Ocean acidification due to rising atmospheric CO2 is expected to affect the physiology of important calcifying marine organisms, but the nature and magnitude of change is yet to be established. In coccolithophores, different species and strains display varying calcification responses to ocean acidification, but the underlying biochemical properties remain unknown. We employed an approach combining tandem mass-spectrometry with isobaric tagging (iTRAQ) and multiple database searching to identify proteins that were differentially expressed in cells of the marine coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi (strain NZEH) between two CO2 conditions: 395 (~current day) and ~1340 p.p.m.v. CO2. Cells exposed to the higher CO2 condition contained more cellular particulate inorganic carbon (CaCO3) and particulate organic nitrogen and carbon than those maintained in present-day conditions. These results are linked with the observation that cells grew slower under elevated CO2, indicating cell cycle disruption. Under high CO2 conditions, coccospheres were larger and cells possessed bigger coccoliths that did not show any signs of malformation compared to those from cells grown under present-day CO2 levels. No differences in calcification rate, particulate organic carbon production or cellular organic carbon: nitrogen ratios were observed. Results were not related to nutrient limitation or acclimation status of cells. At least 46 homologous protein groups from a variety of functional processes were quantified in these experiments, of which four (histones H2A, H3, H4 and a chloroplastic 30S ribosomal protein S7) showed down-regulation in all replicates exposed to high CO2, perhaps reflecting the decrease in growth rate. We present evidence of cellular stress responses but proteins associated with many key metabolic processes remained unaltered. Our results therefore suggest that this E. huxleyi strain possesses some acclimation mechanisms to tolerate future CO2 scenarios, although the observed decline in growth rate may be an overriding factor affecting the success of this ecotype in future oceans.
Posts Tagged 'morphometry'
Tags: acclimation, biological response, calcification, growth, laboratory, morphometry, physiology, phytoplankton
Marine invertebrate skeleton size varies with latitude, temperature, and carbonate saturation: implications for global change and ocean acidificationPublished 3 June 2012 Science 1 Comment
Tags: biological response, brachiopods, echinoderms, mollusks, morphometry
There is great concern over the future effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms, especially for skeletal calcification, yet little is known of natural variation in skeleton size and composition across the globe, and this is a prerequisite for identifying factors currently controlling skeleton mass and thickness. Here taxonomically-controlled latitudinal variations in shell morphology and composition were investigated in bivalve and gastropod molluscs, brachiopods and echinoids. Total inorganic content, a proxy for skeletal CaCO3, decreased with latitude, decreasing seawater temperature and decreasing seawater carbonate saturation state (for CaCO3 as calcite (Ωcal)) in all taxa. Shell mass decreased with latitude in molluscs and shell inorganic content decreased with latitude in buccinid gastropods. Shell thickness decreased with latitude in buccinid gastropods (excepting the Australian temperate buccinid) and echinoids, but not brachiopods and laternulid clams. In the latter the polar species had the thickest shell. There was no latitudinal trend in shell thickness within brachiopods. The variation in trends in shell thickness by taxon suggests that in some circumstances ecological factors may override latitudinal trends. Latitudinal gradients may produce effects similar to those of future CO2-driven ocean acidification on CaCO3 saturation state. Responses to latitudinal trends in temperature and saturation state may therefore be useful in informing predictions of organism responses to ocean acidification over long-term adaptive timescales.
Tags: algae, Arctic, biological response, growth, laboratory, morphometry
The uptake of anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide is resulting in a lowering of the carbonate saturation state and a drop in ocean pH. Understanding how marine calcifying organisms such as coralline algae may acclimatize to ocean acidification is important to understand their survival over the coming century. We present the first long-term perturbation experiment on the cold-water coralline algae, which are important marine calcifiers in the benthic ecosystems particularly at the higher latitudes. Lithothamnion glaciale, after three months incubation, continued to calcify even in undersaturated conditions with a significant trend towards lower growth rates with increasing pCO2. However, the major changes in the ultra-structure occur by 589 μatm (i.e. in saturated waters). Finite element models of the algae grown at these heightened levels show an increase in the total strain energy of nearly an order of magnitude and an uneven distribution of the stress inside the skeleton when subjected to similar loads as algae grown at ambient levels. This weakening of the structure is likely to reduce the ability of the alga to resist boring by predators and wave energy with severe consequences to the benthic community structure in the immediate future (50 years).
Impacts of seawater acidification on mantle gene expression patterns of the Baltic Sea blue mussel: implications for shell formation and energy metabolismPublished 14 May 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: Baltic Sea, biological response, calcification, laboratory, molecular biology, mollusks, morphometry, performance, physiology
Marine organisms have to cope with increasing CO2 partial pressures and decreasing pH in the oceans. We elucidated the impacts of an 8-week acclimation period to four seawater pCO2 treatments (39, 113, 243 and 405 Pa/385, 1,120, 2,400 and 4,000 μatm) on mantle gene expression patterns in the blue mussel Mytilus edulis from the Baltic Sea. Based on the M. edulis mantle tissue transcriptome, the expression of several genes involved in metabolism, calcification and stress responses was assessed in the outer (marginal and pallial zone) and the inner mantle tissues (central zone) using quantitative real-time PCR. The expression of genes involved in energy and protein metabolism (F-ATPase, hexokinase and elongation factor alpha) was strongly affected by acclimation to moderately elevated CO2 partial pressures. Expression of a chitinase, potentially important for the calcification process, was strongly depressed (maximum ninefold), correlating with a linear decrease in shell growth observed in the experimental animals. Interestingly, shell matrix protein candidate genes were less affected by CO2 in both tissues. A compensatory process toward enhanced shell protection is indicated by a massive increase in the expression of tyrosinase, a gene involved in periostracum formation (maximum 220-fold). Using correlation matrices and a force-directed layout network graph, we were able to uncover possible underlying regulatory networks and the connections between different pathways, thereby providing a molecular basis of observed changes in animal physiology in response to ocean acidification.
Temperate and tropical brown macroalgae thrive, despite decalcification, along natural CO2 gradientsPublished 2 May 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: algae, biological response, echinoderms, field, morphometry, photosynthesis
Predicting the impacts of ocean acidification on coastal ecosystems requires an understanding of the effects on macroalgae and their grazers, as these underpin the ecology of rocky shores. Whilst calcified coralline algae (Rhodophyta) appear to be especially vulnerable to ocean acidification, there is a lack of information concerning calcified brown algae (Phaeophyta), which are not obligate calcifiers but are still important producers of calcium carbonate and organic matter in shallow coastal waters. Here we compare ecological shifts in sub-tidal rocky shore systems along CO2 gradients created by volcanic seeps in the Mediterranean and Papua New Guinea, focussing on abundant macroalgae and grazing sea urchins. In both the temperate and tropical systems the abundances of grazing sea urchins declined dramatically along CO2 gradients. Temperate and tropical species of the calcifying macroalgal genus Padina (Dictyoaceae, Phaeophyta) showed reductions in CaCO3 content with CO2 enrichment. In contrast to other studies of calcified macroalgae, however, we observed an increase in the abundance of Padina spp. in acidified conditions. Reduced sea urchin grazing pressure and significant increases in photosynthetic rates may explain the unexpected success of decalcified Padina spp. at elevated levels of CO2. This is the first study to provide a comparison of ecological changes along CO2 gradients between temperate and tropical rocky shores. The similarities we found in the responses of Padina spp. and sea urchin abundance at several vent systems increases confidence in predictions of the ecological impacts of ocean acidification over a large geographical range.
Calcification in the planktonic foraminifera Globigerina bulloides linked to phosphate concentrations in surface waters of the North Atlantic OceanPublished 8 July 2011 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, North Atlantic, protists, morphometry
Marine calcifiers, such as planktonic foraminifera, form a major component of the global carbon cycle, acting as both a source and sink of CO2. Understanding factors that affect calcification in these organisms is therefore critical in predicting how the oceans will respond to increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Here, size-normalised weights (SNWs) of the planktonic foraminifera Globigerina bulloides, collected from the surface waters of the North Atlantic, are compared with in situ carbonate ion concentrations ([CO32−]), optimum growth conditions (implied from G. bulloides abundances), and nutrient concentrations. Significant positive relationships suggest that phosphate concentration ([PO43−]) has the greatest effect on G. bulloides SNWs, with reduced test masses at higher concentrations (range: 0.04–0.31 μM). [CO32−] appears to have a minor effect over the range of values examined (148–181 μmol kg−1), and no evidence was found for increased SNWs under apparent optimum growth conditions. These findings point to the potential importance of phosphate concentration in determining calcification rates in foraminifera, a factor which has been overlooked by previous studies on these organisms. The confirmation of these results via carefully controlled culture studies is recommended in the future.
Impact of ocean acidification and elevated temperatures on early juveniles of the polar shelled pteropod Limacina helicina: mortality, shell degradation, and shell growth (update)Published 15 April 2011 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: Arctic, biological response, calcification, dissolution, laboratory, morphometry, mortality
Due to their aragonitic shell, thecosome pteropods may be particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification driven by anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This applies specifically to species inhabiting Arctic surface waters that are projected to become temporarily and locally undersaturated with respect to aragonite as early as 2016. This study investigated the effects of rising partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) and elevated temperature on pre-winter juveniles of the polar pteropod Limacina helicina. After a 29 day experiment in September/October 2009 at three different temperatures and under pCO2 scenarios projected for this century, mortality, shell degradation, shell diameter and shell increment were investigated. Temperature and pCO2 had a significant effect on mortality, but temperature was the overriding factor. Shell diameter, shell increment and shell degradation were significantly impacted by pCO2 but not by temperature. Mortality was 46% higher at 8 °C than at in situ temperature (3 °C), and 14% higher at 1100 μatm than at 230 μatm. Shell diameter and increment were reduced by 10 and 12% at 1100 μatm and 230 μatm, respectively, and shell degradation was 41% higher at elevated compared to ambient pCO2. We conclude that pre-winter juveniles will be negatively affected by both rising temperature and pCO2 which may result in a possible decline in abundance of the overwintering population, the basis for next year’s reproduction.