Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

Ocean acidification Related Abstracts

5 Adaptive Strategies of European Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) to Ocean Acidification and Salinity Stress

Authors: Nitin Pipralia, Amit Kmar Sinha, Gudrun de Boeck


Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have been increasing since the beginning of the industrial revolution due to combustion of fossils fuel and many anthropogenic means. As the number of scenarios assembled by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predict a rise of pCO2 from today’s 380 μatm to approximately 900 μatm until the year 2100 and a further rise of up to 1900 μatm by the year 2300. A rise in pCO2 results in more dissolution in ocean surface water which lead to cange in water pH, This phenomena of decrease in ocean pH due to increase on pCO2 is ocean acidification is considered a potential threat to the marine ecosystems and expected to affect fish as well as calcerious organisms. The situation may get worste when the stress of salinity adds on, due to migratory movement of fishes, where fish moves to different salinity region for various specific activities likes spawning and other. Therefore, to understand the interactive impact of these whole range of two important environmental abiotic stresses (viz. pCO2 ranging from 380 μatm, 900 μatm and 1900 μatm, along with salinity gradients of 32ppt, 10 ppt and 2.5ppt) on the ecophysiologal performance of fish, we investigated various biological adaptive response in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), a model estuarine teleost. Overall, we hypothesize that effect of ocean acidification would be exacerbate with shift in ambient salinity. Oxygen consumption, ammonia metabolism, iono-osmoregulation, energy budget, ion-regulatory enzymes, hormones and pH amendments in plasma were assayed as the potential indices of compensatory responses.

Keywords: Ocean acidification, Salinity, sea bass, pH climate change

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4 Variability of Physico-Chemical and Carbonate Chemistry of Seawater in Selected Portions of the Central Atlantic Coastline of Ghana

Authors: Robert Kwame Kpaliba, Dennis Kpakpor Adotey, Yaw Serfor-Armah


Increase in the oceanic carbon dioxide absorbance from the atmosphere due to climate change has led to appreciable change in the chemistry of the oceans. The change in oceanic pH referred to as ocean acidification poses multiple threats and stresses on marine species, biodiversity, goods and services, and livelihoods. Marine ecosystems are continuously threatened by plethora of natural and anthropogenic stressors including carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions causing a lot of changes which has not been experienced for approximately 60 years. Little has been done in Africa as a whole and Ghana in particular to improve the understanding of the variations of the carbonate chemistry of seawater and the biophysical impacts of ocean acidification on security of seafood, nutrition, climate and environmental change. There is, therefore, the need for regular monitoring of carbonate chemistry of seawater along Ghana’s coastline to generate reliable data to aid marine policy formulation. Samples of seawater were collected thrice every month for a one-year period from five study sites for the various parameters to be analyzed. Analysis of the measured physico-chemical and the carbonate chemistry parameters was done using simple statistics. Correlation test and ANOVA were run on both of the physico-chemical and carbonate chemistry parameters. The carbonate chemistry parameters were measured using computer software programme (CO₂cal v4.0.9) except total alkalinity and pH. The study assessed the variability of seawater carbonate chemistry in selected portions of the Central Atlantic Coastline of Ghana (Tsokomey/Bortianor, Kokrobitey, Gomoa Nyanyanor, Gomoa Fetteh, and Senya Breku landing beaches) over a 1-year period (June 2016–May 2017). For physico-chemical parameters, there was insignificant variation in nitrate (NO₃⁻) (1.62 - 2.3 mg/L), ammonia (NH₃) (1.52 - 2.05 mg/L), and salinity (sal) (34.50 - 34.74 ppt). Carbonate chemistry parameters for all the five study sites showed significant variation: partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO₂) (414.08-715.5 µmol/kg), carbonate ion (CO₃²⁻) (115-157.92 µmol/kg), pH (7.9-8.12), total alkalinity (TA) (1711.8-1986 µmol/kg), total carbon dioxide (TCO₂) (1512.1 - 1792 µmol/kg), dissolved carbon dioxide (CO₂aq) (10.97-18.92 µmol/kg), Revelle Factor (RF) (9.62-11.84), aragonite (ΩAr) (0.75-1.48) and calcite (ΩCa) (1.08-2.14). The study revealed that the partial pressure of carbon dioxide and temperature did not have a significant effect on each other (r² = 0.31) (p-value = 0.0717). There was an appreciable effect of pH on dissolved carbon dioxide (r² = 0.921) (p-value = 0.0000). The variation between total alkalinity and dissolved carbon dioxide was appreciable (r² = 0.731) (p-value = 0.0008). There was a significant correlation between total carbon dioxide and dissolved carbon dioxide (r² = 0.852) (p-value = 0.0000). Revelle factor correlated strongly with dissolved carbon dioxide (r² = 0.982) (p-value = 0.0000). Partial pressure of carbon dioxide corresponds strongly with atmospheric carbon dioxide (r² = 0.9999) (p-value = 0.00000).

Keywords: Ocean acidification, Seawater, Ghana, carbonate chemistry, central atlantic coastline

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3 Impact of Ocean Acidification on Gene Expression Dynamics during Development of the Sea Urchin Species Heliocidaris erythrogramma

Authors: Hannah R. Devens, Phillip L. Davidson, Dione Deaker, Kathryn E. Smith, Gregory A. Wray, Maria Byrne


Marine invertebrate species with calcifying larvae are especially vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA) caused by rising atmospheric CO₂ levels. Acidic conditions can delay development, suppress metabolism, and decrease the availability of carbonate ions in the ocean environment for skeletogenesis. These stresses often result in increased larval mortality, which may lead to significant ecological consequences including alterations to the larval settlement, population distribution, and genetic connectivity. Importantly, many of these physiological and developmental effects are caused by genetic and molecular level changes. Although many studies have examined the effect of near-future oceanic pH levels on gene expression in marine invertebrates, little is known about the impact of OA on gene expression in a developmental context. Here, we performed mRNA-sequencing to investigate the impact of environmental acidity on gene expression across three developmental stages in the sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma. We collected RNA from gastrula, early larva, and 1-day post-metamorphic juvenile sea urchins cultured at present-day and predicted future oceanic pH levels (pH 8.1 and 7.7, respectively). We assembled an annotated reference transcriptome encompassing development from egg to ten days post-metamorphosis by combining these data with datasets from two previous developmental transcriptomic studies of H. erythrogramma. Differential gene expression and time course analyses between pH conditions revealed significant alterations to developmental transcription that are potentially associated with pH stress. Consistent with previous investigations, genes involved in biomineralization and ion transport were significantly upregulated under acidic conditions. Differences in gene expression between the two pH conditions became more pronounced post-metamorphosis, suggesting a development-dependent effect of OA on gene expression. Furthermore, many differences in gene expression later in development appeared to be a result of broad downregulation at pH 7.7: of 539 genes differentially expressed at the juvenile stage, 519 of these were lower in the acidic condition. Time course comparisons between pH 8.1 and 7.7 samples also demonstrated over 500 genes were more lowly expressed in pH 7.7 samples throughout development. Of the genes exhibiting stage-dependent expression level changes, over 15% of these diverged from the expected temporal pattern of expression in the acidic condition. Through these analyses, we identify novel candidate genes involved in development, metabolism, and transcriptional regulation that are possibly affected by pH stress. Our results demonstrate that pH stress significantly alters gene expression dynamics throughout development. A large number of genes differentially expressed between pH conditions in juveniles relative to earlier stages may be attributed to the effects of acidity on transcriptional regulation, as a greater proportion of mRNA at this later stage has been nascent transcribed rather than maternally loaded. Also, the overall downregulation of many genes in the acidic condition suggests that OA-induced developmental delay manifests as suppressed mRNA expression, possibly from lower transcription rates or increased mRNA degradation in the acidic environment. Further studies will be necessary to determine in greater detail the extent of OA effects on early developing marine invertebrates.

Keywords: Development, Ocean acidification, Gene expression, RNA-sequencing, sea urchins

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2 Defining the Tipping Point of Tolerance to CO₂-Induced Ocean Acidification in Larval Dusky Kob Argyrosomus japonicus (Pisces: Sciaenidae)

Authors: Pule P. Mpopetsi, Warren M. Potts, Nicola James, Amber Childs


Increased CO₂ production and the consequent ocean acidification (OA) have been identified as one of the greatest threats to both calcifying and non-calcifying marine organisms. Traditionally, marine fishes, as non-calcifying organisms, were considered to have a higher tolerance to near-future OA conditions owing to their well-developed ion regulatory mechanisms. However, recent studies provide evidence to suggest that they may not be as resilient to near-future OA conditions as previously thought. In addition, earlier life stages of marine fishes are thought to be less tolerant than juveniles and adults of the same species as they lack well-developed ion regulatory mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis. This study focused on the effects of near-future OA on larval Argyrosomus japonicus, an estuarine-dependent marine fish species, in order to identify the tipping point of tolerance for the larvae of this species. Larval A. japonicus in the present study were reared from the egg up to 22 days after hatching (DAH) under three treatments. The three treatments, (pCO₂ 353 µatm; pH 8.03), (pCO₂ 451 µatm; pH 7.93) and (pCO₂ 602 µatm; pH 7.83) corresponded to levels predicted to occur in year 2050, 2068 and 2090 respectively under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Representative Concentration Pathways (IPCC RCP) 8.5 model. Size-at-hatch, growth, development, and metabolic responses (standard and active metabolic rates and metabolic scope) were assessed and compared between the three treatments throughout the rearing period. Five earlier larval life stages (hatchling – flexion/post-flexion) were identified by the end of the experiment. There were no significant differences in size-at-hatch (p > 0.05), development or the active metabolic (p > 0.05) or metabolic scope (p > 0.05) of fish in the three treatments throughout the study. However, the standard metabolic rate was significantly higher in the year 2068 treatment but only at the flexion/post-flexion stage which could be attributed to differences in developmental rates (including the development of the gills) between the 2068 and the other two treatments. Overall, the metabolic scope was narrowest in the 2090 treatment but varied according to life stage. Although not significantly different, metabolic scope in the 2090 treatment was noticeably lower at the flexion stage compared to the other two treatments, and the development appeared slower, suggesting that this could be the stage most prone to OA. The study concluded that, in isolation, OA levels predicted to occur between 2050 and 2090 will not negatively affect size-at-hatch, growth, development, and metabolic responses of larval A. japonicus up to 22 DAH (flexion/post-flexion stage). The present study also identified the tipping point of tolerance (where negative impacts will begin) in larvae of the species to be between the years 2090 and 2100.

Keywords: Climate Change, Marine, Ecology, Ocean acidification

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1 Promoting Social Advocacy through Digital Storytelling: The Case of Ocean Acidification

Authors: Chun Chen Yea, Wen Huei Chou


Many chemical changes in the atmosphere and the ocean are invisible to the naked eye, but they have profound impacts. These changes not only confirm the phenomenon of global carbon pollution, but also forewarn that more changes are coming. The carbon dioxide gases emitted from the burning of fossil fuels dissolve into the ocean and chemically react with seawater to form carbonic acid, which increases the acidity of the originally alkaline seawater. This gradual acidification is occurring at an unprecedented rate and will affect the effective formation of carapace of some marine organisms such as corals and crustaceans, which are almost entirely composed of calcium carbonate. The carapace of these organisms will become more dissoluble. Acidified seawater not only threatens the survival of marine life, but also negatively impacts the global ecosystem via the food chain. Faced with the threat of ocean acidification, all humans are duty-bound. The industrial sector outputs the highest level of carbon dioxide emissions in Taiwan, and the petrochemical industry is the major contributor. Ever since the construction of Formosa Plastics Group's No. 6 Naphtha Cracker Plant in Yunlin County, there have been many environmental concerns such as air pollution and carbon dioxide emission. The marine life along the coast of Yunlin is directly affected by ocean acidification arising from the carbon emissions. Societal change demands our willingness to act, which is what social advocacy promotes. This study uses digital storytelling for social advocacy and ocean acidification as the subject of a visual narrative in visualization to demonstrate the subsequent promotion of social advocacy. Storytelling can transform dull knowledge into an engaging narrative of the crisis faced by marine life. Digital dissemination is an effective social-work practice. The visualization promoting awareness on ocean acidification disseminated via social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. Social media enables users to compose their own messages and share information across different platforms, which helps disseminate the core message of social advocacy.

Keywords: Visualization, Ocean acidification, Digital Storytelling, social advocacy

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