Posts Tagged 'vents'

Ervilia castanea (Mollusca, Bivalvia) populations adversely affected at CO2 seeps in the North Atlantic

Highlights

  • The bivalve Ervilia castanea was studied at volcanic CO2 seeps and reference sites.
  • Abundance, size and net-calcification were inversely related to CO2 levels.
  • Large individuals were scarce or absent at high CO2 sites.
  • Recruitment of this bivalve was highest at the CO2 seeps.
  • Abundance and size of E. castanea were positively correlated with Chl-a in sediment.

Abstract

Sites with naturally high CO2 conditions provide unique opportunities to forecast the vulnerability of coastal ecosystems to ocean acidification, by studying the biological responses and potential adaptations to this increased environmental variability. In this study, we investigated the bivalve Ervilia castanea in coastal sandy sediments at reference sites and at volcanic CO2 seeps off the Azores, where the pH of bottom waters ranged from average oceanic levels of 8.2, along gradients, down to 6.81, in carbonated seawater at the seeps. The bivalve population structure changed markedly at the seeps. Large individuals became less abundant as seawater CO2 levels rose and were completely absent from the most acidified sites. In contrast, small bivalves were most abundant at the CO2 seeps. We propose that larvae can settle and initially live in high abundances under elevated CO2 levels, but that high rates of post-settlement dispersal and/or mortality occur. Ervilia castanea were susceptible to elevated CO2 levels and these effects were consistently associated with lower food supplies. This raises concerns about the effects of ocean acidification on the brood stock of this species and other bivalve molluscs with similar life history traits.

Continue reading ‘Ervilia castanea (Mollusca, Bivalvia) populations adversely affected at CO2 seeps in the North Atlantic’

Ervilia castanea (Mollusca, Bivalvia) populations adversely affected at CO2 seeps in the North Atlantic

Highlights

  • The bivalve Ervilia castanea was studied at volcanic CO2 seeps and reference sites.
  • Abundance, size and net-calcification were inversely related to CO2 levels.
  • Large individuals were scarce or absent at high CO2 sites.
  • Recruitment of this bivalve was highest at the CO2 seeps.
  • Abundance and size of E. castanea were positively correlated with Chl-a in sediment.

 

Abstract

Sites with naturally high CO2 conditions provide unique opportunities to forecast the vulnerability of coastal ecosystems to ocean acidification, by studying the biological responses and potential adaptations to this increased environmental variability. In this study, we investigated the bivalve Ervilia castanea in coastal sandy sediments at reference sites and at volcanic CO2 seeps off the Azores, where the pH of bottom waters ranged from average oceanic levels of 8.2, along gradients, down to 6.81, in carbonated seawater at the seeps. The bivalve population structure changed markedly at the seeps. Large individuals became less abundant as seawater CO2 levels rose and were completely absent from the most acidified sites. In contrast, small bivalves were most abundant at the CO2 seeps. We propose that larvae can settle and initially live in high abundances under elevated CO2 levels, but that high rates of post-settlement dispersal and/or mortality occur. Ervilia castanea were susceptible to elevated CO2 levels and these effects were consistently associated to lower food supplies. This raises concerns about the effects of ocean acidification on the brood stock of this species and other bivalve molluscs of similar life history traits.

 

Continue reading ‘Ervilia castanea (Mollusca, Bivalvia) populations adversely affected at CO2 seeps in the North Atlantic’

Calcifiers can adjust shell building at the nanoscale to resist ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is considered detrimental to marine calcifiers based on laboratory studies showing that increased seawater acidity weakens their ability to build calcareous shells needed for growth and protection. In the natural environment, however, the effects of ocean acidification are subject to ecological and evolutionary processes that may allow calcifiers to buffer or reverse these short‐term negative effects through adaptive mechanisms. Using marine snails inhabiting a naturally CO2‐enriched environment over multiple generations, it is discovered herein that they build more durable shells (i.e., mechanically more resilient) by adjusting the building blocks of their shells (i.e., calcium carbonate crystals), such as atomic rearrangement to reduce nanotwin thickness and increased incorporation of organic matter. However, these adaptive adjustments to future levels of ocean acidification (year 2100) are eroded at extreme CO2 concentrations, leading to construction of more fragile shells. The discovery of adaptive mechanisms of shell building at the nanoscale provides a new perspective on why some calcifiers may thrive and others collapse in acidifying oceans, and highlights the inherent adaptability that some species possess in adjusting to human‐caused environmental change.

Continue reading ‘Calcifiers can adjust shell building at the nanoscale to resist ocean acidification’

Chemical characterization of Punta de Fuencaliente CO2 seeps system (La Palma Island, NE Atlantic Ocean): a new natural laboratory for ocean acidification studies

We present a new natural carbon dioxide (CO2) system located off the southern coast of La Palma Island (Canary Islands, Spain). Like others CO2 seeps, these seeps can be used as an analogue to study the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on the marine realm. With this aim, we present an accurate chemical characterization of the seeps system carbon emissions, describing the carbon system dynamics, by measuring pH, AT and CT, as well as, Ω aragonite and calcite. Our explorations on the area have found several emission points with similar chemical features. Here, the CO2 emission flux varies between 2.8 kg CO2 d−1 to 28 kg CO2 d−1, becoming a significant source of carbon. CO2 seeps are of volcanic origin and the alteration of local ocean chemistry is due to acid brackish water discharges. Although this kind of acidified system is not a perfect image of future oceans, this area of La Palma island is an exceptional spot to perform studies aimed to understand the effect of different levels of OA on the functioning of marine ecosystems. These studies can then be used to comprehend how life has persisted through past Eras, with higher atmospheric CO2, or to predict the consequences of present fossil fuel usage on the marine ecosystem of the future oceans.

Continue reading ‘Chemical characterization of Punta de Fuencaliente CO2 seeps system (La Palma Island, NE Atlantic Ocean): a new natural laboratory for ocean acidification studies’

Long-term effects of elevated CO2 on the population dynamics of the seagrass Cymodocea Nodosa: evidence from volcanic seeps

We used population reconstruction techniques to assess for the first time the population dynamics of a seagrass, Cymodocea nodosa, exposed to long-term elevated CO2 near three volcanic seeps and compare them with reference sites away from the seeps. Under high CO2, the density of shoots and of individuals (apical shoots), and the vertical and horizontal elongation and production rates, were higher. Nitrogen effects on rhizome elongation and production rates and on biomass, were stronger than CO2 as these were highest at the location where the availability of nitrogen was highest. At the seep where the availability of CO2 was highest and nitrogen lowest, density of shoots and individuals were highest, probably due to CO2 effects on shoot differentiation and induced reproductive output, respectively. In all three seeps there was higher short- and long-term recruitment and growth rates around zero, indicating that elevated CO2 increases the turnover of C. nodosa shoots.

Continue reading ‘Long-term effects of elevated CO2 on the population dynamics of the seagrass Cymodocea Nodosa: evidence from volcanic seeps’

Long-term response of Dictyota dichotoma var. intricata (C. Agardh) Greville (Phaeophyceae) to ocean acidification: Insights from high pCO2 vents

Highlights

•We observed a reduced abundance and individual size of Dictyota at 8.1 compared to pH 6.7

•The photochemical efficiency differs between the two populations of Dictyota, living at two different pH for decades

•Individuals at low pH (6.7) have lower photochemical efficiency, low energetic costs but a higher capability to face the oxidative stress

•The saved energy may be invested in growth and reproduction, ensuring the biological success under ocean acidification

•First physiological plasticity and, then the adaptive response may be at base of short- and long-term response of Dictyota

Abstract

The ocean acidification may severely affect macroalgal communities of the shallowest coastal habitats where they play relevant structural and functional roles. In this paper were investigated the physiological traits of two populations of Dictyota dichotoma var. intricata, living at two different pH for several generations to assess the reasons of the algae reduced abundance at current (8.1) compared to low pH (6.7). Besides, through transplant experiments, the two populations were analysed for the stress response and reversibility of physiological performance at different pH. The long-term acclimation to high pCO2/low pH favours an ecotype characterised by low energetic costs, higher photochemical efficiency and more resistance to the oxidative stress, compared to individuals living at current pH. These traits promoted the growth and reproduction of the community living at pH 6.7, favouring a lower macroalgal diversity, but a higher ecological success under ocean acidification. The similar behaviour observed between Dictyota living at pH 6.7 and transplanted thalli from pH 6.7 to 8.1, suggested a high tolerance to pH changes in the short-term. On the contrary, adaptive responses may have favoured molecular adjustments on the long-term, as showed by the significant differences between the wild populations at pH 8.1 and 6.7. The overall data indicate that both plasticity and adaptive mechanisms may be the reasons for the success of the brown seaweeds under future high pCO2/low pH. The plasticity due to photochemistry adjustments is likely involved in the early response to environmental changes. Conversely, modifications in the photosynthetic biochemical machinery suggest that more complex adaptive mechanisms occurred in the current population of Dictyota living at pH 6.7. Further studies on population genetics will reveal if any differentiation is taking place at the population level or a local adaptation has already occurred in Dictyota and other brown algae under chronic low pH.

Continue reading ‘Long-term response of Dictyota dichotoma var. intricata (C. Agardh) Greville (Phaeophyceae) to ocean acidification: Insights from high pCO2 vents’

Effects of ocean acidification on phenology and epiphytes of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica at two CO2 vent systems of Ischia (Italy)

Morphological features of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile and its epiphyte community were studied in three acidified stations located in two CO2 vents systems and one control station under normal pH conditions off the island of Ischia (Italy) to highlight the possible effects of ocean acidification. Plant phenology was analyzed every two months for a year cycle (June 2016–April 2017), while epiphytes were studied in the period of highest development of both the leaf canopy and the epiphytic community (June, August, and October 2016). The shoot density of Posidonia beds in the acidified stations of the studied sites was significantly higher than that in the control area. Significant differences in the mean leaf length according to the pH condition, month, and the interaction of these two factors were observed (PERMANOVA); the mean leaf width differed also among pH conditions and months. We recorded lower leaf lengths and widths in the acidified stations in all the considered months, compared to those in the control station. These differences are consistent with the higher impact of grazing by the herbivorous fish Sarpa salpa observed on the leaves in the acidified stations. However, the overall leaf surface available for epiphytes was similar among stations because of the higher shoot density under ocean acidification conditions. Overall, the composition and structure of the epiphytic community on the Posidonia leaves showed significant differences in relation to acidification: in both acidified sites, all the calcareous forms, both encrusting red algae (Corallinales) and animals (bryozoans, foraminiferans, and spirorbids), disappeared or were strongly reduced, in favor of encrusting or erect fleshy algae, and non-calcifying invertebrates (hydrozoans, tunicates) which dominated the assemblage. Coralline algae are early species in the epiphytic colonization of P. oceanica and therefore their absence can further modify the pattern of leaf colonization by other species. Therefore, the changes found in the epiphyte community in low pH areas could have potential cascading effects on the seagrass trophic network and the functioning of the system.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on phenology and epiphytes of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica at two CO2 vent systems of Ischia (Italy)’

Coral persistence despite extreme periodic pH fluctuations at a volcanically acidified Caribbean reef

Naturally acidified environments, such as those caused by volcanic CO2 venting, reveal how complex coral reef ecosystems may respond to future ocean acidification conditions. Few of these sites have been described worldwide, and only a single such site is known from the Caribbean. Herein, we have characterized an area of volcanic acidification at Mayreau Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Despite localized CO2 enrichment and gas venting, the surrounding area has high hard and soft coral cover, as well as extensive carbonate frameworks. Twice daily extremes in acidification, in some cases leading to undersaturation of aragonite, are correlated with tidal fluctuations and are likely related to water flow. Corals persisting despite this periodic acidification can provide insights into mechanisms of resilience and the importance of natural pH variability on coral reefs.

Continue reading ‘Coral persistence despite extreme periodic pH fluctuations at a volcanically acidified Caribbean reef’

Changes in fish communities due to benthic habitat shifts under ocean acidification conditions

Highlights

• Ocean acidification-mediated habitat shifts and decreased complexity affect associated fish communities.

• Altered fish traits and reduced diversity occurred under near-future ocean acidification levels.

• Ocean acidification may oppose the poleward-shift of tropical fish species under warming.

Abstract

Ocean acidification will likely change the structure and function of coastal marine ecosystems over coming decades. Volcanic carbon dioxide seeps generate dissolved CO2 and pH gradients that provide realistic insights into the direction and magnitude of these changes. Here, we used fish and benthic community surveys to assess the spatio-temporal dynamics of fish community properties off CO2 seeps in Japan. Adding to previous evidence from ocean acidification ecosystem studies conducted elsewhere, our findings documented shifts from calcified to non-calcified habitats with reduced benthic complexity. In addition, we found that such habitat transition led to decreased diversity of associated fish and to selection of those fish species better adapted to simplified ecosystems dominated by algae. Our data suggest that near-future projected ocean acidification levels will oppose the ongoing range expansion of coral reef-associated fish due to global warming.

Continue reading ‘Changes in fish communities due to benthic habitat shifts under ocean acidification conditions’

Earthquake and typhoon trigger unprecedented transient shifts in shallow hydrothermal vents biogeochemistry

Shallow hydrothermal vents are of pivotal relevance for ocean biogeochemical cycles, including seawater dissolved heavy metals and trace elements as well as the carbonate system balance. The Kueishan Tao (KST) stratovolcano off Taiwan is associated with numerous hydrothermal vents emitting warm sulfur-rich fluids at so-called White Vents (WV) and Yellow Vent (YV) that impact the surrounding seawater masses and habitats. The morphological and biogeochemical consequences caused by a M5.8 earthquake and a C5 typhoon (“Nepartak”) hitting KST (12th May, and 2nd–10th July, 2016) were studied within a 10-year time series (2009–2018) combining aerial drone imagery, technical diving, and hydrographic surveys. The catastrophic disturbances triggered landslides that reshaped the shoreline, burying the seabed and, as a consequence, native sulfur accretions that were abundant on the seafloor disappeared. A significant reduction in venting activity and fluid flow was observed at the high-temperature YV. Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC) maxima in surrounding seawater reached 3000–5000 µmol kg−1, and Total Alkalinity (TA) drawdowns were below 1500–1000 µmol kg−1 lasting for one year. A strong decrease and, in some cases, depletion of dissolved elements (Cd, Ba, Tl, Pb, Fe, Cu, As) including Mg and Cl in seawater from shallow depths to the open ocean followed the disturbance, with a recovery of Mg and Cl to pre-disturbance concentrations in 2018. The WV and YV benthic megafauna exhibited mixed responses in their skeleton Mg:Ca and Sr:Ca ratios, not always following directions of seawater chemical changes. Over 70% of the organisms increased skeleton Mg:Ca ratio during rising DIC (higher CO2) despite decreasing seawater Mg:Ca ratios showing a high level of resilience. KST benthic organisms have historically co-existed with such events providing them ecological advantages under extreme conditions. The sudden and catastrophic changes observed at the KST site profoundly reshaped biogeochemical processes in shallow and offshore waters for one year, but they remained transient in nature, with a possible recovery of the system within two years.

Continue reading ‘Earthquake and typhoon trigger unprecedented transient shifts in shallow hydrothermal vents biogeochemistry’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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