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  • Public Library of Science  (264,833)
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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Coral reefs in the central Red Sea are sparsely studied and in situ data on physico-chemical and key biotic variables that provide an important comparative baseline are missing. To address this gap, we simultaneously monitored three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient for an entire year over four seasons, collecting data on currents, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), chlorophyll-a, turbidity, inorganic nutrients, sedimentation, bacterial communities of reef water, and bacterial and algal composition of epilithic biofilms. Summer temperature (29–33°C) and salinity (39 PSU) exceeded average global maxima for coral reefs, whereas DO concentration was low (2–4 mg L-1). While temperature and salinity differences were most pronounced between seasons, DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and sedimentation varied most between reefs. Similarly, biotic communities were highly dynamic between reefs and seasons. Differences in bacterial biofilms were driven by four abundant families: Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae, Flammeovirgaceae, and Pseudanabaenaceae. In algal biofilms, green crusts, brown crusts, and crustose coralline algae were most abundant and accounted for most of the variability of the communities. Higher bacterial diversity of biofilms coincided with increased algal cover during spring and summer. By employing multivariate matching, we identified temperature, salinity, DO, and chlorophyll-a as the main contributing physico-chemical drivers of biotic community structures. These parameters are forecast to change most with the progression of ocean warming and increased nutrient input, which suggests an effect on the recruitment of Red Sea benthic communities as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, our study provides insight into coral reef functioning in the Red Sea and a comparative baseline to support coral reef studies in the region.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2016-10-12
    Description: Growth, protein amount, and activity levels of metabolic pathways in Trichodesmium are influenced by environmental changes such as elevated pCO2 and temperature. This study examines changes in the expression of essential metabolic genes in Trichodesmium grown under a matrix of pCO2 (400 and 900 µatm) and temperature (25 and 31°C). Using RT-qPCR, we studied 21 genes related to four metabolic functional groups: CO2 concentrating mechanism (bicA1, bicA2, ccmM, ccmK2, ccmK3, ndhF4, ndhD4, ndhL, chpX), energy metabolism (atpB, sod, prx, glcD), nitrogen metabolism (glnA, hetR, nifH), and inorganic carbon fixation and photosynthesis (rbcL, rca, psaB, psaC, psbA). nifH and most photosynthetic genes exhibited relatively high abundance and their expression was influenced by both environmental parameters. A two to three orders of magnitude increase was observed for glnA and hetR only when both pCO2 and temperature were elevated. CO2 concentrating mechanism genes were not affected by pCO2 and temperature and their expression levels were markedly lower than that of the nitrogen metabolism and photosynthetic genes. Many of the CO2 concentrating mechanism genes were co-expressed throughout the day. Our results demonstrate that in Trichodesmium, CO2 concentrating mechanism genes are constitutively expressed. Co-expression of genes from different functional groups were frequently observed during the first half of the photoperiod when oxygenic photosynthesis and N2 fixation take place, pointing at the tight and complex regulation of gene expression in Trichodesmium. Here we provide new data linking environmental changes of pCO2 and temperature to gene expression in Trichodesmium. Although gene expression indicates an active metabolic pathway, there is often an uncoupling between transcription and enzyme activity, such that transcript level cannot usually be directly extrapolated to metabolic activity.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-01-22
    Description: Progressive ocean acidification due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions will alter marine ecosytem processes. Calcifying organisms might be particularly vulnerable to these alterations in the speciation of the marine carbonate system. While previous research efforts have mainly focused on external dissolution of shells in seawater under saturated with respect to calcium carbonate, the internal shell interface might be more vulnerable to acidification. In the case of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis, high body fluid pCO2 causes low pH and low carbonate concentrations in the extrapallial fluid, which is in direct contact with the inner shell surface. In order to test whether elevated seawater pCO2 impacts calcification and inner shell surface integrity we exposed Baltic M. edulis to four different seawater pCO2 (39, 142, 240, 405 Pa) and two food algae (310–350 cells mL−1 vs. 1600–2000 cells mL−1) concentrations for a period of seven weeks during winter (5°C). We found that low food algae concentrations and high pCO2 values each significantly decreased shell length growth. Internal shell surface corrosion of nacreous ( = aragonite) layers was documented via stereomicroscopy and SEM at the two highest pCO2 treatments in the high food group, while it was found in all treatments in the low food group. Both factors, food and pCO2, significantly influenced the magnitude of inner shell surface dissolution. Our findings illustrate for the first time that integrity of inner shell surfaces is tightly coupled to the animals' energy budget under conditions of CO2 stress. It is likely that under food limited conditions, energy is allocated to more vital processes (e.g. somatic mass maintenance) instead of shell conservation. It is evident from our results that mussels exert significant biological control over the structural integrity of their inner shell surfaces.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-01-22
    Description: In comparison with terrestrial plants the mechanistic knowledge of chemical defences is poor for marine macroalgae. This restricts our understanding in the chemically mediated interactions that take place between algae and other organisms. Technical advances such as metabolomics, however, enable new approaches towards the characterisation of the chemically mediated interactions of organisms with their environment. We address defence responses in the red alga Gracilaria vermiculophylla using mass spectrometry based metabolomics in combination with bioassays. Being invasive in the north Atlantic this alga is likely to possess chemical defences according to the prediction that well-defended exotics are most likely to become successful invaders in systems dominated by generalist grazers, such as marine macroalgal communities. We investigated the effect of intense herbivore feeding and simulated herbivory by mechanical wounding of the algae. Both processes led to similar changes in the metabolic profile. Feeding experiments with the generalist isopod grazer Idotea baltica showed that mechanical wounding caused a significant increase in grazer resistance. Structure elucidation of the metabolites of which some were up-regulated more than 100 times in the wounded tissue, revealed known and novel eicosanoids as major components. Among these were prostaglandins, hydroxylated fatty acids and arachidonic acid derived conjugated lactones. Bioassays with pure metabolites showed that these eicosanoids are part of the innate defence system of macroalgae, similarly to animal systems. In accordance with an induced defence mechanism application of extracts from wounded tissue caused a significant increase in grazer resistance and the up-regulation of other pathways than in the activated defence. Thus, this study suggests that G. vermiculophylla chemically deters herbivory by two lines of defence, a rapid wound-activated process followed by a slower inducible defence. By unravelling involved pathways using metabolomics this work contributes significantly to the understanding of activated and inducible defences for marine macroalgae.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-01-22
    Description: Extreme climate events such as heat waves are expected to increase in frequency under global change. As one indirect effect, they can alter magnitude and direction of species interactions, for example those between hosts and parasites. We simulated a summer heat wave to investigate how a changing environment affects the interaction between the broad-nosed pipefish (Syngnathus typhle) as a host and its digenean trematode parasite (Cryptocotyle lingua). In a fully reciprocal laboratory infection experiment, pipefish from three different coastal locations were exposed to sympatric and allopatric trematode cercariae. In order to examine whether an extreme climatic event disrupts patterns of locally adapted host-parasite combinations we measured the parasite's transmission success as well as the host's adaptive and innate immune defence under control and heat wave conditions. Independent of temperature, sympatric cercariae were always more successful than allopatric ones, indicating that parasites are locally adapted to their hosts. Hosts suffered from heat stress as suggested by fewer cells of the adaptive immune system (lymphocytes) compared to the same groups that were kept at 18°C. However, the proportion of the innate immune cells (monocytes) was higher in the 18°C water. Contrary to our expectations, no interaction between host immune defence, parasite infectivity and temperature stress were found, nor did the pattern of local adaptation change due to increased water temperature. Thus, in this host-parasite interaction, the sympatric parasite keeps ahead of the coevolutionary dynamics across sites, even under increasing temperatures as expected under marine global warming.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-10-24
    Description: The Andaman Sea and other macrotidal semi-enclosed tropical seas feature large amplitude internal waves (LAIW). Although LAIW induce strong fluctuations i.e. of temperature, pH, and nutrients, their influence on reef development is so far unknown. A better-known source of disturbance is the monsoon affecting corals due to turbulent mixing and sedimentation. Because in the Andaman Sea both, LAIW and monsoon, act from the same westerly direction their relative contribution to reef development is difficult to discern. Here, we explore the framework development in a number of offshore island locations subjected to differential LAIW- and SW-monsoon impact to address this open question. Cumulative negative temperature anomalies – a proxy for LAIW impact – explained a higher percentage of the variability in coral reef framework height, than sedimentation rates which resulted mainly from the monsoon. Temperature anomalies and sediment grain size provided the best correlation with framework height suggesting that so far neglected subsurface processes (LAIW) play a significant role in shaping coral reefs.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2013-05-21
    Description: The dissolution of CaCO3 is one of the ways ocean acidification can, potentially, greatly affect the ballast of aggregates. A diminution of the ballast could reduce the settling speed of aggregates, resulting in a change in the carbon flux to the deep sea. This would mean lower amounts of more refractory organic matter reaching the ocean floor. This work aimed to determine the effect of ocean acidification on the ballast of sinking surface aggregates. Our hypothesis was that the decrease of pH will increase the dissolution of particulate inorganic carbon ballasting the aggregates, consequently reducing their settling velocity and increasing their residence time in the upper twilight zone. Using a new methodology for simulation of aggregate settling, our results suggest that future pCO2 conditions can significantly change the ballast composition of sinking aggregates. The change in aggregate composition had an effect on the size distribution of the aggregates, with a shift to smaller aggregates. A change also occurred in the settling velocity of the particles, which would lead to a higher residence time in the water column, where they could be continuously degraded. In the environment, such an effect would result in a reduction of the carbon flux to the deep-sea. This reduction would impact those benthic communities, which rely on the vertical flow of carbon as primary source of energy.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Climate forcing in complex ecosystems can have profound implications for ecosystem sustainability and may thus challenge a precautionary ecosystem management. Climatic influences documented to affect various ecological functions on a global scale, may themselves be observed on quantitative or qualitative scales including regime shifts in complex marine ecosystems. This study investigates the potential climatic impact on the reproduction success of spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus) in the Western Baltic Sea (WBSS herring). To test for climate effects on reproduction success, the regionally determined and scientifically well-documented spawning grounds of WBSS herring represent an ideal model system. Climate effects on herring reproduction were investigated using two global indices of atmospheric variability and sea surface temperature, represented by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), respectively, and the Baltic Sea Index (BSI) which is a regional-scale atmospheric index for the Baltic Sea. Moreover, we combined a traditional approach with modern time series analysis based on a recruitment model connecting parental population components with reproduction success. Generalized transfer functions (ARIMAX models) allowed evaluating the dynamic nature of exogenous climate processes interacting with the endogenous recruitment process. Using different model selection criteria our results reveal that in contrast to NAO and AMO, the BSI shows a significant positive but delayed signal on the annual dynamics of herring recruitment. The westward influence of the Siberian high is considered strongly suppressing the influence of the NAO in this area leading to a higher explanatory power of the BSI reflecting the atmospheric pressure regime on a North-South transect between Oslo, Norway and Szczecin, Poland. We suggest incorporating climate-induced effects into stock and risk assessments and management strategies as part of the EU ecosystem approach to support sustainable herring fisheries in the Western Baltic Sea.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2014-06-11
    Description: As the atmospheric CO2 concentration rises, more CO2 will dissolve in the oceans, leading to a reduction in pH. Effects of ocean acidification on bacterial communities have mainly been studied in biologically complex systems, in which indirect effects, mediated through food web interactions, come into play. These approaches come close to nature but suffer from low replication and neglect seasonality. To comprehensively investigate direct pH effects, we conducted highly-replicated laboratory acidification experiments with the natural bacterial community from Helgoland Roads (North Sea). Seasonal variability was accounted for by repeating the experiment four times (spring, summer, autumn, winter). Three dilution approaches were used to select for different ecological strategies, i.e. fast-growing or low-nutrient adapted bacteria. The pH levels investigated were in situ seawater pH (8.15–8.22), pH 7.82 and pH 7.67, representing the present-day situation and two acidification scenarios projected for the North Sea for the year 2100. In all seasons, both automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis and 16S ribosomal amplicon pyrosequencing revealed pH-dependent community shifts for two of the dilution approaches. Bacteria susceptible to changes in pH were different members of Gammaproteobacteria, Flavobacteriaceae, Rhodobacteraceae, Campylobacteraceae and further less abundant groups. Their specific response to reduced pH was often context-dependent. Bacterial abundance was not influenced by pH. Our findings suggest that already moderate changes in pH have the potential to cause compositional shifts, depending on the community assembly and environmental factors. By identifying pH-susceptible groups, this study provides insights for more directed, in-depth community analyses in large-scale and long-term experiments.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2014-08-04
    Description: Knowledge on spatial scales of the distribution of deep-sea life is still sparse, but highly relevant to the understanding of dispersal, habitat ranges and ecological processes. We examined regional spatial distribution patterns of the benthic bacterial community and covarying environmental parameters such as water depth, biomass and energy availability at the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site HAUSGARTEN (Eastern Fram Strait). Samples from 13 stations were retrieved from a bathymetric (1,284-3,535 m water depth, 54 km in length) and a latitudinal transect (∼ 2,500 m water depth; 123 km in length). 454 massively parallel tag sequencing (MPTS) and automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) were combined to describe both abundant and rare types shaping the bacterial community. This spatial sampling scheme allowed detection of up to 99% of the estimated richness on phylum and class levels. At the resolution of operational taxonomic units (97% sequence identity; OTU3%) only 36% of the Chao1 estimated richness was recovered, indicating a high diversity, mostly due to rare types (62% of all OTU3%). Accordingly, a high turnover of the bacterial community was also observed between any two sampling stations (average replacement of 79% of OTU3%), yet no direct correlation with spatial distance was observed within the region. Bacterial community composition and structure differed significantly with increasing water depth along the bathymetric transect. The relative sequence abundance of Verrucomicrobia and Planctomycetes decreased significantly with water depth, and that of Deferribacteres increased. Energy availability, estimated from phytodetrital pigment concentrations in the sediments, partly explained the variation in community structure. Overall, this study indicates a high proportion of unique bacterial types on relatively small spatial scales (tens of kilometers), and supports the sampling design of the LTER site HAUSGARTEN to study bacterial community shifts in this rapidly changing area of the world's oceans.
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