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Special Issue "Impact of Ocean Acidification on Marine Organisms—Unifying Principles and New Paradigms"

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A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Sam Dupont (Website)

Department of Marine Ecology - Kristineberg, University of Gothenburg, Kristineberg 566, SE-450 34 Fiskebäckskil, Sweden
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Mike Thorndyke (Website)

Department of Marine Ecology - Kristineberg, University of Gothenburg, Kristineberg 566, SE-450 34 Fiskebäckskil, Sweden
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jason Hall-Spencer (Website)

School of Marine Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth, Portland Square, Drake Circus, Plymouth, UK

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Among anthropogenic stressors, ocean acidification—the decrease in the pH of the oceans caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—are of great concern and are believed to be a major threat for near-future ecosystem health. Rates of climate change are increasingly fast and we can only guess at the kinds of organisms that will suffer (“losers”) or benefit (“winners”) from this mayhem that is radically altering ecosystem structure. The impact of ocean acidification appears to be extremely species- and even population-specific and depends on life-history stages and the processes studied. The impact also needs to be considered in the context of additional relevant factors such as temperature and other anthropogenic stressors such as pollution. Until now, Ocean acidification has been moving forward as a hypothesis-driven research field and the current paradigms (e.g. ocean acidification will negatively impact calcifiers) are now being revisited. For example, some of the taxa predicted to be heavily impacted appear to be surprisingly resilient to low pH / high pCO2. To allow large-scale predictions of the impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems it is important to understand how ocean acidification together with other stressors will modify the evolutionary rules shaping marine ecosystems.

This Special Issue will compile research articles on recent research together with reviews on the biological impact of ocean acidification. These will have special focus on species and ecosystem resilience in relation to present and future natural environmental variability, life history strategy and population plasticity along latitudinal gradients to explore both intra- and inter- specific adaptive potential and genetic variability in various taxa.

Prof. Dr. Mike Thorndyke
Dr. Sam Dupont
Dr. Jason Hall-Spencer
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • ocean acidification
  • climate change
  • pCO2
  • pH
  • eco-physiology
  • ecosystem
  • resilience
  • evolution

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Impact of Ocean Acidification on Marine Organisms—Unifying Principles and New Paradigms
Water 2015, 7(10), 5592-5598; doi:10.3390/w7105592
Received: 3 August 2015 / Revised: 22 September 2015 / Accepted: 10 October 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
PDF Full-text (172 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This special issue combines original research with seminal reviews of the biological impact of ocean acidification. The ten contributions cover a wide range of topics from chemical and biological responses to increased CO2 and decreased pH to socio-economical sensitivities and adaptation [...] Read more.
This special issue combines original research with seminal reviews of the biological impact of ocean acidification. The ten contributions cover a wide range of topics from chemical and biological responses to increased CO2 and decreased pH to socio-economical sensitivities and adaptation options. Overall, this special issue also highlights the key knowledge gaps and future challenges. These include the need to develop research strategy and experiments that factor in evolution, incorporate natural variability in physical conditions (e.g., pH, temperature, oxygen, food quality and quantity) and ecological interactions. The research presented in this special issue demonstrates the need to study more habitats (e.g., coastal, deep sea) and prioritize species of ecological or economic significance. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Environmental pH, O2 and Capsular Effects on the Geochemical Composition of Statoliths of Embryonic Squid Doryteuthis opalescens
Water 2014, 6(8), 2233-2254; doi:10.3390/w6082233
Received: 19 February 2014 / Revised: 16 July 2014 / Accepted: 18 July 2014 / Published: 30 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3436 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spawning market squid lay embryo capsules on the seafloor of the continental shelf of the California Current System (CCS), where ocean acidification, deoxygenation and intensified upwelling lower the pH and [O2]. Squid statolith geochemistry has been shown to reflect the [...] Read more.
Spawning market squid lay embryo capsules on the seafloor of the continental shelf of the California Current System (CCS), where ocean acidification, deoxygenation and intensified upwelling lower the pH and [O2]. Squid statolith geochemistry has been shown to reflect the squid’s environment (e.g., seawater temperature and elemental concentration). We used real-world environmental levels of pH and [O2] observed on squid-embryo beds to test in the laboratory whether or not squid statolith geochemistry reflects environmental pH and [O2]. We asked whether pH and [O2] levels might affect the incorporation of element ratios (B:Ca, Mg:Ca, Sr:Ca, Ba:Ca, Pb:Ca, U:Ca) into squid embryonic statoliths as (1) individual elements and/or (2) multivariate elemental signatures, and consider future applications as proxies for pH and [O2] exposure. Embryo exposure to high and low pH and [O2] alone and together during development over four weeks only moderately affected elemental concentrations of the statoliths, and uranium was an important element driving these differences. Uranium:Ca was eight-times higher in statoliths exposed to low pHT (7.57–7.58) and low [O2] (79–82 µmol·kg−1) than those exposed to higher ambient pHT (7.92–7.94) and [O2] (241–243 µmol·kg−1). In a separate experiment, exposure to low pHT (7.55–7.56) or low [O2] (83–86 µmol·kg−1) yielded elevated U:Ca and Sr:Ca in the low [O2] treatment only. We found capsular effects on multiple elements in statoliths of all treatments. The multivariate elemental signatures of embryonic statoliths were distinct among capsules, but did not reflect environmental factors (pH and/or [O2]). We show that statoliths of squid embryos developing inside capsules have the potential to reflect environmental pH and [O2], but that these “signals” are generated in concert with the physiological effects of the capsules and embryos themselves. Full article
Open AccessArticle Species-Specific Variations in the Nutritional Quality of Southern Ocean Phytoplankton in Response to Elevated pCO2
Water 2014, 6(6), 1840-1859; doi:10.3390/w6061840
Received: 6 February 2014 / Revised: 12 May 2014 / Accepted: 4 June 2014 / Published: 17 June 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (518 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increased seawater pCO2 has the potential to alter phytoplankton biochemistry, which in turn may negatively affect the nutritional quality of phytoplankton as food for grazers. Our aim was to identify how Antarctic phytoplankton, Pyramimonas gelidicola, Phaeocystis antarctica, and [...] Read more.
Increased seawater pCO2 has the potential to alter phytoplankton biochemistry, which in turn may negatively affect the nutritional quality of phytoplankton as food for grazers. Our aim was to identify how Antarctic phytoplankton, Pyramimonas gelidicola, Phaeocystis antarctica, and Gymnodinium sp., respond to increased pCO2. Cultures were maintained in a continuous culture setup to ensure stable CO2 concentrations. Cells were subjected to a range of pCO2 from ambient to 993 µatm. We measured phytoplankton response in terms of cell size, cellular carbohydrate content, and elemental, pigment and fatty acid composition and content. We observed few changes in phytoplankton biochemistry with increasing CO2 concentration which were species-specific and predominantly included differences in the fatty acid composition. The C:N ratio was unaffected by CO2 concentration in the three species, while carbohydrate content decreased in Pyramimonas gelidicola, but increased in Phaeocystis antarctica. We found a significant reduction in the content of nutritionally important polyunsaturated fatty acids in Pyramimonas gelidicola cultures under high CO2 treatment, while cellular levels of the polyunsaturated fatty acid 20:5ω3, EPA, in Gymnodinium sp. increased. These changes in fatty acid profile could affect the nutritional quality of phytoplankton as food for grazers, however, further research is needed to identify the mechanisms for the observed species-specific changes and to improve our ability to extrapolate laboratory-based experiments on individual species to natural communities. Full article
Open AccessArticle Development of a Continuous Phytoplankton Culture System for Ocean Acidification Experiments
Water 2014, 6(6), 1860-1872; doi:10.3390/w6061860
Received: 6 February 2014 / Revised: 23 May 2014 / Accepted: 4 June 2014 / Published: 17 June 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (404 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Around one third of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions have been absorbed by the oceans, causing changes in seawater pH and carbonate chemistry. These changes have the potential to affect phytoplankton, which are critically important for marine food webs and the global [...] Read more.
Around one third of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions have been absorbed by the oceans, causing changes in seawater pH and carbonate chemistry. These changes have the potential to affect phytoplankton, which are critically important for marine food webs and the global carbon cycle. However, our current knowledge of how phytoplankton will respond to these changes is limited to a few laboratory and mesocosm experiments. Long-term experiments are needed to determine the vulnerability of phytoplankton to enhanced pCO2. Maintaining phytoplankton cultures in exponential growth for extended periods of time is logistically difficult and labour intensive. Here we describe a continuous culture system that greatly reduces the time required to maintain phytoplankton cultures, and minimises variation in experimental pCO2 treatments over time. This system is simple, relatively cheap, flexible, and allows long-term experiments to be performed to further our understanding of chronic responses and adaptation by phytoplankton species to future ocean acidification. Full article
Open AccessArticle Exposure of Mediterranean Countries to Ocean Acidification
Water 2014, 6(6), 1719-1744; doi:10.3390/w6061719
Received: 28 February 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 3 June 2014 / Published: 16 June 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (599 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines the potential effects of ocean acidification on countries and fisheries of the Mediterranean Sea. The implications for seafood security and supply are evaluated by examining the sensitivity of the Mediterranean to ocean acidification at chemical, biological, and macro-economic levels. [...] Read more.
This study examines the potential effects of ocean acidification on countries and fisheries of the Mediterranean Sea. The implications for seafood security and supply are evaluated by examining the sensitivity of the Mediterranean to ocean acidification at chemical, biological, and macro-economic levels. The limited information available on impacts of ocean acidification on harvested (industrial, recreational, and artisanal fishing) and cultured species (aquaculture) prevents any biological impact assessment. However, it appears that non-developed nations around the Mediterranean, particularly those for which fisheries are increasing, yet rely heavily on artisanal fleets, are most greatly exposed to socioeconomic consequences from ocean acidification. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Resistance of Two Mediterranean Cold-Water Coral Species to Low-pH Conditions
Water 2014, 6(1), 59-67; doi:10.3390/w6010059
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 20 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 31 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (258 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Deep-water ecosystems are characterized by relatively low carbonate concentration values and, due to ocean acidification (OA), these habitats might be among the first to be exposed to undersaturated conditions in the forthcoming years. However, until now, very few studies have been conducted [...] Read more.
Deep-water ecosystems are characterized by relatively low carbonate concentration values and, due to ocean acidification (OA), these habitats might be among the first to be exposed to undersaturated conditions in the forthcoming years. However, until now, very few studies have been conducted to test how cold-water coral (CWC) species react to such changes in the seawater chemistry. The present work aims to investigate the mid-term effect of decreased pH on calcification of the two branching CWC species most widely distributed in the Mediterranean, Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata. No significant effects were observed in the skeletal growth rate, microdensity and porosity of both species after 6 months of exposure. However, while the calcification rate of M. oculata was similar for all colony fragments, a heterogeneous skeletal growth pattern was observed in L. pertusa, the younger nubbins showing higher growth rates than the older ones. A higher energy demand is expected in these young, fast-growing fragments and, therefore, a reduction in calcification might be noticed earlier during long-term exposure to acidified conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Ocean Acidification and Warming on Sperm Activity and Early Life Stages of the Mediterranean Mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis)
Water 2013, 5(4), 1890-1915; doi:10.3390/w5041890
Received: 5 September 2013 / Revised: 7 November 2013 / Accepted: 13 November 2013 / Published: 19 November 2013
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1761 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Larval stages are among those most vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA). Projected atmospheric CO2 levels for the end of this century may lead to negative impacts on communities dominated by calcifying taxa with planktonic life stages. We exposed Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus [...] Read more.
Larval stages are among those most vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA). Projected atmospheric CO2 levels for the end of this century may lead to negative impacts on communities dominated by calcifying taxa with planktonic life stages. We exposed Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) sperm and early life stages to pHT levels of 8.0 (current pH) and 7.6 (2100 level) by manipulating pCO2 level (380 and 1000 ppm). Sperm activity was examined at ambient temperatures (16–17 °C) using individual males as replicates. We also assessed the effects of temperature (ambient and ≈20 °C) and pH on larval size, survival, respiration and calcification of late trochophore/early D-veliger stages using a cross-factorial design. Increased pCO2 had a negative effect on the percentage of motile sperm (mean response ratio R= 71%) and sperm swimming speed (R= 74%), possibly indicating reduced fertilization capacity of sperm in low concentrations. Increased temperature had a more prominent effect on larval stages than pCO2, reducing performance (RSize = 90% and RSurvival = 70%) and increasing energy demand (RRespiration = 429%). We observed no significant interactions between pCO2 and temperature. Our results suggest that increasing temperature might have a larger impact on very early larval stages of M. galloprovincialis than OA at levels predicted for the end of the century. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Buffer Capacity, Ecosystem Feedbacks, and Seawater Chemistry under Global Change
Water 2013, 5(3), 1303-1325; doi:10.3390/w5031303
Received: 19 June 2013 / Revised: 26 July 2013 / Accepted: 19 August 2013 / Published: 6 September 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (427 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ocean acidification (OA) results in reduced seawater pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωarag), but also reduced seawater buffer capacity. As buffer capacity decreases, diel variation in seawater chemistry increases. However, a variety of ecosystem feedbacks can modulate changes in both [...] Read more.
Ocean acidification (OA) results in reduced seawater pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωarag), but also reduced seawater buffer capacity. As buffer capacity decreases, diel variation in seawater chemistry increases. However, a variety of ecosystem feedbacks can modulate changes in both average seawater chemistry and diel seawater chemistry variation. Here we model these effects for a coastal, reef flat ecosystem. We show that an increase in offshore pCO2 and temperature (to 900 µatm and + 3 °C) can increase diel pH variation by as much as a factor of 2.5 and can increase diel pCO2 variation by a factor of 4.6, depending on ecosystem feedbacks and seawater residence time. Importantly, these effects are different between day and night. With increasing seawater residence time and increasing feedback intensity, daytime seawater chemistry becomes more similar to present-day conditions while nighttime seawater chemistry becomes less similar to present-day conditions. Recent studies suggest that carbonate chemistry variation itself, independent of the average chemistry conditions, can have important effects on marine organisms and ecosystem processes. Better constraining ecosystem feedbacks under global change will improve projections of coastal water chemistry, but this study shows the importance of considering changes in both average carbonate chemistry and diel chemistry variation for organisms and ecosystems. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Evolution of Marine Organisms under Climate Change at Different Levels of Biological Organisation
Water 2014, 6(11), 3545-3574; doi:10.3390/w6113545
Received: 4 March 2014 / Revised: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 12 November 2014 / Published: 21 November 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (430 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Research to date has suggested that both individual marine species and ecological processes are expected to exhibit diverse responses to the environmental effects of climate change. Evolutionary responses can occur on rapid (ecological) timescales, and yet studies typically do not consider the [...] Read more.
Research to date has suggested that both individual marine species and ecological processes are expected to exhibit diverse responses to the environmental effects of climate change. Evolutionary responses can occur on rapid (ecological) timescales, and yet studies typically do not consider the role that adaptive evolution will play in modulating biological responses to climate change. Investigations into such responses have typically been focused at particular biological levels (e.g., cellular, population, community), often lacking interactions among levels. Since all levels of biological organisation are sensitive to global climate change, there is a need to elucidate how different processes and hierarchical interactions will influence species fitness. Therefore, predicting the responses of communities and populations to global change will require multidisciplinary efforts across multiple levels of hierarchy, from the genetic and cellular to communities and ecosystems. Eventually, this may allow us to establish the role that acclimatisation and adaptation will play in determining marine community structures in future scenarios. Full article
Open AccessReview Managing Local Coastal Stressors to Reduce the Ecological Effects of Ocean Acidification and Warming
Water 2013, 5(4), 1653-1661; doi:10.3390/w5041653
Received: 5 August 2013 / Revised: 11 September 2013 / Accepted: 29 September 2013 / Published: 10 October 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (227 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Anthropogenic activities have increased the number of stressors acting on ecosystems. When multiple stressors act simultaneously, there is a greater probability of additive, synergistic and antagonistic effects occurring among them. Where additive and synergistic effects occur, managers may yield disproportionately large benefits [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic activities have increased the number of stressors acting on ecosystems. When multiple stressors act simultaneously, there is a greater probability of additive, synergistic and antagonistic effects occurring among them. Where additive and synergistic effects occur, managers may yield disproportionately large benefits where they first act upon synergies. Stressors act, however, at different spatial and temporal scales. Global stressors (e.g., ocean acidification and warming) tend to change slowly over long periods of time, although their intensity and effects are contingent on local conditions. On the other hand, local stressors tend to change rapidly over shorter, more defined spatial and temporal scales. Hence, local stressors can be subject to a greater degree of control through local management (e.g., eutrophication and overfishing) while global stressors are characterized by an intrinsic inertia whose effects last for decades, if not centuries. Although the reduction of carbon emissions is an international priority for managing global stressors, it requires international agreements and management applications that take considerable time to develop. Managers, however, may ‘buy time’ by acting on stressors whose governance is local (e.g., reducing nutrient input) and are known to synergize with global stressors (e.g., enriched CO2). Such local actions may potentially disrupt synergies with the more slowly changing global stressors that can only be reduced over longer time scales. Full article
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Open AccessReview The Impact of Ocean Acidification on Reproduction, Early Development and Settlement of Marine Organisms
Water 2011, 3(4), 1005-1030; doi:10.3390/w3041005
Received: 18 September 2011 / Revised: 9 October 2011 / Accepted: 21 October 2011 / Published: 7 November 2011
Cited by 40 | PDF Full-text (385 KB) | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Predicting the impact of warming and acidifying on oceans on the early development life history stages of invertebrates although difficult, is essential in order to anticipate the severity and consequences of future climate change. This review summarises the current literature and meta-analyses [...] Read more.
Predicting the impact of warming and acidifying on oceans on the early development life history stages of invertebrates although difficult, is essential in order to anticipate the severity and consequences of future climate change. This review summarises the current literature and meta-analyses on the early life-history stages of invertebrates including fertilisation, larval development and the implications for dispersal and settlement of populations. Although fertilisation appears robust to near future predictions of ocean acidification, larval development is much more vulnerable and across invertebrate groups, evidence indicates that the impacts may be severe. This is especially for those many marine organisms which start to calcify in their larval and/or juvenile stages. Species-specificity and variability in responses and current gaps in the literature are highlighted, including the need for studies to investigate the total effects of climate change including the synergistic impact of temperature, and the need for long-term multigenerational experiments to determine whether vulnerable invertebrate species have the capacity to adapt to elevations in atmospheric CO2 over the next century. Full article

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