Project

ECCO - Effects of climate change and ocean acidification on marine gastropods

Goal: ECCO is a project funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation. It aims to experimentally investigate the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on marine gastropods.

Date: 13 July 2018 - 12 July 2021

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Project log

Kleoniki Keklikoglou
added a research item
Digitisation of specimens (e.g. zoological, botanical) can provide access to advanced morphological and anatomical information and promote new research opportunities. The micro-CT technology may support the development of "virtual museums" or "virtual laboratories" where digital 3D imaging data are shared widely and freely. There is currently a lack of universal standards concerning the publication and curation of micro-CT datasets. The aim of the current project was to create a virtual gallery with micro-CT scans of individuals of the marine gastropod Hexaplex trunculus , which were maintained under a combination of increased temperature and low pH conditions, thus simulating future climate change scenarios. The 3D volume-rendering models created were used to visualise the structure properties of the gastropods shells. Finally, the 3D analysis performed on the micro-CT scans was used to investigate potential changes in the shell properties of the gastropods. The derived micro-CT 3D images were annotated with detailed metadata and can be interactively displayed and manipulated using online tools through the micro-CT virtual laboratory, which was developed under the LifeWatchGreece Research Infrastructure for the dissemination of virtual image galleries collection supporting the principles of FAIR data.
E. Chatzinikolaou
added a research item
The increased absorption of atmospheric CO2 by the ocean affects carbonate chemistry and calcification rates of marine organisms. The impacts of low pH and seawater warming were investigated for the intertidal gastropods Nassarius nitidus and Columbella rustica. The combined effect of reduced pH (7.6) and increased temperature (25 �C) was studied at intermediate time intervals for a total period of 3 months in order to investigate variability and fluctuations of the shell structure and density over time. The pH and temperature conditions used for the experiment were selected according to the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Deterioration of the external surface structure and reduction of shell density of the gastropods were confirmed using an innovative imaging and analysis method based on microcomputed tomography. The effect of low pH at ambient temperature was detrimental for N. nitidus with a 38.1% reduction of density in the shell lip and a 47.7% decrease in the apex, which is the oldest shell region. C. rustica was also affected, although to a much lesser degree (the maximum reduction observed was 8% at the apex). The negative effects of reduced pH were further reinforced for C. rustica when the temperature was increased, while N. nitidus was not affected significantly by the combination of the two factors. Increased temperature at ambient pH had an inhibitory effect on the shell density of N. nitidus causing a reduction of about 40%, whereas the shell density of the widest and lip regions of the C. rustica were increased under the same conditions. Different species are characterised by different vulnerability and tolerance responses regarding ocean acidification and warming, and this variability may affect ecological interactions and marine biodiversity.
Kleoniki Keklikoglou
added 2 research items
The increased absorption of atmospheric CO 2 by the ocean reduces pH and affects the carbonate chemistry of seawater, thus interfering with the shell formation processes of marine calcifiers. The present study aims to examine the effects of ocean acidification and warming on the shell morphological properties of two intertidal gastropod species, Nassarius nitidus and Columbella rustica. The experimental treatments lasted for 3 months and combined a temperature increase of 3 • C and a pH reduction of 0.3 units. The selected treatments reflected the high emissions (RCP 8.5) "business as usual" scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models for eastern Mediterranean. The morphological and architectural properties of the shell, such as density, thickness and porosity were examined using 3D micro-computed tomography, which is a technique giving the advantage of calculating values for the total shell (not only at specific points) and at the same time leaving the shells intact. Nassarius nitidus had a lower shell density and thickness and a higher porosity when the pH was reduced at ambient temperature, but the combination of reduced pH and increased temperature did not have a noticeable effect in comparison to the control. The shell of Columbella rustica was less dense, thinner and more porous under acidic and warm conditions, but when the temperature was increased under ambient pH the shells were thicker and denser than the control. Under low pH and ambient temperature, shells showed no differences compared to the control. The vulnerability of calcareous shells to ocean acidification and warming appears to be variable among species. Plasticity of shell building organisms as an acclimation action toward a continuously changing marine environment needs to be further investigated focusing on species or shell region specific adaptation mechanisms.
Panagiotis Grigoriou
added 2 research items
Increased atmospheric CO2 produced by anthropogenic activities will be absorbed by the oceans over the next century, causing ocean acidification and changes in seawater carbonate chemistry. Elevated CO2 causes sublethal physiological and behavioural responses of the locomotion and foraging behaviour of marine organisms. This study aims to investigate the independent and synergistic effects of long term exposure to low pH and increased temperature on the feeding behaviour of two gastropod species, Hexaplex trunculus and Nassarius nitidus, both in adults and juveniles. The gastropods were kept under controlled temperature (ambient = 20°C, increased = 23°C) and pH (ambient = 8, low = 7.6) conditions for 2.5 years. The percentage of animals that successfully reached their food, response time, total time required to reach their food (duration), and total distance covered, was measured. The speed and path index (i.e. how straightforward the movement is) were estimated as means of foraging efficiency. Increased temperature (under ambient pH) resulted in faster responses, a shorter duration until food was reached and a higher speed in H. trunculus adults. H. trunculus (both adults and juveniles) were less successful in reaching their food source under low pH and ambient temperature compared to all other treatments. The response time, duration, speed and path index were not affected by low pH (at ambient or increased temperature) for H. trunculus adults and juveniles, as well as for N. nitidus. The foraging performance of juveniles hatched and developed under low pH (either at ambient or increased temperature) was more effective than the performance of adults of the same species, thus indicating a degree of acclimation. Also, the scavenger N. nitidus was more successful and responded faster in reaching carrion than the predator H. trunculus, whereas no significant effects were observed for N. nitidus under low pH.
Increased atmospheric CO2 produced by anthropogenic activities will be absorbed by the oceans over the next century causing ocean acidification and changes in the seawater carbonate chemistry. Elevated CO2 causes sublethal physiological and behavioural responses on the locomotion and foraging behaviour of marine organisms. This study aims to investigate the independent and synergistic effects of long term exposure to low pH and increased temperature on the feeding behaviour of two gastropod species, Hexaplex trunculus and Nassarius nitidus, both in adults and juveniles. Gastropods were maintained under controlled conditions of temperature (ambient = 20°C, increased = 23°C) and pH (ambient = 8, low = 7.6) for 2.5 years. The percentage of animals which successfully reached their food, the response time until gastropods began moving, the total duration until they reached food and the total distance covered, were measured. Speed and path index (i.e how straightforward the movement is) were estimated as means of foraging efficiency. Increased temperature (under ambient pH) resulted in faster responses, a shorter duration until food was reached and a higher speed in H. trunculus adults. H. trunculus (both adults and juveniles) were less successful in reaching their food source under low pH and ambient temperature in comparison to all other treatments. The response time, duration, speed and path index were not affected by low pH (at ambient or increased temperature) for H. trunculus adults and juveniles, as well as for N. nitidus. The foraging performance of juveniles hatched and developed under low pH (either at ambient or increased temperature) was more effective than adults of the same species, thus indicating a degree of acclimation. Also, the scavenger N. nitidus was more successful and responded faster in reaching carrion than the predator H. trunculus, whereas no significant effects were observed for N. nitidus under low pH.
E. Chatzinikolaou
added a project goal
ECCO is a project funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation. It aims to experimentally investigate the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on marine gastropods.