Ocean dead zones – regions with levels of oxygen too low to sustain marine life - have grown to become a common feature of coastal regions around the world. A new study published in the January 8 issue of PLOS One by Christopher Gobler, Professor in the School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University and colleagues, has found that low pH levels within these regions represent an additional, previously unappreciated, threat to ocean animals.
One of the organisms used in the study, bay scallops.
For decades, marine biologists have investigated the effects of low oxygen on marine life without considering pH levels. In reality, low oxygen waters are also acidified waters, but studies investigating how these two conditions affect marine life together have been lacking.
In a series of experiments on young bay scallops and hard clams, marine organisms of significant economic and ecological value, the investigators found that the combined effects of low oxygen and low pH led to higher rates of death and slower growth than by either individual factor. Further, in some cases there was negative synergy between these environmental factors, which means that the performance of the animals was worse than predicted by either individual factor.
The paper, Hypoxia and acidification have additive and synergistic negative effects on the growth, survival, and metamorphosis of early life stage bivalves, written by Gobler, SoMAS Prof. Hannes Baumann, and Stony Brook graduate students, Elizabeth Depasquale and Andrew Griffith, has important implications for climate change as well.
“Low oxygen zones in coastal and open ocean ecosystems have expanded in recent decades, a trend that will accelerate with climatic warming,” said Gobler. “There is growing recognition that low oxygen regions of the ocean are also acidified, a condition that will intensify with rising levels of atmospheric CO2 due to the burning of fossil fuels causing ocean acidification. Hence, the low oxygen, low pH conditions used in this study will be increasingly common in the World’s Oceans in the future.”
Dr. Mark Green, a professor at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and an expert on the effects of ocean acidification on shellfish praised the study.
“The relationship between pH and oxygen is well documented in near shore locales yet, as the authors state, the combined impact of the two has remained unexplored,” said Green. “This is a great paper; it will have an impact, particularly on those scientists that have worked to understand the effect of chronic low oxygen on the physiology of marine organisms.”
Dr. Baumann believes this study may alter how future research into Dead Zones may be conducted.
“We suggest that recently discovered low pH sensitivities in many finfish and shellfish larvae, and the compounded effects of low pH and low oxygen in shellfish relative to each individual parameter should prompt a re-alignment of future studies,” said Baumann. “A comprehensive evaluation of the combined effects of low oxygen and acidification on marine life will be critical for understanding how ocean ecosystems respond to these conditions both today and under future climate change scenarios.”About the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University
Citation: Gobler CJ, Depasquale EL, Griffith AW, Baumann H. 2013. Hypoxia and acidification have additive and synergistic negative effects on the growth, survival, and metamorphosis of early life stage bivalves. PLoS ONE 9(1): e83648. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083648
Christopher Gobler | Newswise
Lights on fishing nets save turtles and dolphins
06.12.2019 | University of Exeter
For some corals, meals can come with a side of microplastics
04.12.2019 | University of Washington
University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making
In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...
With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction
The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...
Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.
Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds
Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.
In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
06.12.2019 | Earth Sciences
06.12.2019 | Life Sciences
06.12.2019 | Information Technology