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5 Research products, page 1 of 1

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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Friedrich, J.; Janssen, F.; Aleynik, D.; Bange, H. W.; Boltacheva, N.; Çagatay, M. N.; Dale, A. W.; Etiope, G.; Erdem, Z.; Geraga, M.; +29 more
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    In this paper we provide an overview of new knowledge on oxygen depletion (hypoxia) and related phenomena in aquatic systems resulting from the EU-FP7 project HYPOX ("In situ monitoring of oxygen depletion in hypoxic ecosystems of coastal and open seas, and landlocked water bodies", http://www.hypox.net). In view of the anticipated oxygen loss in aquatic systems due to eutrophication and climate change, HYPOX was set up to improve capacities to monitor hypoxia as well as to understand its causes and consequences. Temporal dynamics and spatial patterns of hypoxia were analyzed in field studies in various aquatic environments, including the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, Scottish and Scandinavian fjords, Ionian Sea lagoons and embayments, and Swiss lakes. Examples of episodic and rapid (hours) occurrences of hypoxia, as well as seasonal changes in bottom-water oxygenation in stratified systems, are discussed. Geologically driven hypoxia caused by gas seepage is demonstrated. Using novel technologies, temporal and spatial patterns of water-column oxygenation, from basin-scale seasonal patterns to meter-scale sub-micromolar oxygen distributions, were resolved. Existing multidecadal monitoring data were used to demonstrate the imprint of climate change and eutrophication on long-term oxygen distributions. Organic and inorganic proxies were used to extend investigations on past oxygen conditions to centennial and even longer timescales that cannot be resolved by monitoring. The effects of hypoxia on faunal communities and biogeochemical processes were also addressed in the project. An investigation of benthic fauna is presented as an example of hypoxia-devastated benthic communities that slowly recover upon a reduction in eutrophication in a system where naturally occurring hypoxia overlaps with anthropogenic hypoxia. Biogeochemical investigations reveal that oxygen intrusions have a strong effect on the microbially mediated redox cycling of elements. Observations and modeling studies of the sediments demonstrate the effect of seasonally changing oxygen conditions on benthic mineralization pathways and fluxes. Data quality and access are crucial in hypoxia research. Technical issues are therefore also addressed, including the availability of suitable sensor technology to resolve the gradual changes in bottom-water oxygen in marine systems that can be expected as a result of climate change. Using cabled observatories as examples, we show how the benefit of continuous oxygen monitoring can be maximized by adopting proper quality control. Finally, we discuss strategies for state-of-the-art data archiving and dissemination in compliance with global standards, and how ocean observations can contribute to global earth observation attempts.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Steinacher, M.; Joos, F.; Frölicher, T. L.; Bopp, L.; Cadule, P.; Cocco, V.; Doney, S. C.; Gehlen, M.; Lindsay, K.; Moore, J. K.; +2 more
    Project: EC | MEECE (212085), EC | EPOCA (211384)

    Changes in marine net primary productivity (PP) and export of particulate organic carbon (EP) are projected over the 21st century with four global coupled carbon cycle-climate models. These include representations of marine ecosystems and the carbon cycle of different structure and complexity. All four models show a decrease in global mean PP and EP between 2 and 20% by 2100 relative to preindustrial conditions, for the SRES A2 emission scenario. Two different regimes for productivity changes are consistently identified in all models. The first chain of mechanisms is dominant in the low- and mid-latitude ocean and in the North Atlantic: reduced input of macro-nutrients into the euphotic zone related to enhanced stratification, reduced mixed layer depth, and slowed circulation causes a decrease in macro-nutrient concentrations and in PP and EP. The second regime is projected for parts of the Southern Ocean: an alleviation of light and/or temperature limitation leads to an increase in PP and EP as productivity is fueled by a sustained nutrient input. A region of disagreement among the models is the Arctic, where three models project an increase in PP while one model projects a decrease. Projected changes in seasonal and interannual variability are modest in most regions. Regional model skill metrics are proposed to generate multi-model mean fields that show an improved skill in representing observation-based estimates compared to a simple multi-model average. Model results are compared to recent productivity projections with three different algorithms, usually applied to infer net primary production from satellite observations.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Artioli, Yuri; Blackford, Jerry C.; Nondal, Gisle; Bellerby, Richard; Wakelin, Sarah L.; Holt, Jason T.; Butenschön, Momme; Allen, Julian Icarus;
    Project: EC | EPOCA (211384), EC | MEECE (212085), UKRI | Regional Ecosystem & ... (NE/H017372/1)

    The increase in atmospheric CO2 is a dual threat to the marine environment: from one side it drives climate change, leading to modifications in water temperature, circulation patterns and stratification intensity; on the other side it causes a decrease in marine pH (ocean acidification, or OA) due to the increase in dissolved CO2. Assessing the combined impact of climate change and OA on marine ecosystems is a challenging task. The response of the ecosystem to a single driver can be highly variable and remains still uncertain; additionally the interaction between these can be either synergistic or antagonistic. In this work we use the coupled oceanographic–ecosystem model POLCOMS-ERSEM driven by climate forcing to study the interaction between climate change and OA. We focus in particular on carbonate chemistry, primary and secondary production. The model has been run in three different configurations in order to assess separately the impacts of climate change on net primary production and of OA on the carbonate chemistry, which have been strongly supported by scientific literature, from the impact of biological feedbacks of OA on the ecosystem, whose uncertainty still has to be well constrained. The global mean of the projected decrease of pH at the end of the century is about 0.27 pH units, but the model shows significant interaction among the drivers and high variability in the temporal and spatial response. As a result of this high variability, critical tipping point can be locally and/or temporally reached: e.g. undersaturation with respect to aragonite is projected to occur in the deeper part of the central North Sea during summer. Impacts of climate change and of OA on primary and secondary production may have similar magnitude, compensating in some area and exacerbating in others.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Naeher, S.; Geraga, M.; Papatheodorou, G.; Ferentinos, G.; Kaberi, H.; Schubert, C. J.;
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    The evolution of environmental changes during the last decades and the impact on the living biomass in the western part of Amvrakikos Gulf was investigated using abundances and species distributions of benthic foraminifera and lipid biomarker concentrations. These proxies indicated that the gulf has markedly changed due to eutrophication. Eutrophication has led to a higher productivity, a higher bacterial biomass, shifts towards opportunistic and tolerant benthic foraminifera species (e.g. Bulimina elongata, Nonionella turgida, Textularia agglutinans, Ammonia tepida) and a lower benthic species density. Close to the Preveza Strait (connection between the gulf and the Ionian Sea), the benthic assemblages were more diversified under more oxygenated conditions. Sea grass meadows largely contributed to the organic matter at this sampling site. The occurrence of isorenieratane, chlorobactane and lycopane supported by oxygen monitoring data indicated that anoxic (and partly euxinic) conditions prevailed seasonally throughout the western part of the gulf with more severe oxygen depletion towards the east. Increased surface water temperatures have led to a higher stratification, which reduced oxygen resupply to bottom waters. Altogether, these developments led to mass mortality events and ecosystem decline in Amvrakikos Gulf.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Bettencourt, R.; Rodrigues, M. I.; Barros, I.; Cerqueira, T.; Freitas, C.; Costa, V.; Pinheiro, M.; Egas, C.; Santos, R. S.;
    Project: FCT | PEst-OE/EEI/LA0009/2011 (PEst-OE/EEI/LA0009/2011), EC | HERMIONE (226354), FCT | PTDC/MAR/65991/2006 (PTDC/MAR/65991/2006)

    The deep-sea hydrothermal vent mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus is a symbiont bearing bivalve that is found in great abundance at the Menez Gwen and Lucky Strike vent sites and in close vicinity off the Azores region near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). The distinct relationships that vent mussels have developed with their physical and chemical environments are likely reflected in global gene expression profiles providing thus a means to distinguish geographically distinct vent mussels on the basis of gene expression studies, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) experiments and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, to assess the natural expression of bacterial genes and vent mussel immune genes and the constitutive distribution and relative abundance of endosymbiotic bacteria within gill tissues. Our results confirmed the presence of methanotroph-related endosymbionts in Menez Gwen vent mussels whereas Lucky Strike specimens seem to harbor a different bacterial morphotype when a methane monooxygenase gene specific probe was used. No qualitative differences could be visualized between Menez Gwen and Lucky Strike individuals when tested with sulfur-oxidizing-related nucleic-acid probe. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) studies revealed varied gene expression profiles in both Menez Gwen and Lucky Strike mussel gill tissues for the immune genes selected. Genes encoding transcription factors presented noticeably low levels of fold expression whether in MG or LS animals whereas the genes encoding effector molecules appeared to have higher levels expression in MG gill tissues. The peptidoglycan recognition molecule, encoding gene, PGRP presented the highest level of transcriptional activity among the genes analyzed in MG gill tissues, seconded by carcinolectin and thus denoting the relevance of immune recognition molecules in early stage of the immune responses onset. Genes regarded as encoding molecules involved in signaling pathways were consistently expressed in both MG and LS gill tissues. Remarkably, the immunity-related GTPase encoding gene demonstrated in LS samples, the highest level of expression among the signaling molecule encoding genes tested when expressions levels were compared between MG and LG animals. A differential expression analysis of bacterial genes between MG and LS indicated a clear expression signature in LS gill tissues. The bacterial community structure ensued from the 16S rRNA sequencing analyses pointed at a unpredicted conservation of endosymbiont bacterial loads between MG and LS samples. Taken together, our results support the premise that Bathymodiolus azoricus exhibits different transcriptional statuses depending on which hydrothermal vent site it is collected from and within the same collection site while exhibiting differential levels of expression of genes corresponding to different immune functional categories. The present study represents a first attempt to characterize gene expression signatures in hydrothermal vent animals issued from distinct deep-sea environmental sites based on immune and bacterial genes expressions.