Although shelled pteropods are expected to be particularly sensitive to ocean acidification, the few available studies have mostly focused on polar species and have not allowed determining which parameter of the carbonate system controls their calcification. Specimens of the temperate Mediterranean species Creseis acicula were maintained under seven different conditions of the carbonate chemistry, obtained by manipulating pH and total alkalinity, with the goal to disentangle the effects of the pH and the saturation state with respect to aragonite (Ωa). Our results tend to show that respiration, excretion as well as rates of net and gross calcification were not directly affected by a decrease in pH but decreased significantly with a decrease in Ωa. Due to the difficulties in maintaining pteropods in the laboratory and the important variability in their abundances in our study site, long-term acclimation as well as replication of the experiment was not possible. However, we strongly believe that these results represent an important step in the mechanistic understanding of the effect of ocean acidification on pteropods physiology.
Archive for May 30th, 2012
Effect of carbonate chemistry manipulations on calcification, respiration, and excretion of a Mediterranean pteropodPublished 30 May 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, calcification, Mediterranean, mollusks
Biochemical, metabolic and morphological responses of the intertidal gastropod Littorina littorea to ocean acidification and increase temperaturePublished 30 May 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, mollusks, morphology, North Atlantic, physiology, respiration
Future changes to the pH and temperature of the oceans are predicted to impact the biodiversity of marine ecosystems, particularly those animals that rely on the process of calcification. The marine intertidal gastropod Littorina littorea can be used as a model of intertidal organism for investigating the effects of ocean acidification and high temperature, alone and in combination because its ability to be quickly adapt against environmental stressor. In the first study a single species population of L. littorea was used to test for physiological and biochemical effects underpinning organismal responses to climate change and ocean acidification. Compared with control conditions, snails decreased metabolic rates by 31% in response to elevated pCO2 while by 15% in response to combined pCO2 and temperature. Decreased metabolic rates were associated with metabolic depression, a strategy to match oxygen demand and availability, and an increase in end-product metabolites in the tissue under acidified treatments, indicating an increased reliance on anaerobic metabolism. This study also showed that anthropogenic alteration of CO2 and temperature may also lead to plastic responses, a fundamental mechanism of many marine gastropods to cope environmental variability. At low pH and elevated temperature in isolation or combined showing lower shell growth than individuals kept under control conditions. Percentage change in shell length and thicknesses was also lower under acidified and temperature in isolation or combined than control condition, making shells were more globular and desiccation rates were higher. Further studies to broader latitudinal ranges for six populations of L. littorea showed that shell growth decreased in all six populations under elevated pCO2 compared to control snails particularly those at range edges. Elevated pCO2 also affected to the reduction of shell length and width that causing shell aspect ratio to increase across latitudinal gradients except individuals from Millport, UK. Percentage changes of aperture width and aperture area were also decrease under elevated pCO2 with greater reduction of aperture area were found at populations in the mid-ranges which is assumed this response might be linked to local adaptation of the individual to microclimatic conditions. This study also showed that metabolic rates were negatively affected by high pCO2 and show non-linear trend across latitudinal gradients in compared to individual kept under normal pCO2 conditions. Metabolomic analysis showed that two northern populations of Trondheim and TromsØ were distinct from other populations when exposed to low temperature (15 °C) with elevated pCO2 due to, in part, high concentrations of thymine, uracil, valine and lysine. A similar separation also occurred under medium (25 °C) and high (35 °C) temperature exposure in which one of northern population (Trondheim) was distinct from other populations and had lower concentrations of alanine, betaine and taurine while higher of valine. These results suggest that populations at northern latitudes may apply different ionic transport mechanisms under elevated pCO2 and elevated temperatures and those populations are likely to vary in terms of their physiological responses to this environmental challenge.
Marine bivalve shell geochemistry and ultrastructure from modern low pH environments: environmental effect versus experimental bias (update)Published 30 May 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, calcification, field, laboratory, Mediterranean, mollusks, morphology, North Atlantic
Bivalve shells can provide excellent archives of past environmental change but have not been used to interpret ocean acidification events. We investigated carbon, oxygen and trace element records from different shell layers in the mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis combined with detailed investigations of the shell ultrastructure. Mussels from the harbour of Ischia (Mediterranean, Italy) were transplanted and grown in water with mean pHT 7.3 and mean pHT 8.1 near CO2 vents on the east coast of the island. Most prominently, the shells recorded the shock of transplantation, both in their shell ultrastructure, textural and geochemical record. Shell calcite, precipitated subsequently under acidified seawater responded to the pH gradient by an in part disturbed ultrastructure. Geochemical data from all test sites show a strong metabolic effect that exceeds the influence of the low-pH environment. These field experiments showed that care is needed when interpreting potential ocean acidification signals because various parameters affect shell chemistry and ultrastructure. Besides metabolic processes, seawater pH, factors such as salinity, water temperature, food availability and population density all affect the biogenic carbonate shell archive.
Combined effects of inorganic carbon and light on Phaeocystis globosa Scherffel (Prymnesiophyceae)(update)Published 30 May 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, growth, light, photosynthesis, phytoplankton
Phaeocystis globosa (Prymnesiophyceae) is an ecologically dominating phytoplankton species in many areas around the world. It plays an important role in both the global sulfur and carbon cycles, by the production of dimethylsulfide (DMS) and the drawdown of inorganic carbon. Phaeocystis globosa has a polymorphic life cycle and is considered to be a harmful algal bloom (HAB) forming species. All these aspects make this an interesting species to study the effects of increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, due to anthropogenic carbon emissions.
Here, the combined effects of three different dissolved carbon dioxide concentrations (CO2(aq)) (low: 4 μmol kg−1, intermediate: 6–10 μmol kg−1 and high CO2(aq): 21–24 μmol kg−1) and two different light intensities (low light, suboptimal: 80 μmol photons m−2 s−1 and high light, light saturated: 240 μmol photons m−2 s−1) are reported.
The experiments demonstrated that the specific growth rate of P. globosa in the high light cultures decreased with increasing CO2(aq) from 1.4 to 1.1 d−1 in the low and high CO2 cultures, respectively. Concurrently, the photosynthetic efficiency (FV/FM) increased with increasing CO2(aq) from 0.56 to 0.66. The different light conditions affected photosynthetic efficiency and cellular chlorophyll a concentrations, both of which were lower in the high light cultures as compared to the low light cultures. These results suggest that in future inorganic carbon enriched oceans, P. globosa will become less competitive and feedback mechanisms to global change may decrease in strength.