Complex responses of intertidal molluscan embryos to a warming and acidifying ocean in the presence of UV radiation.
ABSTRACT: Climate change and ocean acidification will expose marine organisms to synchronous multiple stressors, with early life stages being potentially most vulnerable to changing environmental conditions. We simultaneously exposed encapsulated molluscan embryos to three abiotic stressors-acidified conditions, elevated temperate, and solar UV radiation in large outdoor water tables in a multifactorial design. Solar UV radiation was modified with plastic filters, while levels of the other factors reflected IPCC predictions for near-future change. We quantified mortality and the rate of embryonic development for a mid-shore littorinid, Bembicium nanum, and low-shore opisthobranch, Dolabrifera brazieri. Outcomes were consistent for these model species with embryos faring significantly better at 26°C than 22°C. Mortality sharply increased at the lowest temperature (22°C) and lowest pH (7.6) examined, producing a significant interaction. Under these conditions mortality approached 100% for each species, representing a 2- to 4-fold increase in mortality relative to warm (26°C) non-acidified conditions. Predictably, development was more rapid at the highest temperature but this again interacted with acidified conditions. Development was slowed under acidified conditions at the lowest temperature. The presence of UV radiation had minimal impact on the outcomes, only slowing development for the littorinid and not interacting with the other factors. Our findings suggest that a warming ocean, at least to a threshold, may compensate for the effects of decreasing pH for some species. It also appears that stressors will interact in complex and unpredictable ways in a changing climate.
Project description:Coral cover has been declining in recent decades due to increased temperatures and environmental stressors. However, the extent to which different stressors contribute both individually and in concert to bleaching and mortality is still very uncertain. We develop and use a novel regression approach, using non-linear parametric models that control for unobserved time invariant effects to estimate the effects on coral bleaching and mortality due to temperature, solar radiation, depth, hurricanes and anthropogenic stressors using historical data from a large bleaching event in 2005 across the Caribbean. Two separate models are created, one to predict coral bleaching, and the other to predict near-term mortality. A large ensemble of supporting data is assembled to control for omitted variable bias and improve fit, and a significant improvement in fit is observed from univariate linear regression based on temperature alone. The results suggest that climate stressors (temperature and radiation) far outweighed direct anthropogenic stressors (using distance from shore and nearby human population density as a proxy for such stressors) in driving coral health outcomes during the 2005 event. Indeed, temperature was found to play a role ~4 times greater in both the bleaching and mortality response than population density across their observed ranges. The empirical models tested in this study have large advantages over ordinary-least squares-they offer unbiased estimates for censored data, correct for spatial correlation, and are capable of handling more complex relationships between dependent and independent variables. The models offer a framework for preparing for future warming events and climate change; guiding monitoring and attribution of other bleaching and mortality events regionally and around the globe; and informing adaptive management and conservation efforts.
Project description:Legionellosis, an infection caused by the environmental bacteria <i>Legionella</i> spp., has become a significant public health problem in the United States in recent years; however, among the states, the incidence rates vary widely without a clear explanation. This study examined environmental effects on the 2014-to-2016 average annual legionellosis incidence rates in the U.S. states through correlative analyses with long-term precipitation, temperature, solar UV radiation, and sunshine hours. The continental states west of ∼95°W showed low incidence rates of 0.51 to 1.20 cases per 100,000 population, which corresponded to low precipitation, below 750 mm annually. For the eastern states, where precipitation was higher, solar effects were prominent and mixed, leading to wide incidence variation. Robust regressions suggested a dividing line at 40°N: north of this line, rising temperature, mainly from solar heat, raised legionellosis incidence to a peak of 4.25/100,000 in Ohio; south of the line, intensifying sunlight in terms of high UV indices and long sunshine hours prevailed to limit incidence gradually to 0.99/100,000 in Louisiana. On or near the 40°N line were 15 eastern states that had leading legionellosis incidence rates of >2.0/100,000. These states all showed modest environmental parameters. In contrast, the frigid climate in Alaska and the strong year-round solar UV in Hawaii explained the lowest U.S. incidences, 0.14/100,000 and 0.47/100,000, respectively, in these states. The findings of solar and climate effects explain the wide variation of legionellosis incidence rates in the United States and may offer insights into the potential exposure to and prevention of infection.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Legionellosis, caused by the environmental bacteria <i>Legionella</i> spp., has become a significant public health problem in the United States in recent years, with ∼6,000 cases annually. The present study showed, through a series of correlative analyses with long-term precipitation, temperature, solar UV radiation, and sunshine hours, that these environmental conditions strongly influence the legionellosis incidence rates across the United States in mixed and dynamic fashions. The incidence rates varied remarkably by region, with the highest in Ohio and New York and the lowest in Alaska. A precipitation threshold above 750 mm was required for elevated legionellosis activity. Regression models and dividing lines between regions were established to show the promotive effect of temperature, as well as the inhibitive effects of solar UV and sunshine hours. These findings explain the wide variation of legionellosis incidence rates in the United States. They may also offer insights into potential exposure to and prevention of infection.
Project description:A significantly stronger impact in mortality and morbidity by COVID-19 has been observed in the northern Italian regions compared to the southern ones. The reasons of this geographical pattern might involve several concurrent factors. The main objective of this work is to investigate whether any correlations exist between the spatial distribution of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the different Italian regions and the amount of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation at the Earth's surface. To this purpose, in this environmental ecological study a mixed-effect exponential regression was built to explain the incidence of COVID-19 based on the environmental conditions, and demographic and pathophysiologic factors. Observations and estimates of the cumulative solar UV exposure have been included to quantify the amount of radiation available e.g., for pre-vitamin D3 synthesis or SARS-CoV-2 inactivation by sunlight. The analysis shows a significant correlation (p-value <5 × 10<sup>-2</sup>) between the response variables (death percentage, incidence of infections and positive tests) and biologically effective solar UV radiation, residents in nursing homes per inhabitant (NHR), air temperature, death percentage due to the most frequent comorbidities. Among all factors, the amount of solar UV radiation is the variable contributing the most to the observed correlation, explaining up to 83.2% of the variance of the COVID-19 affected cases per population. While the statistical outcomes of the study do not directly entail a specific cause-effect relationship, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that solar UV radiation impacted on the development of the infection and on its complications, e.g. through the effect of vitamin D on the immune system or virus inactivation by sunlight. The analytical framework used in this study, based on commonly available data, can be easily replicated in other countries and geographical domains to identify possible correlations between exposure to solar UV radiation and the spread of the pandemic.
Project description:The presence of anthocyanins in flowers and fruits is frequently attributed to attracting pollinators and dispersers. In vegetative organs, anthocyanins and other non-pigmented flavonoids such as flavones and flavonols may serve protective functions against UV radiation, cold, heat, drought, salinity, pathogens, and herbivores; thus, these compounds are usually produced as a plastic response to such stressors. Although, the independent accumulation of anthocyanins in reproductive and vegetative tissues is commonly postulated due to differential regulation, the accumulation of flavonoids within and among populations has never been thoroughly compared. Here, we investigated the shore campion (Silene littorea, Caryophyllaceae) which exhibits variation in anthocyanin accumulation in its floral and vegetative tissues. We examined the in-situ accumulation of flavonoids in floral (petals and calyxes) and vegetative organs (leaves) from 18 populations representing the species' geographic distribution. Each organ exhibited considerable variability in the content of anthocyanins and other flavonoids both within and among populations. In all organs, anthocyanin and other flavonoids were correlated. At the plant level, the flavonoid content in petals, calyxes, and leaves was not correlated in most of the populations. However, at the population level, the mean amount of anthocyanins in all organs was positively correlated, which suggests that the variable environmental conditions of populations may play a role in anthocyanin accumulation. These results are unexpected because the anthocyanins are usually constitutive in petals, yet contingent to environmental conditions in calyxes and leaves. Anthocyanin variation in petals may influence pollinator attraction and subsequent plant reproduction, yet the amount of anthocyanins may be a direct response to environmental factors. In populations on the west coast, a general pattern of increasing accumulation of flavonoids toward southern latitudes was observed in calyxes and leaves. This pattern corresponds to a gradual increase of UV-B radiation and temperature, and a decrease of rainfall toward the south. However, populations along the southern coast exposed to similar climatic stressors showed highly variable flavonoid contents, implying that other factors may play a role in flavonoid accumulation.
Project description:Complex changes to UV radiation at the Earth's surface are occurring concurrently with ocean warming. Despite few empirical tests, jellyfish are hypothesised to be increasing in some parts of the world because they are robust to environmental stressors. Here we examine the effects of UV-B and ocean warming projections on zooxanthellate jellyfish polyps. We exposed Cassiopea sp. polyps to three levels of UV-B (future-low (1.43?Wm(2)), current (1.60?Wm(2)), future-high (1.77?Wm(2))) and two levels of temperature (current-day (25?°C) and future (28?°C)) over 6 weeks. The intensity of UV-B was varied throughout the day to mimic diel variation in UV-B irradiance. Polyp survival, asexual reproduction and YII were measured. In the current and future-high UV-B treatments, more polyps were produced in 25?°C than 28?°C. This pattern, however, was reversed under future-low UV-B conditions, where more polyps were produced at 28?°C. YII was highest under current summer conditions and future conditions of low UV-B and increased temperature. YII, however, was reduced under high UV-B conditions but was further reduced with warming. Our results suggest that although Cassiopea polyps may survive elevated UV-B and warming conditions, they are unlikely to thrive. If, however, UV-B radiation decreases then ocean warming may facilitate increases in Cassiopea populations.
Project description:UV-B radiation from normal solar fluence elicits physiological and developmental changes in plants under fluctuating environmental conditions. Most UV photobiology studies in plants utilize controlled greenhouse and growth chamber environments in which few conditions vary except the brief presence of UV-B radiation. Our purpose was to compare responses to UV-B in irradiated and shielded maize organs in field (natural solar plus 2x solar supplementation for defined periods) and greenhouse (2x solar supplementation only) conditions during a 4 hour exposure. Three parameters were assessed--transcripts, proteins, and metabolites--to determine the degree of overlap in maize responses in field and greenhouse conditions. We assessed irradiated leaves, and both shielded leaves and immature ears. After comparing transcriptome, proteome and metabolome profiles, we find there are more differences than similarities between field and greenhouse responses.
Project description:Recently, we found a dioecious plant Populus cathayana males possess a greater tolerance to enhanced UV-B radiation than do females. To carry this work forward, comparative transcriptome analyses were carried out. Similar to previous studies, a set of conserved functions and pathways related to UV-B stress were detected in males and females, regardless of the sex. In addition, sex-specific responses via transcriptome remodeling were also detected as shown in the changes of sex-related gene expression occurred in some pathways. For example, a lot of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) involved in amino acid metabolism were mainly up-regulated in males, but down-regulated in females. Moreover, we found some DEGs expressed predominantly or exclusively in one sex, which may directly contribute to sex-related physiological responses. 4 samples examined: (i) males exposure to decreased solar UV-B radiation (MC); (ii) females exposure to decreased solar UV-B radiation (FC); (iii) males exposure to ambient solar UV-B radiation (MU); and (iv) females exposure to ambient solar UV-B radiation (FU). Nine plants of each sex were exposed to each treatment, and RNA samples from the 9 individuals were pooled with equal proportion.
Project description:Solar UV-C photons do not reach Earth's surface, but are known to be endowed with germicidal properties that are also effective on viruses. The effect of softer UV-B and UV-A photons, which copiously reach the Earth's surface, on viruses are instead little studied, particularly on single-stranded RNA viruses. Here we combine our measurements of the action spectrum of Covid-19 in response to UV light, Solar irradiation measurements on Earth during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemics, worldwide recorded Covid-19 mortality data and our "Solar-Pump" diffusive model of epidemics to show that (a) UV-B/A photons have a powerful virucidal effect on the single-stranded RNA virus Covid-19 and that (b) the Solar radiation that reaches temperate regions of the Earth at noon during summers, is sufficient to inactivate 63% of virions in open-space concentrations (1.5 × 10<sup>3</sup> TCID<sub>50</sub>/mL, higher than typical aerosol) in less than 2 min. We conclude that the characteristic seasonality imprint displayed world-wide by the SARS-Cov-2 mortality time-series throughout the diffusion of the outbreak (with temperate regions showing clear seasonal trends and equatorial regions suffering, on average, a systematically lower mortality), might have been efficiently set by the different intensity of UV-B/A Solar radiation hitting different Earth's locations at different times of the year. Our results suggest that Solar UV-B/A play an important role in planning strategies of confinement of the epidemics, which should be worked out and set up during spring/summer months and fully implemented during low-solar-irradiation periods.
Project description:Given that flower size and pigmentation can mediate plant-pollinator interactions, many studies have focused on pollinator-driven selection on these floral traits. However, abiotic factors such as precipitation, temperature, and solar radiation also contribute to geographic variation in floral color, pattern, and size within multiple species. Several studies have described an ecogeographic pattern within species in which high temperature, high ultraviolet (UV) radiation, low precipitation and/or low latitudes are associated with increased floral anthocyanin production, smaller flowers, and/or larger UV-absorbing floral patterns (nectar guides or bullseyes). However, latitude or elevation is often used as a proxy variable to study variation in floral traits associated with a wide range of climatic variables, making the proximate abiotic drivers of variation difficult to identify. In this study, we tested and corroborated several predictions for how the abiotic environment may directly or indirectly shape geographic patterns of floral color, pattern, and size in Clarkia unguiculata (Onagraceae). This study provides the first report of geographic variation in multispectral floral color and pattern in C. unguiculata, while also providing an experimental test of the putative protective role of UV absorption for pollen performance. We quantified geographic variation among greenhouse-raised populations in UV floral pattern size, mean UV petal reflectance, anthocyanin concentration, and petal area in C. unguiculata across its natural range in California and, using 30 year climate normals for each population, we identified climatic and topographic attributes that are correlated with our focal floral traits. In addition, we examined pollen performance under high and low UV light conditions to detect the protective function (if any) of UV floral patterns in this species. Contrary to our expectations, the nectar guide and the proportion of the petal occupied by the UV nectar guide were largest in low solar UV populations. Estimated floral anthocyanin concentration was highest in populations with high solar UV, which does support our predictions. The size of the UV nectar guide did not affect pollen performance in either of the light treatments used in this study. We conclude that, under the conditions examined here, UV-absorbing floral patterns do not serve a direct "pollen protection" function in C. unguiculata. Our results only partially align with expected ecogeographic patterns in these floral traits, highlighting the need for research in a wider range of taxa in order to detect and interpret broad scale patterns of floral color variation.