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Effect of Ocean acidification upon ability to genetically adapt in Nereis species - Essay Example

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The aims of this project are to examine whether Nereid worms under low pH conditions show differences in the expression of genes and physiological metabolites (or proteins), and secondly how this environmental pressure might affect the animals ability to maintain functional…
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Effect of Ocean acidification upon ability to genetically adapt in Nereis species
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Download file to see previous pages As such the project will examine how environmental stress manifest itself upon regulation of reproduction, and ultimately, reproductive success.
To study the adaptive capacity and resilience in worms, the project will evaluate variations, which are observed in worms that are moved between various pH conditions. This evaluation can also serve as a measure for biomarkers that indicate effects of such pH stress. Studies of specimens that stem from volcanic vents, where release of carbon dioxide occurs, provide an opportunity to learn about the natural ecosystems (Fabry, et al., 2008) that have a low pH. It also provides a potential model to study the likelihood of species acclimatising and living in low pH habitats. The study should reveal more about the mechanisms that allow these worms to survive in these harsh environments. The main aim of this project is to evaluate the molecular and biochemical basis of pH acclimatisation, and the role of environmental factors such as temperature and carbon dioxide levels, which define the vent environment.
Ocean acidification involves lowering the pH of ocean water, resulting from an increase in the uptake of CO2. Oceanic CO2 levels have increased over the past centuries, and they continue to rise at higher rates than ever. This has the effect of reducing the natural buffering capacity of the ocean, as well as lowering the pH of the water (Fabry, et al., 2008).
Existing in natural CO2 vents, P. dumerilii has exhibited its ability to survive in such extremely low pH levels (Davidson, 2013), as compared to related Nereid species such as Nereis succinea, Nereis diversicolor and Nereis zonata. These pH levels range from 6.6-7.3 in the CO2 vents that exist in Ischia (Calosi, et al., 2013) and P. dumerilii is known to thrive in these vents whilst N. zonata co-occurs in the Ischia area but is not known to inhabit the low pH vents (Vodă, 2015). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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