Type of Document Dissertation Author Sedlacek, Linda Marie URN etd-11142007-071441 Title Impacts of Deep-Sea Carbon Sequestration and of Ciliate Epibionts on Harpacticoid Copepods Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Oceanography, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title David Thistle Committee Chair Janie Wulff Committee Member Markus Huettel Committee Member Nancy Marcus Committee Member William Burnett Committee Member Keywords
- Carbon Sequestration
- Deep Sea
- Harpacticoid Copepods
Date of Defense 2007-11-06 Availability unrestricted AbstractOne way to slow down global warming is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by capturing carbon dioxide from point sources (e.g., power plants) and storing it out of contact with the atmosphere. One storage site that is being considered is the deep-sea floor. Below ~2600 m, carbon dioxide is a liquid and is denser than seawater, so carbon dioxide poured into a depression would create a carbon dioxide lake. The environmental consequences of this disposal option are largely unknown. This study tries to address the environmental consquences by studying the effects of carbon dioxide-rich seawater on organisms at various distance from a carbon-dioxide source. Harpacticoids were chosen as the study organism because they are abundant and may be an important prey item in the deep sea. To determine if the carbon dioxide-rich seawater affected the harpacticoids, a seven metrics were used. Overall, none of the metrics indicated that exposure to carbon dioxide-rich seawater had an effect. A previous study found a very different result. A comparison of the two studies revealed that the difference in flow dynamics between the two stations in the two experiments could explain the dichotomy, raising the possibility that deep-sea benthic environments that experience slower flow may be better disposal sites.
Harpacticoids in the deep-sea sometimes harbor ciliate epibionts. Their presence may influence a harpacticoidís ability to deal with the stress imposed by carbon-dioxide rich seawater. As a first step in trying to understand the harpacticoid-epibiont relationship, I identified the epibionts and determined whether or not they occurred more frequently on adults, on one host species more than the others, on one host sex more than another, or on one portion of a host more than another portion at the control site. Three epibiont species were abundant enough to analyze, Loricophrya sp., Trachelolophos sp., and Vorticella sp. Loricophrya sp. and Trachelolophos sp. individuals attached only to the antennules of Nitokra sp. and occurred significantly more often on this species than on other species. Vorticella sp. individuals attached significantly more frequently to Ameira sp. and Mesocletodes cf. irrasus than to other species. Individuals of Vorticella sp. were found attached to the side of the cephalosome, to the region of the mouth parts, and to the body between the swimming legs. Specificity in host usage was unexpected because harpacticoid individuals of a given species are sparse in the deep-sea. I did not find that any of the epibiont species occurred on one sex more than the other. One method that epibionts may use in order to be host specific is to attach to species that are relatively abundant.
I then examined the potential effect that the epibionts had on their hosts. To do so, I compared the harpacticoids at the 2-m site (treatment area) and 75-m site (control area). I found that only for individuals of Nitokra sp. with individuals of Loricophrya sp. attached was there a significantly higher proportion of host individuals with epibionts in the treatment area than in the control area. None of the host species showed a difference in the average number of epibionts they carried in the control area and the treatment area. These results suggest that individuals of Nitokra sp. were capable of resisting the attachment of the first individual of Loricophrya sp., but that individuals of Nitokra sp. were unable to continue to resist after the first Loricophrya sp. individual attached. Trachelolophos sp. was always with Loricophrya sp., so for the analyses that examined the proportion of host individuals that were alive at the time of collection, the group of harpacticoids that had only Loricophrya sp. (= L.) and those with both Trachelolophos sp. and Loricophrya sp. (= L. + T.) were analyzed together (= L. and L. + T.). In the treatment area, the proportion of individuals of Nitokra sp. that were alive at the time of collection was greater when individuals of L. and L. + T. were attached than when they not. In the control area, the proportion of individuals of Ameira sp. that were alive at the time of collection was greater when individuals of Vorticella sp. were attached than when they were not. In general, the effect of the epibionts on their host harpacticoids appears to be positive, an unexpected result considering that positive effects have not been found before.
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