Relationships between six calcifying plankton groups and pH are explored in a highly biologically productive and data-rich area of the central North Sea using time-series datasets. The long-term trends show that abundances of foraminiferans, coccolithophores, and echinoderm larvae have risen over the last few decades while the abundances of bivalves and pteropods have declined. Despite good coverage of pH data for the study area there is uncertainty over the quality of this historical dataset; pH appears to have been declining since the mid 1990s but there was no statistical connection between the abundance of the calcifying plankton and the pH trends. If there are any effects of pH on calcifying plankton in the North Sea they appear to be masked by the combined effects of other climatic (e.g. temperature), chemical (nutrient concentrations) and biotic (predation) drivers. Certain calcified plankton have proliferated in the central North Sea, and are tolerant of changes in pH that have occurred since the 1950s but bivalve larvae and pteropods have declined. An improved monitoring programme is required as ocean acidification may be occurring at a rate that will exceed the environmental niches of numerous planktonic taxa, testing their capacities for acclimation and genetic adaptation.
Posts Tagged 'zooplankton'
Tags: abundance, biological response, chemistry, echinoderms, field, mollusks, North Atlantic, phytoplankton, protists, zooplankton
Tags: biological response, calcification, mitigation, morphology, reproduction, review, survival, zooplankton
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies involve localized acidification of significant volumes of seawater, inhabited mainly by planktonic species. Knowledge on potential impacts of these techniques on the survival and physiology of zooplankton, and subsequent consequences for ecosystem health in targeted areas, is scarce. The recent literature has a focus on anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, leading to enhanced absorption of CO2 by the oceans and a lowered seawater pH, termed ocean acidification. These studies explore the effects of changes in seawater chemistry, as predicted by climate models for the end of this century, on marine biota. Early studies have used unrealistically severe CO2/pH values in this context, but are relevant for CCS leakage scenarios. Little studied meso- and bathypelagic species of the deep sea may be especially vulnerable, as well as vertically migrating zooplankton, which require significant residence times at great depths as part of their life cycle.
Chronic exposure of the North Atlantic copepod Calanus finmarchicus (Gunnerus, 1770) to CO2-acidified seawater; effects on survival, growth and developmentPublished 15 March 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, crustaceans, laboratory, morphology, survival, zooplankton
The impact of chronic exposure to CO2-acidified seawater on survival, growth and development was investigated in the North Atlantic copepod Calanus finmarchicus. Using a custom developed microcosm system fertilized eggs and subsequent development stages were exposed to normal seawater (390 ppm CO2) or one of three different levels of CO2-induced acidification (3300, 7300, 9700 ppm CO2). Following the 28 day exposure period survival was found to be unaffected by exposure to 3300 ppm CO2, but significantly reduced at 7300 and 9700 ppm CO2. Also, the proportion of copepodite stages IV to VI observed in the different treatments was significantly affected in a manner that may indicate a CO2-induced retardation of the rate of ontogenetic development. Morphometric analysis revealed a significant increase in size (prosome length) and lipid storage volume in stage IV copepodites exposed to 3300 ppm CO2 and reduced size in stage III copepodites exposed to 7300 ppm CO2. Together, the findings indicate that a pCO2 level ≤2000 ppm (the highest CO2 level expected within year 2300) will probably not directly affect survival in C. finmarchicus. Long-term experiments at more moderate CO2 levels are however necessary before the possibility that growth and development may be affected below ≤2000 ppm CO2 can be ruled out.
Tags: biological response, crustaceans, laboratory, North Atlantic, reproduction, zooplankton
Some planktonic groups suffer negative effects from ocean acidification (OA), although copepods might be less sensitive. We investigated the effect of predicted CO2 levels (range 480–750 ppm), on egg production and hatching success of two copepod species, Centropages typicus and Temora longicornis. In these short-term incubations there was no significant effect of high CO2 on these parameters. Additionally a very high CO2 treatment, (CO2 = 9830 ppm), representative of carbon capture and storage scenarios, resulted in a reduction of egg production rate and hatching success of C. typicus, but not T. longicornis. In conclusion, reproduction of C. typicus was more sensitive to acute elevated seawater CO2 than that of T. longicornis, but neither species was affected by exposure to CO2 levels predicted for the year 2100. The duration and seasonal timing of exposures to high pCO2, however, might have a significant effect on the reproduction success of calanoid copepods.
High tolerance of microzooplankton to ocean acidification in an Arctic coastal plankton community (update)Published 6 March 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: Arctic, biological response, community composition, diversity, field, mesocosms, zooplankton
Impacts of ocean acidification (OA) on marine biota have been observed in a wide range of marine systems. We used a mesocosm approach to study the response of a high Arctic coastal microzooplankton community during the post-bloom period in Kongsfjorden (Svalbard) to direct and indirect effects of high pCO2/low pH. We found almost no direct effects of OA on microzooplankton composition and diversity. Both the relative shares of ciliates and heterotrophic dinoflagellates as well as the taxonomic composition of microzooplankton remained unaffected by changes in pCO2/pH. Although the different pCO2 treatments affected food availability and phytoplankton composition, no indirect effects (e.g. on the total carrying capacity and phenology of microzooplankton) could be observed. Our data point to a high tolerance of this Arctic microzooplankton community to changes in pCO2/pH. Future studies on the impact of OA on plankton communities should include microzooplankton in order to test whether the observed low sensitivity to OA is typical for coastal communities where changes in seawater pH occur frequently.
Mesozooplankton community development at elevated CO2 concentrations: results from a mesocosm experiment in an Arctic fjord (update)Published 4 March 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: abundance, annelids, Arctic, biological response, community, community composition, crustaceans, field, mesocosms, mollusks, zooplankton
The increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere caused by burning fossil fuels leads to increasing pCO2 and decreasing pH in the world ocean. These changes may have severe consequences for marine biota, especially in cold-water ecosystems due to higher solubility of CO2. However, studies on the response of mesozooplankton communities to elevated CO2 are still lacking. In order to test whether abundance and taxonomic composition change with pCO2, we have sampled nine mesocosms, which were deployed in Kongsfjorden, an Arctic fjord at Svalbard, and were adjusted to eight CO2 concentrations, initially ranging from 185 μatm to 1420 μatm. Vertical net hauls were taken weekly over about one month with an Apstein net (55 μm mesh size) in all mesocosms and the surrounding fjord. In addition, sediment trap samples, taken every second day in the mesocosms, were analysed to account for losses due to vertical migration and mortality. The taxonomic analysis revealed that meroplanktonic larvae (Cirripedia, Polychaeta, Bivalvia, Gastropoda, and Decapoda) dominated in the mesocosms while copepods (Calanus spp., Oithona similis, Acartia longiremis and Microsetella norvegica) were found in lower abundances. In the fjord copepods prevailed for most of our study. With time, abundance and taxonomic composition developed similarly in all mesocosms and the pCO2 had no significant effect on the overall community structure. Also, we did not find significant relationships between the pCO2 level and the abundance of single taxa. Changes in heterogeneous communities are, however, difficult to detect, and the exposure to elevated pCO2 was relatively short. We therefore suggest that future mesocosm experiments should be run for longer periods.
A 13C labelling study on carbon fluxes in Arctic plankton communities under elevated CO2 levels (update)Published 4 March 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: Arctic, biogeochemistry, biological response, community, field, growth, mesocosms, phytoplankton, zooplankton
The effect of CO2 on carbon fluxes (production, consumption, and export) in Arctic plankton communities was investigated during the 2010 EPOCA (European project on Ocean Acidification) mesocosm study off Ny Ålesund, Svalbard. 13C labelled bicarbonate was added to nine mesocosms with a range in pCO2 (185 to 1420 μatm) to follow the transfer of carbon from dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) into phytoplankton, bacterial and zooplankton consumers, and export. A nutrient–phytoplankton–zooplankton–detritus model amended with 13C dynamics was constructed and fitted to the data to quantify uptake rates and carbon fluxes in the plankton community. The plankton community structure was characteristic for a post-bloom situation and retention food web and showed high bacterial production (∼31% of primary production), high abundance of mixotrophic phytoplankton, low mesozooplankton grazing (∼6% of primary production) and low export (∼7% of primary production). Zooplankton grazing and export of detritus were sensitive to CO2: grazing decreased and export increased with increasing pCO2. Nutrient addition halfway through the experiment increased the export, but not the production rates. Although mixotrophs showed initially higher production rates with increasing CO2, the overall production of POC (particulate organic carbon) after nutrient addition decreased with increasing CO2. Interestingly, and contrary to the low nutrient situation, much more material settled down in the sediment traps at low CO2. The observed CO2 related effects potentially alter future organic carbon flows and export, with possible consequences for the efficiency of the biological pump.
Tags: Arctic Ocean, biogeochemistry, community, field, mesocosms, phytoplankton, primary production, zooplankton
Responses to ocean acidification in plankton communities were studied during a CO2-enrichment experiment in the Arctic Ocean, accomplished from June to July 2010 in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard (78°56′ 2′′ N, 11°53′ 6′′ E). Enclosed in 9 mesocosms (volume: 43.9–47.6 m3), plankton was exposed to CO2 concentrations, ranging from glacial to projected mid-next-century levels. Fertilization with inorganic nutrients at day 13 of the experiment supported the accumulation of phytoplankton biomass, as indicated by two periods of high chl a concentration.
This study tested for CO2 sensitivities in primary production (PP) of particulate organic carbon (PPPOC) and of dissolved organic carbon (PPDOC). Therefore, 14C-bottle incubations (24 h) of mesocosm samples were performed at 1 m depth receiving about 60% of incoming radiation. PP for all mesocosms averaged 8.06 ± 3.64 μmol C L−1 d−1 and was slightly higher than in the outside fjord system. Comparison between mesocosms revealed significantly higher PPPOC at elevated compared to low pCO2 after nutrient addition. PPDOC was significantly higher in CO2-enriched mesocosms before as well as after nutrient addition, suggesting that CO2 had a direct influence on DOC production. DOC concentrations inside the mesocosms increased before nutrient addition and more in high CO2 mesocosms. After addition of nutrients, however, further DOC accumulation was negligible and not significantly different between treatments, indicating rapid utilization of freshly produced DOC. Bacterial biomass production (BP) was coupled to PP in all treatments, indicating that 3.5 ± 1.9% of PP or 21.6 ± 12.5% of PPDOC provided on average sufficient carbon for synthesis of bacterial biomass. During the later course of the bloom, the response of 14C-based PP rates to CO2 enrichment differed from net community production (NCP) rates that were also determined during this mesocosm campaign. We conclude that the enhanced release of labile DOC during autotrophic production at high CO2 exceedingly stimulated activities of heterotrophic microorganisms. As a consequence, increased PP induced less NCP, as suggested earlier for carbon-limited microbial systems in the Arctic.
Effects of ocean acidification, temperature and nutrient regimes on the appendicularian Oikopleura dioica: a mesocosm studyPublished 26 February 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: abundance, biological response, community, community composition, field, mesocosms, morphology, multiple factors, North Atlantic, nutrients, phytoplankton, temperature, tunicates, zooplankton
Increasing pCO2 is hypothesized to induce shifts in plankton communities toward smaller cells, reduced carbon export rates and increased roles of gelatinous zooplankton. Appendicularians, among the most numerous pan-global “gelatinous” zooplankton, continuously produce filter-feeding houses, shortcutting marine food webs by ingesting submicron particles, and their discarded houses contribute significantly to carbon fluxes. We present a first mesocosm-scale study on the effects of temperature, pCO2 and bloom structures on the appendicularian, Oikopleura dioica. There were effects of temperature and nutrients on phytoplankton communities. No shifts in functional phytoplankton groups, nor changes in particle sizes/morphotypes, known to impact appendicularian feeding, were observed under manipulated pCO2 conditions. However, appendicularian abundance was positively correlated with increased pCO2, temperature and nutrient levels, consistent with hypotheses concerning gelatinous zooplankton in future oceans. This suggests appendicularians will play more important roles in marine pelagic communities and vertical carbon transport under projected ocean acidification and elevated temperature scenarios.
Tags: biological response, mollusks, morphology, paleo, protists, zooplankton
Recent concern over the effects of ocean acidification upon calcifying organisms in the modern ocean has highlighted the aragonitic shelled thecosomatous pteropods as being at a high risk. Laboratory studies have shown that increased pCO2, leading to decreased pH and low carbonate concentrations, has a negative impact on the ability of pteropods to calcify and maintain their shells. This study presents the micropalaeontological analysis of marine cores from the Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean. Pteropods, heteropods and planktic foraminifera were picked from samples to provide palaeoenvironmental data for each core. Determination of pteropod calcification was made using the Limacina Dissolution Index (LDX) and the average shell size of Limacina inflata specimens. Pteropod calcification indices were compared to global ice volume and Vostok atmospheric CO2 concentrations to determine any associations between climate and calcification. Results show that changes in surface ocean carbonate concentrations throughout the Late Pleistocene did affect the calcification of thecosomatous pteropods. These effects can be detected in shells from marine sediments that are located well above the aragonite lysocline and have not undergone post-depositional dissolution. The results of this study confirm the findings of laboratory studies, showing a decrease in calcification during interglacial periods, when surface ocean carbonate concentrations were lower. During glacial periods, calcification was enhanced due to the increased availability of carbonate. This trend was found in all sediments studied, indicating that the response of pteropods to past climate change is of global significance. These results demonstrate that pteropods have been negatively affected by oceanic pH levels relatively higher and changing at a lesser rate than those predicted for the 21st Century. Results also establish the use of pteropods and heteropods in reconstructing surface ocean conditions. The LDX is a fast and appropriate way of determining variations in surface water carbonate saturation. Abundances of key species were also found to constrain palaeotemperatures better than planktic foraminifera, a use which could be further developed.