naturally exposed to a fluctuating environment. This was corroborated by the observed effects related to the different seasons in which the samples were taken from the field to run the experiment. After 28 days, meiofauna and nematode communities in muddy sediments showed a greater response to increased CO2 concentration and temperature rise than in sandy sediments. However, further study is needed to investigate the underlying mechanisms and meiofauna species-specific resilience and responses to ocean acidification and warming, and their interactions with other biota, to understand what such changes may mean for meiofauna communities and the ecosystem processes and functions they contribute to.

Continue reading ‘Short-term CO2 exposure and temperature rise effects on metazoan meiofauna and free-living nematodes in sandy and muddy sediments: Results from a flume experiment’

Marine microbial gene abundance and community composition in response to ocean acidification and elevated temperature in two contrasting coastal marine sediments

Marine ecosystems are exposed to a range of human-induced climate stressors, in particular changing carbonate chemistry and elevated sea surface temperatures as a consequence of climate change. More research effort is needed to reduce uncertainties about the effects of global-scale warming and acidification for benthic microbial communities, which drive sedimentary biogeochemical cycles. In this research, mesocosm experiments were set up using muddy and sandy coastal sediments to investigate the independent and interactive effects of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations (750 ppm CO2) and elevated temperature (ambient + 4 °C) on the abundance of taxonomic and functional microbial genes. Specific q-PCR primers were used to target archaeal, bacterial and cyanobacterial/chloroplast 16S rRNA in both sediment types. Nitrogen cycling genes archaeal and bacterial ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) and bacterial nitrite reductase (nirS) were specifically targeted to identify changes in microbial gene abundance and potential impacts on nitrogen cycling. In muddy sediment, microbial gene abundance, including amoA and nirS genes, increased under elevated temperature and reduced under elevated CO2 after 28 days, accompanied by shifts in community composition. In contrast, the combined stressor treatment showed a non-additive effect with lower microbial gene abundance throughout the experiment. The response of microbial communities in the sandy sediment was less pronounced, with the most noticeable response seen in the archaeal gene abundances in response to environmental stressors over time. 16S rRNA genes (amoA and nirS) were lower in abundance in the combined stressor treatments in sandy sediments. Our results indicated that marine benthic microorganisms, especially in muddy sediments, are susceptible to changes in ocean carbonate chemistry and seawater temperature, which ultimately may have an impact upon key benthic biogeochemical cycles.

Continue reading ‘Marine microbial gene abundance and community composition in response to ocean acidification and elevated temperature in two contrasting coastal marine sediments’

Short-term effects of increased temperature and lowered pH on a temperate grazer-seaweed interaction (Littorina obtusata/Ascophyllum nodosum)

There has been a significant increase in the literature regarding the effects of warming and acidification on the marine ecosystem. To our knowledge, there is very little information on the potential effects of both combined stressors on marine grazer-seaweed interactions. Here, we evaluated, for the first time several phenotypic responses (e.g periwinkle survival, condition index, consumption rates, seaweed photosynthetic activity and oxidative stress) of the temperate periwinkle Littorina obtusata (grazer) and the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum (prey) to such climate change-related variables, for 15 days. Increased temperature (22 °C, pH 8.0) elicited a significant lethal effect on the periwinkle within a short-term period (mortality rate > 90%). Acidification condition (18 °C, pH 7.6) was the one that showed lower mortality rates (≈20%), reflected by lower impact on periwinkle fitness and consumption rates. Under a scenario of increased temperature and lowered pH the antioxidant defences of L. obtusata seemed to be supressed increasing the risk of peroxidative damage. The seaweed evidenced signs of cellular damage under such conditions. These results suggest that: i) lower pH per se seems to benefit the interaction between grazer and seaweed while, ii) a combined scenario of increased temperature and lowered pH may be negative for the interaction, due to the unbalance between periwinkle mortality rates and consumption rates. But most importantly, since grazing often plays an important role on structuring natural communities, such predator-prey disturbances can elicit cascading effects on the remaining community structure and functioning of the temperate rocky-shore ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Short-term effects of increased temperature and lowered pH on a temperate grazer-seaweed interaction (Littorina obtusata/Ascophyllum nodosum)’


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