Predicting the impact of ongoing anthropogenic CO2 emissions on calcifying marine organisms is complex, owing to the synergy between direct changes (acidification) and indirect changes through climate change (e.g., warming, changes in ocean circulation, and deoxygenation). Laboratory experiments, particularly on longer-lived organisms, tend to be too short to reveal the potential of organisms to acclimatize, adapt, or evolve and usually do not incorporate multiple stressors. We studied two examples of rapid carbon release in the geological record, Eocene Thermal Maximum 2 (∼53.2 Ma) and the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, ∼55.5 Ma), the best analogs over the last 65 Ma for future ocean acidification related to high atmospheric CO2 levels. We use benthic foraminifers, which suffered severe extinction during the PETM, as a model group. Using synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy, we reconstruct the calcification response of survivor species and find, contrary to expectations, that calcification significantly increased during the PETM. In contrast, there was no significant response to the smaller Eocene Thermal Maximum 2, which was associated with a minor change in diversity only. These observations suggest that there is a response threshold for extinction and calcification response, while highlighting the utility of the geological record in helping constrain the sensitivity of biotic response to environmental change.
Posts Tagged 'temperature'
Tags: biodiversity, biological response, calcification, morphology, multiple factors, oxygen, paleo, protists, temperature
Tidal downwelling and implications for the carbon biogeochemistry of cold-water corals in relation to future ocean acidification and warmingPublished 22 May 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, chemistry, corals, field, modeling, multiple factors, North Atlantic, regional, temperature
Cold-water coral (CWC) reefs are recognised as ecologically and biologically significant areas that generate habitats and diversity. The interaction between hydrodynamics and CWCs has been well-studied at the Mingulay Reef Complex, a relatively shallow area of reefs found on the continental shelf off Scotland, UK. Within ‘Mingulay Area 01’ a rapid tidal downwelling of surface waters, brought about as an internal wave, is known to supply warmer, phytoplankton-rich waters to corals growing on the northern flank of an east-west trending seabed ridge. This study shows that this tidal downwelling also causes short-term perturbations in the inorganic carbon and nutrient dynamics through the water column and immediately above the reef. Over a 14 h period, corresponding to one semi-diurnal tidal cycle, seawater pH overlying the reef varied by ~0.1 pH unit, while pCO2 shifted by > 60 μatm, a shift equivalent to a ~25 year jump into the future, with respect to atmospheric pCO2. During the summer stratified period, these downwelling events result in the reef being washed over with surface water that has higher pH, is warmer, nutrient-depleted, but rich in phytoplankton-derived particles compared to the deeper waters in which the corals sit. Empirical observations, together with outputs from the European Regional Shelf Sea Ecosystem Model, demonstrate that the variability that the CWC reefs experience changes through the seasons and into the future. Hence, as ocean acidification and warming increase into the future, the downwelling event specific to this site could provide short-term amelioration of corrosive conditions at certain times of the year; however it could additionally result in enhanced detrimental impacts of warming on CWCs. Natural variability in the inorganic carbon and nutrient conditions, as well as local hydrodynamic regimes, must be accounted for in any future predictions concerning the responses of marine ecosystems to climate change.
Tags: biological response, crustaceans, laboratory, multiple factors, physiology, temperature
The injection of anthropogenically-produced CO2 into the atmosphere will lead to an increase in temperature and a decrease in pH at the surface of the oceans by 2100. Marine intertidal organisms possess the ability to cope in the short term with environmental fluctuations exceeding predicted values. However, how they will cope with chronic exposure to elevated temperature and pCO2 is virtually unknown. In addition, individuals from the same species/population often show remarkable levels of variation in their responses to complex climatic changes: in particular, variation in metabolic rates often is linked to differences in individuals’ performances and fitness. Despite its ecological and evolutionary importance, inter-individual variation has rarely been investigated within the context of climatic changes, and most investigations have typically employed orthogonal experimental designs paired to analyses of independent samples. Although this is undoubtedly a powerful and useful approach, it may not be the most appropriate for understanding all alterations of biological functions in response to environmental changes. An individual approach arguably should be favored when trying to describe organisms’ responses to climatic change. Consequently, to test which approach had the greater power to discriminate the intensity and direction of an organism’s response to complex climatic changes, we investigated the extracellular osmo/iono-regulatory abilities, upper thermal tolerances (UTTs), and metabolic rates of individual adults of an intertidal amphipod, Echinogammarus marinus, exposed for 15 days to combined elevated temperature and pCO2. The individual approach led to stronger and different predictions on how ectotherms will likely respond to ongoing complex climatic change, compared with the independent approaches. Consequently, this may call into question the relevance, or even the validity, of some of the predictions made to date. Finally, we argue that treating individual differences as biologically meaningful can lead to a better understanding of the physiological responses themselves and the selective processes that will occur with complex climatic changes; selection will likely play a crucial role in defining species’ responses to future environmental changes. Individuals with higher metabolic rates were also characterized by greater extracellular osmo/iono-regulative abilities and higher UTTs, and thus there appeared to be no evolutionary trade-offs between these functions. However, as individuals with greater metabolic rates also have greater costs for maintenance and repair, and likely a lower fraction of energy available for growth and reproduction, trade-offs between life-history and physiological performance may still arise.
Effects of ocean warming and acidification on survival, growth and skeletal development in the early benthic juvenile sea urchin (Heliocidaris erythrogramma)Published 22 May 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, echinoderms, laboratory, morphology, multiple factors, survival, temperature
Co-occurring ocean warming, acidification and reduced carbonate mineral saturation have significant impacts on marine biota, especially calcifying organisms. The effects of these stressors on development and calcification in newly metamorphosed juveniles (ca. 0.5 mm test diam) of the intertidal sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma, an ecologically important species in temperate Australia, were investigated in context with present and projected future conditions. Habitat temperature and pH/pCO2 were documented to place experiments in a biologically and ecologically relevant context. These parameters fluctuated diurnally up to 10°C and 0.45 pH units. The juveniles were exposed to three temperature (21°C, 23°C, 25°C) and four pH (8.1, 7.8, 7.6, 7.4) treatments in all combinations, representing ambient sea surface conditions (21°C, pH 8.1; pCO2 397; ΩCa 4.7; ΩAr 3.1), near-future projected change (+2-4°C, -0.3-0.5 pH units; pCO2 400-1820; ΩCa 5.0-1.6; ΩAr 3.3-1.1), and extreme conditions experienced at low tide (+4°C, -0.3-07 pH units; pCO2 2850-2967; ΩCa 1.1-1.0; ΩAr 0.7-0.6). The lowest pH treatment (pH 7.4) was used to assess tolerance levels. Juvenile survival and test growth were resilient to current and near-future warming and acidification. Spine development, however, was negatively effected by near-future increased temperature (+2-4°C) and extreme acidification (pH 7.4), with a complex interaction between stressors. Near-future warming was the more significant stressor. Spine tips were dissolved in the pH 7.4 treatments. Adaptation to fluctuating temperature-pH conditions in the intertidal may convey resilience to juvenile H. erythrogramma to changing ocean conditions, however, ocean warming and acidification may shift baseline intertidal temperature and pH/pCO2 to levels that exceed tolerance limits.
Tags: biological response, crustaceans, fishing, multiple factors, oxygen, physiology, pollution, review, temperature
The Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus lives at low-light depths, in muddy substrata of high organic content where water salinities are high and fluctuations in temperature are moderate. In this environment, the lobsters are naturally exposed to a number of potential stressors, many of them as a result of the surficial breakdown of organic material in the sediment. This process (early diagenesis) creates a heterogeneous environment with temporal and spatial fluctuations in a number of compounds such as oxygen, ammonia, metals, and hydrogen sulphide. In addition to this, there are anthropogenically generated stressors, such as human-induced climate change (resulting in elevated temperature and ocean acidification), pollution and fishing. The lobsters are thus exposed to several stressors, which are strongly linked to the habitat in which the animals live. Here, the capacity of Nephrops to deal with these stressors is summarised. Eutrophication-induced hypoxia and subsequent metal remobilisation from the sediment is a well-documented effect found in some wild Nephrops populations. Compared to many other crustacean species, Nephrops is well adapted to tolerate periods of hypoxia, but prolonged or severe hypoxia, beyond their tolerance level, is common in some areas. When the oxygen concentration in the environment decreases, the bioavailability of redox-sensitive metals such as manganese increases. Manganese is an essential metal, which, taken up in excess, has a toxic effect on several internal systems such as chemosensitivity, nerve transmission and immune defence. Since sediment contains high concentrations of metals in comparison to sea water, lobsters may accumulate both essential and non-essential metals. Different metals have different target tissues, though the hepatopancreas, in general, accumulates high concentrations of most metals. The future scenario of increasing anthropogenic influences on Nephrops habitats may have adverse effects on the fitness of the animals.
Tags: biological response, fish, multiple factors, physiology, South Pacific, temperature
Climate change is a global issue and the effects on fish populations remain largely unknown. It is thought that climate change could affect fish at all levels of biological organisation, from cellular,
individual, population and community. This thesis has taken a holistic approach to examine the ways in which climate change could affect fish from both tropical, marine ecosystems (Great Barrier Reef,
Australia) and temperate, freshwater ecosystems (non-tidal River Thames, Britain). Aerobic scope of coral reef fish tested on the Great Barrier Reef was significantly reduced by just a 2°C rise in water temperature (31, 32 and 33°C, compared to the current summer mean of 29°C) due to increased resting oxygen consumption and an inability to increase the maximal oxygen uptake. A 0.3 unit decline in pH, representative of ocean acidification, caused the same percentage loss in aerobic scope as did a 3°C warming. Interfamilial differences in ability to cope aerobically with warming waters will likely lead to changes in the community structure on coral reefs with damselfish replacing cardinalfish.
Concerning Britain, there is evidence of gradual warming and increased rainfall in winter months over a 150 year period, suggesting that British fish are already experiencing climate change. It was evident from an analysis of a 15 year dataset on fish populations in the River Thames, that cyprinid species displayed a different pattern in biomass and density to all the non-cyprinid fish population, suggesting that there will be interfamilial differences in responses to climate change.
Using a Biological Indicator Approach on the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, a 2°C rise in water temperature resulted in a stress response at the cellular and whole organism level. A 6°C rise in temperature resulted in a stress response at the biochemical level (higher cortisol and glucose concentrations), cellular level (higher neutrophil: lymphocyte ratio) and whole organism level (higher ventilation rate and lowered condition factor, hepatosomatic index and growth). G. aculeatus is considered to be temperature tolerant; therefore these results indicate that climate change may prove to be stressful for more temperature-sensitive species. This study has demonstrated that climate change will have direct effects on fish populations, whether they are in temperate regions such as Britain or in tropical coral reefs,but with strong interfamilial differences in those responses.
Deformities in larvae and juvenile European lobster (Homarus gammarus) exposed to lower pH at two different temperaturesPublished 2 May 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, crustaceans, laboratory, morphology, multiple factors, North Atlantic, temperature
Trends of increasing temperatures and ocean acidification are expected to influence benthic marine resources, especially calcifying organisms. The European lobster (Homarus gammarus) is among those species at risk. A project was initiated in 2011 aiming to investigate long-term synergistic effects of temperature and projected increases in ocean acidification on the life cycle of lobster. Larvae were exposed to pCO2 levels of ambient water (water intake at 90 m depth, tentatively of 380 μatm pCO2), 727 and 1217 μatm pCO2, at temperatures 10 and 18 °C. Long-term exposure lasted until 5 months of age. Thereafter the surviving juveniles were transferred to ambient water at 14 °C. At 18 °C the development from Stage 1 to 4 lasted from 14 to 16 days, as predicted under normal pH values. Growth was very slow at 10 °C and resulted in only two larvae reaching Stage 4 in the ambient treatment. There were no significant differences in carapace length at the various larval stages between the different treatments, but there were differences in total length and dry weight at Stage 1 at 10 °C, Stage 2 at both temperatures, producing larvae slightly larger in size and lighter by dry weight in the exposed treatments. Stage 3 larvae raised in 18 °C and 1217 μatm pCO2 were also larger in size and heavier by dry weight compared with 727 μatm. Unfortunate circumstances precluded a full comparison across stages and treatment. Deformities were however observed in both larvae and juveniles. At 10 °C, about 20% of the larvae exposed to elevated pCO2were deformed, compared with 0% in larvae raised in pH above 8.0. At 18 °C and in high pCO2 treatment, 31.5% of the larvae were deformed. Occurrence of deformities after 5 months of exposure was 33 and 44% in juveniles raised in ambient and low pCO2, respectively, and 20% in juveniles exposed to high pCO2. Some of the deformities will possibly affect the ability to find food, sexual partner (walking legs, claw and antenna), respiration (carapace), and ability to swim (tail-fan damages).
Tags: algae, biological response, community, communitymodeling, grazing, mesocosms, modeling, morphology, multiple factors, North Atlantic, phanerogams, primary production, protists, temperature
It is well known that ocean acidification can have profound impacts on marine organisms. However, we know little about the direct and indirect effects of ocean acidification and also how these effects interact with other features of environmental change such as warming and declining consumer pressure. In this study, we tested whether the presence of consumers (invertebrate mesograzers) influenced the interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming on benthic microalgae in a seagrass community mesocosm experiment. Net effects of acidification and warming on benthic microalgal biomass and production, as assessed by analysis of variance, were relatively weak regardless of grazer presence. However, partitioning these net effects into direct and indirect effects using structural equation modeling revealed several strong relationships. In the absence of grazers, benthic microalgae were negatively and indirectly affected by sediment-associated microalgal grazers and macroalgal shading, but directly and positively affected by acidification and warming. Combining indirect and direct effects yielded no or weak net effects. In the presence of grazers, almost all direct and indirect climate effects were nonsignificant. Our analyses highlight that (i) indirect effects of climate change may be at least as strong as direct effects, (ii) grazers are crucial in mediating these effects, and (iii) effects of ocean acidification may be apparent only through indirect effects and in combination with other variables (e.g., warming). These findings highlight the importance of experimental designs and statistical analyses that allow us to separate and quantify the direct and indirect effects of multiple climate variables on natural communities.
Tags: biological response, light, methods, molecular biology, multiple factors, pollution, prokaryotes, review, temperature
Global climate change has the potential to seriously and adversely affect marine ecosystem functioning. Numerous experimental and modeling studies have demonstrated how predicted ocean acidification and increased ultraviolet radiation (UVR) can affect marine microbes. However, researchers have largely ignored interactions between ocean acidification, increased UVR and anthropogenic pollutants in marine environments. Such interactions can alter chemical speciation and the bioavailability of several organic and inorganic pollutants with potentially deleterious effects, such as modifying microbial-mediated detoxification processes. Microbes mediate major biogeochemical cycles, providing fundamental ecosystems services such as environmental detoxification and recovery. It is, therefore, important that we understand how predicted changes to oceanic pH, UVR, and temperature will affect microbial pollutant detoxification processes in marine ecosystems. The intrinsic characteristics of microbes, such as their short generation time, small size, and functional role in biogeochemical cycles combined with recent advances in molecular techniques (e.g., metagenomics and metatranscriptomics) make microbes excellent models to evaluate the consequences of various climate change scenarios on detoxification processes in marine ecosystems. In this review, we highlight the importance of microbial microcosm experiments, coupled with high-resolution molecular biology techniques, to provide a critical experimental framework to start understanding how climate change, anthropogenic pollution, and microbiological interactions may affect marine ecosystems in the future.
Tags: algae, biological response, calcification, corals, laboratory, morphology, multiple factors, photosynthesis, protists, South Pacific, survival, temperature
The increase in human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, has elevated the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide and warmed the planet through the greenhouse effect. In addition, approximately 30% of the CO2 produced by human activities has dissolved into the oceans, lowering pH and reducing the abundance, and hence the availability, of carbonate ions (CO3 2-), which are essential for calcium carbonate deposition. Of great concern is the impact to photosynthetic marine calcifiers, elevated CO2 and temperature is expected to have a negative impact on the health and survivorship of calcifying marine organisms. This thesis explores the effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on the microenvironment, photosynthetic efficiency, calcification and biomechanical properties in important sediment producers on coral reefs. The reef-building and sedimentdwelling organisms, Halimeda and symbiont-bearing foraminifera are prominent, coexisting taxa in shallow coral reefs and play a vital role in tropical and subtropical ecosystems as producers of sediment and habitats and food sources for other marine organisms. However, there is limited evidence of the effects of ocean warming and acidification in these two keystone species. Irradiance alone was not found to influence photosynthetic efficiency, photoprotective mechanisms and calcification in Halimeda macroloba, Halimeda cylindracea and Halimeda opuntia (Chapter 2). There is also limited knowledge of foraminiferal biology on coral reefs, especially the symbiotic relationship between the protest host and algal symbionts. Marginopora vertebralis, the dominant tropical foraminifera, shows phototactic behavior, which is a unique mechanism for ensuring symbionts experience an ideal light environment. The diurnal photosynthetic responses of in hospite symbiont photosynthesis was linked to host movement and aided in preventing photoinhibition and bleaching by moving away from over-saturating irradiance, to more optimal light fields (Chapter 3). With this greater understanding of Halimeda and foraminiferan biology and photosynthesis, the impacts of ocean warming and acidification on photosynthesis and calcification were then tested (Chapter 4, 5 and 6). Impacts of ocean acidification and warming were investigated through exposure to a combination of four temperature (28, 30, 32, 34°C) and four pCO2 levels (380, 600, 1000, 2000 µatm; equivalent to future climate change scenarios for the current and the years 2065, 2100 and 2200 and simulating the IPCC A1F1 predictions) (Chapter 4). Elevated CO2 and temperature caused a decline in photosynthetic efficiency (FV/FM), calcification and growth in all species. After five weeks at 34°C under all CO2 levels, all species died. The elevated CO2 and temperature greatly affect the CaCO3 crystal formation with reductions in density and width. M. vertebralis experienced the greatest inhibition to crystal formation, suggesting that this high Mg-calcite depositing species is more sensitive to lower pH and higher temperature than aragonite-forming Halimeda species. Exposure to elevated temperature alone or reduced pH alone decreased photosynthesis and calcification in these species. However, there was a strong synergistic effect of elevated temperature and reduced pH, with dramatic reductions in photosynthesis and calcification in all three species. This study suggested that the elevated temperature of 32°C and the pCO2 concentration of 1000 µatm are the upper limit for survival of these species art our site of collection (Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia). Microsensors enabled the detection of O2 surrounding specimens at high spatial and temporal resolutions and revealed a 70-80% in decrease in O2 production under elevated CO2 and temperature (1200 µatm 32°C) in Halimeda (Chapter 5) and foraminifera (Chapter 6). The results from O2 microprofiles support the photosynthetic pigment and chlorophyll fluorescence data, showing decreasing O2 production with declining chlorophyll a and b concentrations and a decrease in photosynthetic efficiency under ocean acidification and/or temperature stress. This revealed that photosynthesis and calcification are closely coupled with reductions in photosynthetic efficiency leading to reductions in calcification. Reductions in carbonate availability reduced calcification and that can lead to weakened calcified structures. Elevations in water temperature is expected to augment this weakening, resulting in decreased mechanical integrity and increased susceptibility to storm- and herbivory-induced mortality in Halimeda sp. The morphological and biomechanical properties in H. macroloba and H. cylindracea at different wave exposures were then investigated in their natural reef habitats (Chapter 7). The results showed that both species have morphological (e.g. blade surface area, holdfast volume) and biomechanical (e.g. force required to uproot, force required to break thalli) adaptations to different levels of hydrodynamic exposure. The mechanical integrity and skeletal mineralogy of Halimeda was then investigated in response to future climate change scenarios (Chapter 7). The biomechanical properties (shear strength and punch strength) significantly declined in the more heavily calcified H. cylindracea at 32ºC and 1000 µatm, whereas were variable in less heavily calcified H. macroloba, indicating different responses between Halimeda species. An increase in less-soluble low Mgcalcite was observed under elevated CO2 conditions. Significant changes in Mg:Ca and Sr:Ca ratios under elevated CO2 and temperature conditions suggested that calcification was affected at the ionic level. It is concluded that Halimeda is biomechanically sensitive to elevated temperature and more acidic oceans and may lead to increasing susceptibility to herbivory and higher risk of thallus breakage or removal from the substrate. Experimental results throughout the thesis revealed that ocean acidification and warming have negative impacts on photosynthetic efficiency, productivity, calcification and mechanical integrity, which is likely to lead to increased mortality in these species under a changing climate. A loss of these calcifying keystone species will have a dramatic impact on carbonate accumulation, sediment turnover, and coral reef community and habitat structure.