Posts Tagged 'temperature'



Seagrass ecophysiological performance under ocean warming and acidification

Seagrasses play an essential ecological role within coastal habitats and their worldwide population decline has been linked to different types of anthropogenic forces. We investigated, for the first time, the combined effects of future ocean warming and acidification on fundamental biological processes of Zostera noltii, including shoot density, leaf coloration, photophysiology (electron transport rate, ETR; maximum PSII quantum yield, Fv/Fm) and photosynthetic pigments. Shoot density was severely affected under warming conditions, with a concomitant increase in the frequency of brownish colored leaves (seagrass die-off). Warming was responsible for a significant decrease in ETR and Fv/Fm (particularly under control pH conditions), while promoting the highest ETR variability (among experimental treatments). Warming also elicited a significant increase in pheophytin and carotenoid levels, alongside an increase in carotenoid/chlorophyll ratio and De-Epoxidation State (DES). Acidification significantly affected photosynthetic pigments content (antheraxanthin, β-carotene, violaxanthin and zeaxanthin), with a significant decrease being recorded under the warming scenario. No significant interaction between ocean acidification and warming was observed. Our findings suggest that future ocean warming will be a foremost determinant stressor influencing Z. noltii survival and physiological performance. Additionally, acidification conditions to occur in the future will be unable to counteract deleterious effects posed by ocean warming.

Continue reading ‘Seagrass ecophysiological performance under ocean warming and acidification’

Assessment of ocean acidification and warming on the growth, calcification, and biophotonics of a California grass shrimp

Cryptic colouration in crustaceans, important for both camouflage and visual communication, is achieved through physiological and morphological mechanisms that are sensitive to changes in environmental conditions. Consequently, ocean warming and ocean acidification can affect crustaceans’ biophotonic appearance and exoskeleton composition in ways that might disrupt colouration and transparency. In the present study, we measured growth, mineralization, transparency, and spectral reflectance (colouration) of the caridean grass shrimp Hippolyte californiensis in response to pH and temperature stressors. Shrimp were exposed to ambient pH and temperature (pH 8.0, 17 °C), decreased pH (pH 7.5, 17 °C), and decreased pH/increased temperature (pH 7.5, 19 °C) conditions for 7 weeks. There were no differences in either Mg or Ca content in the exoskeleton across treatments nor in the transparency and spectral reflectance. There was a small but significant increase in percent growth in the carapace length of shrimp exposed to decreased pH/increased temperature. Overall, these findings suggest that growth, calcification, and colour of H. californiensis are unaffected by decreases of 0.5 pH units. This tolerance might stem from adaptation to the highly variable pH environment that these grass shrimp inhabit, highlighting the multifarious responses to ocean acidification, within the Crustacea.

Continue reading ‘Assessment of ocean acidification and warming on the growth, calcification, and biophotonics of a California grass shrimp’

Individual and interactive effects of warming and CO2 on Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata and Phaeocystis antarctica, two dominant phytoplankton from the Ross Sea, Antarctica

We investigated the effects of temperature and CO2 variation on the growth and elemental composition of cultures of the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata and the prymnesiophyte Phaeocystis antarctica, two ecologically dominant phytoplankton species isolated from the Ross Sea, Antarctica. To obtain thermal functional response curves, cultures were grown across a range of temperatures from 0 °C to 14 °C. In addition, a competition experiment examined the relative abundance of both species at 0 °C and 6 °C. CO2 functional response curves were conducted from 100 to 1730 ppm at 2 °C and 8 °C to test for interactive effects between the two variables. The growth of both phytoplankton was significantly affected by temperature increase, but with different trends. Growth rates of P. subcurvata increased with temperature from 0 °C to maximum levels at 8 °C, while the growth rates of P. antarctica only increased from 0 °C to 2 °C. The maximum thermal limits of P. subcurvata and P. antarctica where growth stopped completely were 14 °C and 10 °C, respectively. Although P. subcurvata outcompeted P. antarctica at both temperatures in the competition experiment, this happened much faster at 6 °C than at 0 °C. For P. subcurvata, there was a significant interactive effect in which the warmer temperature decreased the CO2 half saturation constant for growth, but this was not the case for P. antarctica. The growth rates of both species increased with CO2 increases up 425 ppm, and in contrast to significant effects of temperature, the effects of CO2 increase on their elemental composition were minimal. Our results suggest that future warming may be more favorable to the diatom than to the prymnesiophyte, while CO2 increases may not be a major factor in future competitive interactions between Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata and Phaeocystis antarctica in the Ross Sea.

Continue reading ‘Individual and interactive effects of warming and CO2 on Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata and Phaeocystis antarctica, two dominant phytoplankton from the Ross Sea, Antarctica’

Size-dependent physiological responses of the branching coral Pocillopora verrucosa to elevated temperature and pCO2

Body size has large effects on organism physiology, but these effects remain poorly understood in modular animals with complex morphologies. Using two trials of a ∼24 day experiment conducted in 2014 and 2015, we tested the hypothesis that colony size of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa affects the response of calcification, aerobic respiration and gross photosynthesis to temperature (∼26.5 and ∼29.7°C) and pCO2 (∼40 and ∼1000 µatm). Large corals calcified more than small corals, but at a slower size-specific rate; area-normalized calcification declined with size. Whole-colony and area-normalized calcification were unaffected by temperature, pCO2, or the interaction between the two. Whole-colony respiration increased with colony size, but the slopes of these relationships differed between treatments. Area-normalized gross photosynthesis declined with colony size, but whole-colony photosynthesis was unaffected by pCO2, and showed a weak response to temperature. When scaled up to predict the response of large corals, area-normalized metrics of physiological performance measured using small corals provide inaccurate estimates of the physiological performance of large colonies. Together, these results demonstrate the importance of colony size in modulating the response of branching corals to elevated temperature and high pCO2.

Continue reading ‘Size-dependent physiological responses of the branching coral Pocillopora verrucosa to elevated temperature and pCO2’

Metabolic response of Arctic pteropods to ocean acidification and warming during the polar night/twilight phase in Kongsfjord (Spitsbergen)

Thecosome pteropods are considered highly sensitive to ocean acidification. During the Arctic winter, increased solubility of CO2 in cold waters intensifies ocean acidification and food sources are limited. Ocean warming is also particularly pronounced in the Arctic. Here, we present the first data on metabolic rates of two pteropod species (Limacina helicina, Limacina retroversa) during the Arctic winter at 79°N (polar night/twilight phase). Routine oxygen consumption rates and the metabolic response [oxygen consumption (MO2), ammonia excretion (NH3), overall metabolic balance (O:N)] to elevated levels of pCO2 and temperature were examined. Our results suggest lower routine MO2 rates for both Limacina species in winter than in summer. In an 18-h experiment, both pCO2 and temperature affected MO2 of L. helicina and L. retroversa. After a 9-day experiment with L. helicina all three metabolic response variables were affected by the two factors with interactive effects in case of NH3 and O:N. The response resembled a “hormesis-type” pattern with up-regulation at intermediate pCO2 and the highest temperature level. For L. retroversa, NH3 excretion was affected by both factors and O:N only by temperature. No significant effects of pCO2 or temperature on MO2 were detected. Metabolic up-regulation will entail higher energetic costs that may not be covered during periods of food limitation such as the Arctic winter and compel pteropods to utilize storage compounds to a greater extent than usual. This may reduce the fitness and survival of overwintering pteropods and negatively impact their reproductive success in the following summer.

Continue reading ‘Metabolic response of Arctic pteropods to ocean acidification and warming during the polar night/twilight phase in Kongsfjord (Spitsbergen)’

Reformation of tissue balls from tentacle explants of coral Goniopora lobata: self-organization process and response to environmental stresses

Coral has strong regeneration ability, which has been applied for coral production and biodiversity protection via tissue ball (TB) culture. However, the architecture, morphological processes, and effects of environmental factors on TB formation have not been well investigated. In this study, we first observed TB formation from the cutting tentacle of scleractinia coral Goniopora lobata and uncovered its inner organization and architecture by confocal microscopy. We then found that the cutting tentacle TB could self-organize and reform a solid TB (sTB) in the culture media. Using chemical drug treatment and dissection manipulation approaches, we demonstrated that the mechanical forces for bending and rounding of the cutting fragments came from the epithelial cells, and the cilia of epithelial cell played indispensable roles for the rounding process. Environmental stress experiments showed that high temperature, not CO2-induced acidification, affected TB and sTB formation. However, the combination of high temperature and acidification caused additional severe effects on sTB reformation. Our studies indicate that coral TB has strong regeneration ability and therefore could serve as a new model to further explore the molecular mechanism of TB formation and the effects of environmental stresses on coral survival and regeneration.

Continue reading ‘Reformation of tissue balls from tentacle explants of coral Goniopora lobata: self-organization process and response to environmental stresses’

Impact of environmental factors on bacterioplankton communities

Aquatic bacteria are main drivers of biogeochemical cycles and contribute predominantly to organic matter and nutrient recycling. As a high biodiversity is assumed to stabilize ecosystem functioning, it is necessary to understand the bacterial community dynamics and their structuring factors. It is known that different taxa are dominant across different habitats and seasons. This indicates an occurrence of species sorting by community structuring environmental factors. A first attempt for the understanding of bacterial distribution is to test for a correlation between microbial composition and measured environmental variables. In order to get further insights into the impact of environmental factors on bacterial communities, this thesis assessed the influence of major structuring drivers by using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, bacterial bulk parameters and interdisciplinary approaches in laboratory experiments and field studies.

In a field study in the Benguela upwelling system, the influence of different levels of primary production and the planktonic succession on bacterial community composition and its development was investigated. Community analysis revealed a clustering of different microbial assemblages along aging upwelled water. This zonation was mainly driven by phytoplankton composition and abundance and the spatial differences were comparable with a temporal succession that occurs during phytoplankton blooms in temperate coastal waters. A dominance of Bacteroidetes and Gammaproteobacteria was observed during algal blooming and high abundance of “Pelagibacterales” was found in regions with low algal abundance. Overall, this study highlightes the strong impact of quality and quantity of phytoplankton and nutrients on the bacterial communities.

A laboratory experiment with Baltic Sea water was performed to better understand the potential impact of rising temperature and CO2 on planktonic bacteria. The development of the bacterial community composition was followed in bifactorial mesocosm experiments during a diatom bloom in autumn and a phytoplankton bloom in summer. The results confirmed that phytoplankton succession and temperature were the major variables structuring the bacterial community. The impact of CO2 on the broad community was weak but high-resolution community analyses revealed a strong effect on specific bacterial groups, which might play important roles in specific organic matter degradation processes.

The response of bacterial communities to a disturbance by a saline intrusion could be investigated during a major Baltic inflow event. Community structuring factors were dominated by mixing of the inflow water with the former bottom water. Although the inflow had a selecting effect on the bacterial community, some immigrated taxa showed increased potential activity and seem to profit from changing environmental conditions. These results suggest a potential impact of inflow events on bacterial functions and therefore on biogeochemical processes.

Altogether, the results confirm the strong structuring effects of environmental conditions on bacterial community composition. Furthermore, high-resolution sequencing enabled an identification of specific affected taxa, which in turn give first clues for the impact of the investigated factors on specific bacterial functions.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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