Climate changes effects include ocean acidification and, possibly, the alteration of frequency and magnitude of climate events, such as El Niño. All environmental global changes are supposed to be a major threat to ecosystem, both terrestrial and marine. Despite the amazing bulk of literature on these last, few efforts have been devoted to polar regions, which are actually likely to be the most fragile environments on the Earth. In this work we want to elucidate the response, to environmental modifications, of three Antarctic benthic macroinvertebrates: the scallop Adamussium colbecki, the sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri and the sea star Odontaster validus, inhabiting the littoral area of Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea, Victoria Land). Using long term series, we investigated potential correlation between A. colbecki recruitment and environmental variables (sea ice cover duration and El Niño events), reporting that A. colbecki recruitment is not affected by these variables. We also performed a manipulative experiment in the Mario Zucchelli Station to understand the effects of three pH levels (8.16, 7.8 and 7.6) on the three species, investigating the response of hard tissues and of the reproductive system. Results show that S. neumayeri spines are affected by low pH only at nanoscale and only in hardness property, while the shell of A. colbecki is not altered at all. As far as reproductive system, we found a significant effect in the gonado-somatic index and on stage development of A. colbecki, in addition to some damages in the gonad tissue, although not statistically significant. S. neumayeri shows the same disrupt tissue all over ovary and testes, although differences from the control are not statistically significant. Conversely, O. validus does not show any effect of low pH exposure at all. Further investigations are necessary to understand the energy costs of maintenance of the polar organisms and its potential consequence on individual life history and, thus, populations dynamic.
|Titolo della tesi:||Response to climate change in Antarctic benthos - Environmental change in Antarctic marine ecosystem: study of long term observations and ocean acidification experiments to better understand the destiny of three key benthic species in the Terra Nova Bay littoral (Ross Sea): Adamussium colbecki, Sterechinus neumayeri and Odontaster validus.|
|Data di discussione:||30-mag-2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Tesi di dottorato|