Browsing by Subject "Salinity"

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  • Repetti, Sonja I. (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    My master’s thesis aims to determine the effect of salinity on phytoplankton traits related to nutrient acquisition, and particularly how this interacts with resource availability. Salinity is an important driver structuring phytoplankton communities in the Baltic Sea. Salinity can also influence nutrient uptake by increasing metabolic rates required for osmotic adjustment. Thus, interaction between salinity and nutrient availability is expected to change community structure by altering phytoplankton traits determining resource competition. This is a particularly relevant area of study for the Baltic Sea due to predicted future freshening of the sea’s upper layer. We performed a microcosm experiment using artificial communities of 10 diverse phytoplankton species grown under different combinations of salinity (0, 5, 12 and 24), Nitrogen to Phosphorus molar ratio (N:P ratio = 2, 10, 16 and 80) and light (10 and 130 µmol photon m-2 s-1) conditions. A three-way interaction among these environmental parameters influenced phytoplankton traits associated with resource competition, as well as the presence and proportions of phytoplankton taxa. Light limitation inhibited community growth under all salinity conditions, but allowed diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum to dominate. Community growth rate was higher under high light, but also more variable between salinity conditions. The strongest negative effects of nutrient limitation (N, P, and both nutrients together), both on growth rate and taxonomic diversity, were observed in the highest salinity treatment. In the freshwater treatment with the highest proportion of green algae Monoraphidium sp., N-limitation did not inhibit phytoplankton community growth and P-limitation had a more profound negative effect on community performance. Decreasing salinity appeared to decrease community C:N and C:P ratios. This shift is in opposition to the increasing C:N and C:P predicted as a consequence of other climate change-related drivers. Our results emphasise the importance of a trade-off between salinity and resource limitation in functioning of phytoplankton communities and suggest that future freshening of the Baltic Sea is likely to modify phytoplankton community composition and performance.
  • Lucena-Moya, Paloma; Duggan, Ian C. (2017)
    We tested whether variability in zooplankton assemblages was consistent with the categories of estuarine environments proposed by the 'Estuary Environment Classification' system (EEC) (Hume et al., 2007) across a variety of North Island, New Zealand, estuaries. The EEC classifies estuaries in to eight categories (A to F) based primarily on a combination of three abiotic controlling factors: ocean forcing, river forcing and basin morphometry. Additionally, we tested whether Remane's curve, which predicts higher diversities of benthic macrofauna and high and low salinities, can be applied to zooplankton assemblages. We focused on three of the eight EEC categories (B, D and F), which covered the range of estuaries with river inputs dominating (B) to ocean influence dominating (F). Additionally, we included samples from river (FW) and sea (MW) to encompass the entire salinity range. Zooplankton assemblages varied across the categories examined in accordance with a salinity gradient predicted by the EEC. Three groups of zooplankton were distinguishable: the first formed by the most freshwater categories, FW and B, and dominated by rotifers (primarily Bdelloidea) and estuarine copepods (Gladioferans pectinatus), a second group formed by categories D and F, of intermediate salinity, dominated by copepods (Euterpina acutifrons), and a final group including the purely marine category MW and dominated also by E. acutifrons along with other marine taxa. Zooplankton diversity responded to the salinity gradient in a manner expected from Remane's curve. The results of this study support others which have shown salinity to be the main factor driving zooplankton community composition and diversity. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Virta, Leena; Soininen, Janne (BioMed Central, 2017)
    Abstract The species richness and community composition of the diatom communities were studied in the Baltic Sea, Northern Europe, to enhance knowledge about the diversity of these organisms in a brackish water ecosystem. Many organisms in the Baltic Sea have been studied extensively, but studies investigating littoral diatoms are scarce. The goal of this study was to examine the importance of climatic, spatial and water physicochemical variables as drivers of epilithic diatoms in the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia. The variation in species richness was best explained by pH, total phosphorus and total nitrogen. Redundancy Analysis indicated that the most important factors correlating with species composition were air temperature, silicon, total phosphorus, water temperature, salinity and pH. Variation Partitioning showed that the species composition was mostly affected by climatic and spatial variables, whereas physicochemical variables had little impact. However, the strongest factor was the combined influence of climatic, spatial and physicochemical variables. The results suggest that diatom species richness in the northern Baltic Sea is primarily regulated by local factors, while climatic and spatial variables have little impact on richness. Species composition is mostly affected by climatic and spatial variables. We conclude that understanding the distribution patterns of Baltic Sea diatoms requires the inclusion of climatic, spatial and water chemistry variables.
  • Virta, Leena; Soininen, Janne (2017)
    The species richness and community composition of the diatom communities were studied in the Baltic Sea, Northern Europe, to enhance knowledge about the diversity of these organisms in a brackish water ecosystem. Many organisms in the Baltic Sea have been studied extensively, but studies investigating littoral diatoms are scarce. The goal of this study was to examine the importance of climatic, spatial and water physicochemical variables as drivers of epilithic diatoms in the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia. The variation in species richness was best explained by pH, total phosphorus and total nitrogen. Redundancy Analysis indicated that the most important factors correlating with species composition were air temperature, silicon, total phosphorus, water temperature, salinity and pH. Variation Partitioning showed that the species composition was mostly affected by climatic and spatial variables, whereas physicochemical variables had little impact. However, the strongest factor was the combined influence of climatic, spatial and physicochemical variables. The results suggest that diatom species richness in the northern Baltic Sea is primarily regulated by local factors, while climatic and spatial variables have little impact on richness. Species composition is mostly affected by climatic and spatial variables. We conclude that understanding the distribution patterns of Baltic Sea diatoms requires the inclusion of climatic, spatial and water chemistry variables.
  • Virta, Leena; Soininen, Janne (BioMed Central, 2017)
    Abstract The species richness and community composition of the diatom communities were studied in the Baltic Sea, Northern Europe, to enhance knowledge about the diversity of these organisms in a brackish water ecosystem. Many organisms in the Baltic Sea have been studied extensively, but studies investigating littoral diatoms are scarce. The goal of this study was to examine the importance of climatic, spatial and water physicochemical variables as drivers of epilithic diatoms in the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia. The variation in species richness was best explained by pH, total phosphorus and total nitrogen. Redundancy Analysis indicated that the most important factors correlating with species composition were air temperature, silicon, total phosphorus, water temperature, salinity and pH. Variation Partitioning showed that the species composition was mostly affected by climatic and spatial variables, whereas physicochemical variables had little impact. However, the strongest factor was the combined influence of climatic, spatial and physicochemical variables. The results suggest that diatom species richness in the northern Baltic Sea is primarily regulated by local factors, while climatic and spatial variables have little impact on richness. Species composition is mostly affected by climatic and spatial variables. We conclude that understanding the distribution patterns of Baltic Sea diatoms requires the inclusion of climatic, spatial and water chemistry variables.
  • Lehtonen, Topi K.; Wong, Bob B. M.; Kvarnemo, Charlotta (2016)
    Background: Parental allocation and reproductive success are often strongly influenced by environmental factors. In this respect, salinity is a key factor influencing species distributions and community structure in aquatic animals. Nevertheless, the effects of salinity on reproductive behaviours are not well known. Here, we used the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus), a small fish inhabiting a range of different salinities, to experimentally assess the effects of changes in salinity on nesting behaviour, a key component of reproduction in sand gobies and many other taxa. Results: We found that salinity levels influenced some aspects of male nesting behaviour (i.e. nest entrance size) but not others (i.e. latency to build a nest, choice of nest site, sand on top of nest) and that small and large individuals were differently affected. In particular, the importance of body size in adjustment of nest entrance depended on the salinity level. Conclusion: The results support the prediction that geographically widespread aquatic species, such as sand gobies, are able to perform well under a range of salinity levels. The phenotype by environment interaction found between male size and behavioural responses to salinity can, in turn, help to explain the notable variation observed in nest-building (and other) behaviours closely linked to reproduction.
  • Orizar, Iris Delos Santos; Lewandowska, Aleksandra M. (2022)
    The phytoplankton community is a highly diverse group of microscopic, photosynthetic organisms responsible for 50% of the global primary production. The predicted shift in ocean salinity due to climate change threatens phytoplankton, resulting in compositional shifts and changing biodiversity patterns. This study investigates intraspecific multi-trait variability and plasticity of Alexandrium ostenfeldii and Skeletonema marinoi along a salinity gradient. Multiple traits were measured for five strains of each species grown at six salinity levels (0, 5, 15, 20, 30, and 35 psu) and combined in the principal component analysis. Cell size contributed 52% to the total variation in traits composition and significantly differed between species. The trait plasticity of A. ostenfeldii was significantly higher than S. marinoi, and the highest trait plasticity was observed at 15 psu in both species. In addition to morphological traits, A. ostenfeldii was characterized by high plasticity of cellular carbon content and a higher C:P ratio at low salinity levels. Overall, the results suggest a high variation in traits plasticity between phytoplankton strains, emphasizing the importance of intraspecific diversity to maintain ecosystem functions under changing environmental conditions.
  • Whittle, Alex; Amesbury, Matthew J.; Charman, Dan J.; Hodgson, Dominic A.; Perren, Bianca B.; Roberts, Stephen J.; Gallego-Sala, Angela V. (2019)
    Unicellular free-living microbial eukaryotes of the order Arcellinida (Tubulinea; Amoebozoa) and Euglyphida (Cercozoa; SAR), commonly termed testate amoebae, colonise almost every freshwater ecosystem on Earth. Patterns in the distribution and productivity of these organisms are strongly linked to abiotic conditions—particularly moisture availability and temperature—however, the ecological impacts of changes in salinity remain poorly documented. Here, we examine how variable salt concentrations affect a natural community of Arcellinida and Euglyphida on a freshwater sub-Antarctic peatland. We principally report that deposition of wind-blown oceanic salt-spray aerosols onto the peatland surface corresponds to a strong reduction in biomass and to an alteration in the taxonomic composition of communities in favour of generalist taxa. Our results suggest novel applications of this response as a sensitive tool to monitor salinisation of coastal soils and to detect salinity changes within peatland palaeoclimate archives. Specifically, we suggest that these relationships could be used to reconstruct millennial scale variability in salt-spray deposition—a proxy for changes in wind-conditions—from sub-fossil communities of Arcellinida and Euglyphida preserved in exposed coastal peatlands.