Posts Tagged 'zooplankton'

Multi-generational mitigating effects of ocean acidification on in vivo endpoints, antioxidant defense, DNA damage response, and epigenetic modification in an asexual monogonont rotifer

Ocean acidification (OA) is caused by changes in ocean carbon chemistry due to increased atmospheric pCO2 and is predicted to have deleterious effects on marine ecosystems. While the potential impacts of OA on many marine species have been studied, the multi-generational effects on asexual organisms remain unknown. We found that low seawater pH induced oxidative stress and DNA damage, decreasing growth rates, fecundity, and lifespans in the parental generation, whereas deleterious effects on in vivo endpoints in F1 and F2 offspring were less evident. The findings suggest multi-generational adaptive effects play a role in antioxidant abilities and other defenses mechanisms. OA-induced DNA damage, including double-strand breaks (DSBs), was fully repaired in F1 offspring of parents exposed to OA for 7 days, indicating that an adaptation mechanism may be the major driving force behind multi-generational adaptive effects. Analysis of epigenetic modification in response to OA involved examination of histone modification of DNA repair genes and a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, as B. koreanus has no methylation pattern for CpG in its genome. We conclude that DSBs, DNA repair, and histone modification play important roles in multi-generational plasticity in response to OA in an asexual monogonont rotifer.

Continue reading ‘Multi-generational mitigating effects of ocean acidification on in vivo endpoints, antioxidant defense, DNA damage response, and epigenetic modification in an asexual monogonont rotifer’

Metabolic responses of subtropical microplankton after a simulated deep-water upwelling event suggest a possible dominance of mixotrophy under increasing CO2 levels

In the autumn of 2014, nine large mesocosms were deployed in the oligotrophic subtropical North-Atlantic coastal waters off Gran Canaria (Spain). Their deployment was designed to address the acidification effects of CO2 levels from 400 to 1,400 μatm, on a plankton community experiencing upwelling of nutrient-rich deep water. Among other parameters, chlorophyll a (chl-a), potential respiration (Φ), and biomass in terms of particulate protein (B) were measured in the microplankton community (0.7–50.0 μm) during an oligotrophic phase (Phase I), a phytoplankton-bloom phase (Phase II), and a post-bloom phase (Phase III). Here, we explore the use of the Φ/chl-a ratio in monitoring shifts in the microplankton community composition and its metabolism. Φ/chl-a values below 2.5 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1 indicated a community dominated by photoautotrophs. When Φ/chl-a ranged higher, between 2.5 and 7.0 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1, it indicated a mixed community of phytoplankton, microzooplankton and heterotrophic prokaryotes. When Φ/chl-a rose above 7.0 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1, it indicated a community where microzooplankton proliferated (>10.0 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1), because heterotrophic dinoflagellates bloomed. The first derivative of B, as a function of time (dB/dt), indicates the rate of protein build-up when positive and the rate of protein loss, when negative. It revealed that the maximum increase in particulate protein (biomass) occurred between 1 and 2 days before the chl-a peak. A day after this peak, the trough revealed the maximum net biomass loss. This analysis did not detect significant changes in particulate protein, neither in Phase I nor in Phase III. Integral analysis of Φ, chl-a and B, over the duration of each phase, for each mesocosm, reflected a positive relationship between Φ and pCO2 during Phase II [α = 230·10−5 μL O2 h−1 L−1 (μatm CO2)−1 (phase-day)−1, R2 = 0.30] and between chl-a and pCO2 during Phase III [α = 100·10−5 μg chl-a L−1 (μ atmCO2)−1 (phase-day)−1, R2 = 0.84]. At the end of Phase II, a harmful algal species (HAS), Vicicitus globosus, bloomed in the high pCO2 mesocosms. In these mesocosms, microzooplankton did not proliferate, and chl-a retention time in the water column increased. In these V. globosus-disrupted communities, the Φ/chl-a ratio [4.1 ± 1.5 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1] was more similar to the Φ/chl-a ratio in a mixed plankton community than to a photoautotroph-dominated one.

Continue reading ‘Metabolic responses of subtropical microplankton after a simulated deep-water upwelling event suggest a possible dominance of mixotrophy under increasing CO2 levels’

High CO2 and warming affect microzooplankton food web dynamics in a Baltic Sea summer plankton community

Aquatic ecosystems face a multitude of environmental stressors, including warming and acidification. While warming is expected to have a pronounced effect on plankton communities, many components of the plankton seem fairly robust towards realistic end-of-century acidification conditions. However, interactions of the two stressors and the inclusion of further factors such as nutrient concentration and trophic interactions are expected to change this outcome. We investigated the effects of warming and high CO2 on a nutrient-deplete late summer plankton community from the Kiel Fjord, Baltic Sea, using a mesocosm setup crossing two temperatures with a gradient of CO2. Phytoplankton and microzooplankton (MZP) growth rates as well as biomass, taxonomic composition, and grazing rates of MZP were analysed. We observed effects of high CO2, warming, and their interactions on all measured parameters. The occurrence and direction of the effects were dependent on the phytoplankton or MZP community composition. In addition, the abundance of small-sized phytoplankton was identified as one of the most important factors in shaping the MZP community composition. Overall, our results indicate that an estuarine MZP community used to strong natural fluctuations in CO2 can still be affected by a moderate increase in CO2 if it occurs in combination with warming and during a nutrient-deplete post-bloom situation. This highlights the importance of including trophic interactions and seasonality aspects when assessing climate change effects on marine zooplankton communities.

Continue reading ‘High CO2 and warming affect microzooplankton food web dynamics in a Baltic Sea summer plankton community’

Combined stress of ocean acidification and warming influence survival and drives differential gene expression patterns in the Antarctic pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica

The ecologically important thecosome pteropods in the Limacina spp. complex have recently been the focus of studies examining the impacts global change factors – e.g., ocean acidification (OA) and ocean warming (OW) – on their performance and physiology. This focus is driven by conservation concerns where the health of pteropod populations is threatened by the high susceptibility of their shells to dissolution in low aragonite saturation states associated with OA and how coupling of these stressors may push pteropods past the limits of physiological plasticity. In this manipulation experiment, we describe changes in the transcriptome of the Antarctic pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica, to these combined stressors. The conditions used in the laboratory treatments met or exceeded those projected for the Southern Ocean by the year 2100. We made two general observations regarding the outcome of the data: (1) Temperature was more influential than pH in terms of changing patterns of gene expression, and (2) these Antarctic pteropods appeared to have a significant degree of transcriptomic plasticity to respond to acute abiotic stress in the laboratory. In general, differential gene expression was observed amongst the treatments; here, for example, transcripts associated with maintaining protein structure and cell proliferation were up-regulated. To disentangle the effects of OA and OW, we used a weighted gene co-expression network analysis to explore patterns of change in the transcriptome. This approach identified gene networks associated with OW that were enriched for transcripts proposed to be involved in increasing membrane fluidity at warmer temperatures. Together these data provide evidence that L.h.antarctica has a limited capacity to acclimate to the combined conditions of OA and OW used in this study. This reduced scope of acclimation argues for continued study of how adaptation to polar aquatic environments may limit the plasticity of present-day populations in responding to future environmental change.

Continue reading ‘Combined stress of ocean acidification and warming influence survival and drives differential gene expression patterns in the Antarctic pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica’

Determining how biotic and abiotic variables affect the shell condition and parameters of Heliconoides inflatus pteropods from a sediment trap in the Cariaco Basin

Pteropods have been nicknamed the “canary in the coal mine” for ocean acidification because they are predicted to be among the first organisms to be affected by changing ocean chemistry. This is due to their fragile, aragonitic shells and high abundances in polar and subpolar regions where the impacts of ocean acidification are most pronounced. For pteropods to be used most effectively as indicators of ocean acidification, the biotic and abiotic factors influencing their shell formation and dissolution in the modern ocean need to be quantified and understood. Here, we measured the shell condition (i.e., the degree to which a shell has dissolved) and shell characteristics, including size, number of whorls, shell thickness, and shell volume (i.e., amount of shell material) of nearly 50 specimens of the pteropod species Heliconoides inflatus sampled from a sediment trap in the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela, over an 11-month period. The shell condition of pteropods from sediment traps has the potential to be altered at three stages: (1) when the organisms are live in the water column associated with ocean acidification, (2) when organisms are dead in the water column associated with biotic decay of organic matter and/or abiotic dissolution associated with ocean acidification, and (3) when organisms are in the closed sediment trap cup associated with abiotic alteration by the preservation solution. Shell condition was assessed using two methods: the Limacina Dissolution Index (LDX) and the opacity method. The opacity method was found to capture changes in shell condition only in the early stages of dissolution, whereas the LDX recorded dissolution changes over a much larger range. Because the water in the Cariaco Basin is supersaturated with respect to aragonite year-round, we assume no dissolution occurred during life, and there is no evidence that shell condition deteriorated with the length of time in the sediment trap. Light microscope and scanning electron microscope (SEM) images show the majority of alteration happened to dead pteropods while in the water column associated with the decay of organic matter. The most altered shells occurred in samples collected in September and October when water temperatures were warmest and when the amount of organic matter degradation, both within the shells of dead specimens and in the water column, was likely to have been the greatest.

Continue reading ‘Determining how biotic and abiotic variables affect the shell condition and parameters of Heliconoides inflatus pteropods from a sediment trap in the Cariaco Basin’

Relationship between shell integrity of pelagic gastropods and carbonate chemistry parameters at a Scottish Coastal Observatory monitoring site

Ocean acidification (OA), the anthropogenic carbon dioxide-induced changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, is likely to have a significant impact on calcifying plankton. Most planktonic studies on OA are based on “one-off” cruises focused on offshore areas while observations from inshore waters are scarce. This study presents the first analysis on the shell integrity of pelagic gastropods (holoplanktonic pteropods and planktonic larvae of otherwise benthic species) at the Scottish Coastal Observatory monitoring site at Stonehaven on the east coast of Scotland. The shell integrity of archived pelagic gastropods specimens from 2011 to 2013 was examined using Scanning Electron Microscopy and the relationship with OA (pH and aragonite saturation, Ωarg) and other environmental parameters was investigated. Evidence of shell dissolution was detected in all analysed taxa even though the seawater was supersaturated with respect to aragonite. The shell condition matched the temporal pattern observed in Ωarg, with higher proportion of dissolution associated with decreasing Ωarg, suggesting that the seasonality component of carbonate chemistry might affect the shell integrity of pelagic gastropods. The proportion of shell dissolution differed significantly between larvae and adult stages of pteropods, supporting the hypothesis that early-life stages would be more vulnerable to OA-induced changes. Our data also suggest that sensitivity to OA may differ even between closely related taxonomic groups. The strong interannual variability revealed by the year-to-year shell dissolution and Ωarg illustrates the difficulty in assessing the plankton response to OA in the field and the value of time series studies.

Continue reading ‘Relationship between shell integrity of pelagic gastropods and carbonate chemistry parameters at a Scottish Coastal Observatory monitoring site’

State and trends of Australia’s ocean report: ocean acidification and calcifying zooplankton

There is no evidence of a decline in calcifying zooplankton at the IMOS National
Reference Stations over the past 10 years, suggesting ocean acidification
over this time span is unlikely to be having a substantial impact on calcifying
zooplankton. However, there is some evidence that calcifying zooplankton
might at Maria Island and Yongala be sensitive to the aragonite saturation state
at the range of values currently observed.

Continue reading ‘State and trends of Australia’s ocean report: ocean acidification and calcifying zooplankton’

Spring distribution of shelled pteropods across the Mediterranean Sea

Shelled pteropods represent an excellent sentinel for indicating exposure to ocean acidification (OA). Here, for the first time, we characterise spring pteropod distribution throughout the Mediterranean Sea, a region that has been identified as a climate change hot-spot. The presence of a west–east natural biogeochemical gradient makes this region a natural laboratory to investigate how the variability in environmental parameters may affect pteropod distribution. Results show that pteropod abundance is significantly higher in the eastern Mediterranean Sea where there is a higher aragonite saturation state (Ωar), showing that distribution is positively correlated with Ωar. We also observed a resilience of pteropods to higher temperatures and low nutrient conditions, including phosphorous limitation. The higher abundance of pteropods in ultra-oligotrophic conditions (eastern Mediterranean Sea) suggests that this organism can play an important role as the prime calcifying zooplankton within specific oligotrophic regions.

Continue reading ‘Spring distribution of shelled pteropods across the Mediterranean Sea’

Seasonal variation in physiology and shell condition of the pteropod Limacina retroversa in the Gulf of Maine relative to life cycle and carbonate chemistry

Natural cycles in the seawater partial pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Gulf of Maine, which vary from ∼250-550 µatm seasonally, provide an opportunity to observe how the life cycle and phenology of the shelled pteropod Limacina retroversa responds to changing food, temperature and carbonate chemistry conditions. Distributional, hydrographic, and physiological sampling suggest that pteropod populations are located in the upper portion of the water column (0-150 m) with a maximum abundance above 50 m, allowing them to generally avoid aragonite undersaturation. Gene expression and shell condition measurements show, however, that the population already experiences biomineralization stress in the winter months even when aragonite is slightly oversaturated, reinforcing the usefulness of this organism as a bio-indicator for pelagic ecosystem response to ocean acidification. There appear to be two reproductive events per year with one pulse timed to coincide with the spring bloom, the period with highest respiration rate, fluorescence, and pH, and a second more extended pulse in the late summer and fall. During the fall there is evidence of lipid storage for overwintering, allowing the second generation to survive the period of low food and aragonite saturation state. Based on these observations we predict that in the future pteropods will likely be most vulnerable to changing CO2 regionally during the fall reproductive event when CO2 concentration already naturally rises and there is the added stress of generating lipid stores.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal variation in physiology and shell condition of the pteropod Limacina retroversa in the Gulf of Maine relative to life cycle and carbonate chemistry’

Zooplankton growth and survival differentially respond to interactive warming and acidification effects

The copepod Acartia tonsa is a key component of a wide range of marine ecosystems, linking energy transfer from phytoplankton to higher trophic levels, and has a central role in productivity and biogeochemistry. The interaction of end-of-century global warming and ocean acidification scenarios with testing moderate temperature effects on a seminatural copepod community is needed to understand future community functioning. Here, we deployed a mesocosm experimental set-up with a full factorial design using two temperatures (13°C and 19°C) crossed with a pCO2 gradient ranging from ambient (550 μatm) to 3000 μatm. We used the natural bacteria, phyto- and microzooplankton species composition and biomass of the Kiel Bight and tested the response of A. tonsa development, carbon growth, mortality, size and condition. The tested traits were differently affected by the interaction of temperature and acidification. Ocean acidification increased development, carbon growth, size and mortality under the warming scenario of 19°C. At 13°C mortality rates decreased, while carbon growth, size and condition increased with acidification. We conclude from our experimental approach that a single species shows a variety of responses depending on the focal functional trait. Trait-specific mesozooplankton responses need to be further investigated and compared between geographical regions, seasons and taxonomic groups.

Continue reading ‘Zooplankton growth and survival differentially respond to interactive warming and acidification effects’


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