Absorption of anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 into the ocean surface is causing ocean acidification and chemistry changes that reduce calcification in organisms that form calcium carbonate skeletons and shells. Increased acidity also affects aspects of life history other than calcification, such as sexual reproduction and recruitment. Studies of scyphozoan jellyfish abundance have not reached a consensus on the effects of ocean acidification on jellyfish populations, and few laboratory studies have looked at the effects of acidified seawater on jellyfish biology. This study examined the effect of acidity on the benthic and early pelagic stages of the scyphozoan Chrysaora colorata and the formation of a calcium sulfate sensory structure, the statolith. Researchers who model future ocean surface pH levels predict a drop of 0.3-0.5 units from pre-industrial levels by 2100 if fossil fuel consumption continues at its current rate. To understand how these conditions will affect C. colorata, treatments of acidified seawater (pH = 7.85, 7.75, 7.65, and 7.55) and a control (pH = 7.97) were used to test the effects of ocean acidification on asexual reproduction (number of podocysts formed, number of new polyps formed, number of days to begin strobilation, duration of strobilation, number of healthy ephyrae released, and percentage of ephyrae that were healthy) and statolith size. There was no effect of acidity on asexual reproduction in C. colorata, but there was a significant negative effect of acidity on statolith size—this supports previous research on the scyphozoan Aurelia labiata. This study suggests that C. colorata will be able to survive and asexually reproduce from the polyp stage through the ephyra stage in near-future ocean conditions. Previous studies have shown that a lack of statoliths results in swimming abnormalities, but the effect of smaller statoliths is unknown. To fully understand how C. colorata will be affected by ocean acidification, further research needs to be conducted on other stages of the lifecycle. C. colorata and other scyphozoans play important roles in their ecosystems, and if their abundance is negatively affected then their predators, prey, and competitors will be affected as well. However, it is possible that the effects of ocean acidification on C. colorata and other scyphozoans will be subtle and that they could benefit from declines in the abundance of predators and competitors that are more sensitive to the chemistry changes of ocean acidification.
Posts Tagged 'Cnidaria'
Effects of acidified seawater on asexual reproduction and statolith in the scyphozoan Chrysaora colorataPublished 15 January 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, Cnidaria, laboratory, North Pacific, reproduction
Changes in microbial communities associated with the sea anemone Anemonia viridis in a natural pH gradientPublished 2 October 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: abundance, biological response, Cnidaria, community composition, field, Mediterranean, physiology, prokaryotes
Ocean acidification, resulting from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, is a pervasive stressor that can affect many marine organisms and their symbionts. Studies which examine the host physiology and microbial communities have shown a variety of responses to the ocean acidification process. Recently, several studies were conducted based on field experiments, which take place in natural CO(2) vents, exposing the host to natural environmental conditions of varying pH. This study examines the sea anemone Anemonia viridis which is found naturally along the pH gradient in Ischia, Italy, with an aim to characterize whether exposure to pH impacts the holobiont. The physiological parameters of A. viridis (Symbiodinium density, protein, and chlorophyll a+c concentration) and its microbial community were monitored. Although reduction in pH was seen to have had an impact on composition and diversity of associated microbial communities, no significant changes were observed in A. viridis physiology, and no microbial stress indicators (i.e., pathogens, antibacterial activity, etc.) were detected. In light of these results, it appears that elevated CO(2) does not have a negative influence on A. viridis that live naturally in the site. This suggests that natural long-term exposure and dynamic diverse microbial communities may contribute to the acclimation process of the host in a changing pH environment.
Tags: biological response, bryozoa, Cnidaria, corals, crustaceans, echinoderms, mollusks, protists, review
Ocean acidification (OA), whereby increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (cO2) over the past 200 years have led to a decline in the pH and carbonate ion availability of the oceans, has emerged as one of the major drivers of twenty- first century marine scientific research. Here we describe the current understanding of OA effects on benthic marine invertebrates, in particular the calcifiers thought to be most sensitive to altered carbonate chemistry. We describe the responses of benthic invertebrates to OA conditions predicted up to the end of the century, examining individual organism response through to ecosystem- level impacts. Research over the past decade has found great variability in the physiological and functional response of different species and communities to OA, with further variability evident between life stages. Over both geological and recent timescales, the presence and calcification rates of marine calcifiers have been inextricably linked to the carbon chemistry of the oceans. Under short-term experimentally enhanced cO2 conditions, many organisms have shown trade-offs in their physiological responses, such as reductions in calcification rate and reproductive output. In addition, carry-over effects from fertilization, larval and juvenile stages, such as enhanced development time and morphological changes, highlight the need for broad- scale studies over multiple life stages. These organism- level responses may propagate through to altered benthic communities under naturally enhanced cO2 conditions, evident in studies of upwelling regions and at shallow- water volcanic cO2 vents. Only by establishing which benthic invertebrates have the ability to acclimate or adapt, via natural selection, to changes from OA, in combination with other environmental stressors, can we begin to predict the consequences of future climate change for these communities.
Tags: abundance, biological response, Cnidaria, field, morphology, photosynthesis, respiration
Increased seawater pCO2, and in turn ‘ocean acidification’ (OA), is predicted to profoundly impact marine ecosystem diversity and function this century. Much research has already focussed on calcifying reef-forming corals (Class: Anthozoa) that appear particularly susceptible to OA via reduced net calcification. However, here we show that OA-like conditions can simultaneously enhance the ecological success of non-calcifying anthozoans, which play key ecological and biogeochemical roles in present day benthic ecosystems but also represent a model organism should calcifying anthozoans exist as less calcified (soft-bodied) forms in future oceans. Increased growth (abundance and size) of the sea anemone (Anemonia viridis) population was observed along a natural CO2 gradient at Vulcano, Italy. Both gross photosynthesis (PG) and respiration (R) increased with pCO2 indicating that the increased growth was, at least in part, fuelled by bottom up (CO2 stimulation) of metabolism. The increase of PG outweighed that of R and the genetic identity of the symbiotic microalgae (Symbiodinium spp.) remained unchanged (type A19) suggesting proximity to the vent site relieved CO2 limitation of the anemones’ symbiotic microalgal population. Our observations of enhanced productivity with pCO2, which are consistent with previous reports for some calcifying corals, convey an increase in fitness that may enable non-calcifying anthozoans to thrive in future environments, i.e. higher seawater pCO2. Understanding how CO2-enhanced productivity of non- (and less-) calcifying anthozoans applies more widely to tropical ecosystems is a priority where such organisms can dominate benthic ecosystems, in particular following localised anthropogenic stress.
Prolonged exposure to elevated CO2 promotes growth of the algal symbiont Symbiodinium muscatinei in the intertidal sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissimaPublished 21 May 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: abundance, biological response, Cnidaria, growth, laboratory, morphology, North Atlantic, photosynthesis, protists, respiration
Some photosynthetic organisms benefit from elevated levels of carbon dioxide, but studies on the effects of elevated PCO2 on the algal symbionts of animals are very few. This study investigated the impact of hypercapnia on a photosynthetic symbiosis between the anemone Anthopleura elegantissima and its zooxanthella Symbiodinium muscatinei. Anemones were maintained in the laboratory for 1 week at 37 Pa PCO2 and pH 8.1. Clonal pairs were then divided into two groups and maintained for 6 weeks under conditions naturally experienced in their intertidal environment, 45 Pa PCO2, pH 8.1 and 231 Pa PCO2, pH 7.3. Respiration and photosynthesis were measured after the 1-week acclimation period and after 6 weeks in experimental conditions. Density of zooxanthellal cells, zooxanthellal cell size, mitotic index and chlorophyll content were compared between non-clonemate anemones after the 1-week acclimation period and clonal anemones at the end of the experiment. Anemones thrived in hypercapnia. After 6 weeks, A. elegantissima exhibited higher rates of photosynthesis at 45 Pa (4.2 µmol O2 g−1 h−1) and 231 Pa (3.30 µmol O2 g−1 h−1) than at the initial 37 Pa (1.53 µmol O2 g−1 h−1). Likewise, anemones at 231 Pa received more of their respiratory carbon from zooxanthellae (CZAR = 78.2%) than those at 37 Pa (CZAR = 66.6%) but less than anemones at 45 Pa (CZAR = 137.3%). The mitotic index of zooxanthellae was significantly greater in the hypercapnic anemones than in anemones at lower PCO2. Excess zooxanthellae were expelled by their hosts, and cell densities, cell diameters and chlorophyll contents were not significantly different between the groups. The response of A. elegantissima to hypercapnic acidification reveals the potential adaptation of an intertidal, photosynthetic symbiosis for high PCO2.