Functional biodiversity loss along natural CO2 gradients.
ABSTRACT: The effects of environmental change on biodiversity are still poorly understood. In particular, the consequences of shifts in species composition for marine ecosystem function are largely unknown. Here we assess the loss of functional diversity, i.e. the range of species biological traits, in benthic marine communities exposed to ocean acidification (OA) by using natural CO2 vent systems. We found that functional richness is greatly reduced with acidification, and that functional loss is more pronounced than the corresponding decrease in taxonomic diversity. In acidified conditions, most organisms accounted for a few functional entities (i.e. unique combination of functional traits), resulting in low functional redundancy. These results suggest that functional richness is not buffered by functional redundancy under OA, even in highly diverse assemblages, such as rocky benthic communities.
Project description:Most literature exploring the biological effects of ocean acidification (OA) has focused on macroscopic organisms and far less is known about how marine microbial communities will respond. Studies of OA and microbial community composition and diversity have examined communities from a limited number of ocean regions where the ambient pH is near or above the global average. At San Juan Island (Salish Sea), a region that experiences naturally low pH (average = 7.8), the picoplankton (cell diameter is 0.2-2?m) community was predicted to show no response to experimental acidification in a three-week mesocosm experiment. Filtered seawater mesocosms were maintained via semicontinuous culturing. Three control mesocosms were maintained at pH 8.05 and three acidified mesocosms were maintained at pH 7.60. Total bacteria was quantified daily with a flow cytometer. Microbial communities were sampled every two days via filtration followed by DNA extraction, 16S rRNA amplification, and MiSeq sequencing. There was no significant difference in total bacteria between pH treatments throughout the experiment. Acidification significantly reduced Shannon's diversity over time. During the final week of the experiment, acidification resulted in a significant decrease in Shannon's diversity, Faith's phylogenetic distance, and Pielous's Evenness. ANCOM results revealed four bacterial ASVs (amplicon sequence variants), in families Flavobaceriaceae and Hyphomonadaceae that significantly decreased in relative frequency under acidification and two bacterial ASVs, in families Flavobacteriaceae and Alteromonadaceae, that significantly increased under acidification. This is the first OA study on the microbial community of the Salish Sea, a nutrient rich, low pH region, and the first of its kind to report a decrease in both picoplankton richness and evenness with acidification. These findings demonstrate that marine microbial communities that naturally experience acidic conditions are still sensitive to acidification.
Project description:Ocean acidification (OA), caused by the dissolution of increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in seawater, is projected to cause significant changes to marine ecology and biogeochemistry. Potential impacts on the microbially driven cycling of nitrogen are of particular concern. Specifically, under seawater pH levels approximating future OA scenarios, rates of ammonia oxidation (the rate-limiting first step of the nitrification pathway) have been shown to dramatically decrease in seawater, but not in underlying sediments. However, no prior study has considered the interactive effects of microbial ammonia oxidation and macrofaunal bioturbation activity, which can enhance nitrogen transformation rates. Using experimental mesocosms, we investigated the responses to OA of ammonia oxidizing microorganisms inhabiting surface sediments and sediments within burrow walls of the mud shrimp Upogebia deltaura. Seawater was acidified to one of four target pH values (pHT 7.90, 7.70, 7.35 and 6.80) in comparison with a control (pHT 8.10). At pHT 8.10, ammonia oxidation rates in burrow wall sediments were, on average, fivefold greater than in surface sediments. However, at all acidified pH values (pH ? 7.90), ammonia oxidation rates in burrow sediments were significantly inhibited (by 79-97%; p < 0.01), whereas rates in surface sediments were unaffected. Both bacterial and archaeal abundances increased significantly as pHT declined; by contrast, relative abundances of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidation (amoA) genes did not vary. This research suggests that OA could cause substantial reductions in total benthic ammonia oxidation rates in coastal bioturbated sediments, leading to corresponding changes in coupled nitrogen cycling between the benthic and pelagic realms.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Functional diversity illustrates the range of ecological functions in a community. It allows revealing the appearance of functional redundancy in communities and processes of community assembly. Functional redundancy illustrates the overlap in ecological functions of community members which may be an indicator of community resilience. We evaluated patterns of species richness, functional diversity and functional redundancy on tadpole communities in rainforest streams in Madagascar. This habitat harbours the world's most species-rich stream tadpole communities which are due to their occurrence in primary habitat of particular interest for functional diversity studies. RESULTS: Species richness of tadpole communities is largely determined by characteristics of the larval habitat (stream structure), not by adult habitat (forest structure). Species richness is positively correlated with a size-velocity gradient of the streams, i.e. communities follow a classical species-area relationship. While widely observed for other taxa, this is an unusual pattern for anuran larvae which usually is expected to be hump-shaped. Along the species richness gradient, we quantified functional diversity of all communities considering the similarity and dissimilarity of species in 18 traits related to habitat use and foraging. Especially species-rich communities were characterised by an overlap of species function, i.e. by functional redundancy. By comparing the functional diversity of the observed communities with functional diversity of random assemblages, we found no differences at low species richness level, whereas observed species-rich communities have lower functional diversity than respective random assemblages. CONCLUSIONS: We found functional redundancy being a feature of communities also in primary habitat, what has not been shown before using such a continuous measure. The observed species richness dependent pattern of low functional diversity indicates that communities with low species richness accumulate functional traits randomly, whereas species in species-rich communities are more similar to each other than predicted by random assemblages and therefore exhibit an accumulation of stream-specific functional traits. Beyond a certain species richness level, therefore, stream-specific environmental filters exert influence whereas interspecific competition between species does not influence trait assemblage at any species richness level.
Project description:Increased atmospheric CO2 is driving ocean acidification (OA), and potential changes in marine ecosystems. Research shows that both planktonic and benthic communities are affected, but how these changes are linked remains unresolved. Here we show experimentally that decreasing seawater pH (from pH 8.1 to 7.8 and 7.4) leads to reduced biofilm formation and lower primary producer biomass within biofilms. These changes occurred concurrently with a re-arrangement of the biofilm microbial communities. Changes suggest a potential shift from autotrophic to heterotrophic dominated biofilms in response to reduced pH. In a complimentary experiment, biofilms reared under reduced pH resulted in altered larval settlement for a model species (Galeolaria hystrix). These findings show that there is a potential cascade of impacts arising from OA effects on biofilms that may drive important community shifts through altered settlement patterns of benthic species.
Project description:Ocean acidification can reduce the growth and survival of marine species during their larval stages. However, if populations have the genetic capacity to adapt and increase their tolerance of low pH and high pCO2 levels, this may offset the harmful effects of ocean acidification. By combining controlled breeding experiments with laboratory manipulations of seawater chemistry, we evaluated genetic variation in tolerance of ocean acidification conditions for a nearshore marine fish, the California Grunion (Leuresthes tenuis). Our results indicated that acidification conditions increased overall mortality rates of grunion larvae, but did not have a significant effect on growth. Groups of larvae varied widely with respect to mortality and growth rates in both ambient and acidified conditions. We demonstrate that the potential to evolve in response to ocean acidification is best described by considering additive genetic variation in fitness-related traits under both ambient and acidified conditions and by evaluating the genetic correlation between traits expressed in these environments. We used a multivariate animal model to estimate additive genetic (co)variance in larval growth and mortality rates under both ambient and acidified conditions (low pH/high pCO2). Our results suggest appreciable genetic variation in larval mortality rates (h 2 Ambient = 0.120; h 2 Acidified = 0.183; rG = 0.460), but less genetic variation in growth (h 2 Ambient = 0.092; h 2 Acidified = 0.101; rG = 0.135). Maternal effects on larval mortality rates accounted for 26%-36% of the variation in phenotypes, but maternal effects accounted for only 8% of the variation in growth. Collectively, our estimates of genetic variation and covariation suggest that populations of California Grunion have the capacity to adapt relatively quickly to long-term changes in ocean chemistry.
Project description:Liming has been used extensively in Scandinavia and elsewhere since the 1970s to counteract the negative effects of acidification. Communities in limed lakes usually return to acidified conditions once liming is discontinued, suggesting that liming is unlikely to shift acidified lakes to a state equivalent to pre-acidification conditions that requires no further management intervention. While this suggests a low resilience of limed lakes, attributes that confer resilience have not been assessed, limiting our understanding of the efficiency of costly management programs. In this study, we assessed community metrics (diversity, richness, evenness, biovolume), multivariate community structure and the relative resilience of phytoplankton in limed, acidified and circum-neutral lakes from 1997 to 2009, using multivariate time series modeling. We identified dominant temporal frequencies in the data, allowing us to track community change at distinct temporal scales. We assessed two attributes of relative resilience (cross-scale and within-scale structure) of the phytoplankton communities, based on the fluctuation frequency patterns identified. We also assessed species with stochastic temporal dynamics. Liming increased phytoplankton diversity and richness; however, multivariate community structure differed in limed relative to acidified and circum-neutral lakes. Cross-scale and within-scale attributes of resilience were similar across all lakes studied but the contribution of those species exhibiting stochastic dynamics was higher in the acidified and limed compared to circum-neutral lakes. From a resilience perspective, our results suggest that limed lakes comprise a particular condition of an acidified lake state. This explains why liming does not move acidified lakes out of a "degraded" basin of attraction. In addition, our study demonstrates the potential of time series modeling to assess the efficiency of restoration and management outcomes through quantification of the attributes contributing to resilience in ecosystems.
Project description:Increases in atmospheric CO2 partial pressure have lowered seawater pH in marine ecosystems, a process called ocean acidification (OA). The effects of OA during the critical stages of larval development may have disastrous consequences for some marine species, including Babylonia areolata (Link 1807), a commercially important sea snail in China and South East Asia. To investigate how OA affects the proteome of Babylonia areolata, here we used label-free proteomics to study protein changes in response to acidified (pH 7.6) or ambient seawater (pH 8.1) during three larvae developmental stages of B. areolata, namely, the veliger larvae before attachment (E1), veliger larvae after attachment (E2), and carnivorous juvenile snail (E3). In total, we identified 720 proteins. This result suggested that acidification seriously affects late veliger stage after attachment (E2). Further examination of the roles of differentially expressed proteins, which include glutaredoxin, heat-shock protein 70, thioredoxin, catalase, cytochrome-c-oxidase, peroxiredoxin 6, troponin T, CaM kinase II alpha, proteasome subunit N3 and cathepsin L, will be important for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying pH reduction.
Project description:The oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) is increasing and changing the seawater chemistry, a phenomenon known as ocean acidification (OA). Besides the expected physiological impairments, there is an increasing evidence of detrimental OA effects on the behavioral ecology of certain marine taxa, including cephalopods. Within this context, the main goal of this study was to investigate, for the first time, the OA effects (?1000 ?atm; ?pH = 0.4) in the development and behavioral ecology (namely shelter-seeking, hunting and response to a visual alarm cue) of the common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) early life stages, throughout the entire embryogenesis until 20 days after hatching. There was no evidence that OA conditions compromised the cuttlefish embryogenesis - namely development time, hatching success, survival rate and biometric data (length, weight and Fulton's condition index) of newly hatched cuttlefish were similar between the normocapnic and hypercapnic treatments. The present findings also suggest a certain behavioral resilience of the cuttlefish hatchlings toward near-future OA conditions. Shelter-seeking, hunting and response to a visual alarm cue did not show significant differences between treatments. Thus, we argue that cuttlefishes' nekton-benthic (and active) lifestyle, their adaptability to highly dynamic coastal and estuarine zones, and the already harsh conditions (hypoxia and hypercapnia) inside their eggs provide a degree of phenotypic plasticity that may favor the odds of the recruits in a future acidified ocean. Nonetheless, the interacting effects of multiple stressors should be further addressed, to accurately predict the resilience of this ecologically and economically important species in the oceans of tomorrow.
Project description:Ocean acidification is predicted to impact all areas of the oceans and affect a diversity of marine organisms. However, the diversity of responses among species prevents clear predictions about the impact of acidification at the ecosystem level. Here, we used shallow water CO(2) vents in the Mediterranean Sea as a model system to examine emergent ecosystem responses to ocean acidification in rocky reef communities. We assessed in situ benthic invertebrate communities in three distinct pH zones (ambient, low, and extreme low), which differed in both the mean and variability of seawater pH along a continuous gradient. We found fewer taxa, reduced taxonomic evenness, and lower biomass in the extreme low pH zones. However, the number of individuals did not differ among pH zones, suggesting that there is density compensation through population blooms of small acidification-tolerant taxa. Furthermore, the trophic structure of the invertebrate community shifted to fewer trophic groups and dominance by generalists in extreme low pH, suggesting that there may be a simplification of food webs with ocean acidification. Despite high variation in individual species' responses, our findings indicate that ocean acidification decreases the diversity, biomass, and trophic complexity of benthic marine communities. These results suggest that a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function is expected under extreme acidification scenarios.
Project description:Ocean acidification (OA) is increasing due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions and poses a threat to marine species and communities worldwide. To better project the effects of acidification on organisms' health and persistence, an understanding is needed of the 1) mechanisms underlying developmental and physiological tolerance and 2) potential populations have for rapid evolutionary adaptation. This is especially challenging in nonmodel species where targeted assays of metabolism and stress physiology may not be available or economical for large-scale assessments of genetic constraints. We used mRNA sequencing and a quantitative genetics breeding design to study mechanisms underlying genetic variability and tolerance to decreased seawater pH (-0.4 pH units) in larvae of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis. We used a gene ontology-based approach to integrate expression profiles into indirect measures of cellular and biochemical traits underlying variation in larval performance (i.e., growth rates). Molecular responses to OA were complex, involving changes to several functions such as growth rates, cell division, metabolism, and immune activities. Surprisingly, the magnitude of pH effects on molecular traits tended to be small relative to variation attributable to segregating functional genetic variation in this species. We discuss how the application of transcriptomics and quantitative genetics approaches across diverse species can enrich our understanding of the biological impacts of climate change.