What We’re Reading- Dec 15, 2017

Oyster Adaptation to Ocean Acidification
Oceans are a large carbon sink, and one of the effects of climate change is that the oceans are becoming more acidic (see here for a description of how this happens).  This changing environment presents a problem for marine species that must acclimate or adapt to living in a more acidic environment, particularly given how important pH is for maintaining bodily functions.  This paper (sub) investigated gene regulation in Sydney Rock oysters (Saccostrea glomerata) by experimentally manipulating water pH for oysters in the lab.  They found over 2900 genes differentially expressed between regular and elevated water CO2 levels.  One of several interesting findings was that immune and stress response genes were down regulated in the individuals exposed to more acidic conditions.  This study informs us of how these animals, an important seafood species, are responding to climate change within their physiological limits.  But what happens if the oceans become too acidic for the long-term functioning of individuals?  Decreased reproduction and/or population crashes may be expected.

Linking Epigenetic Variation in Highly Studied Organisms to Other Species
An exciting review paper (open) that synthesizes how to translate what we have learned about epigenetic variation and regulation in model plant species and apply to a wider diversity of species.  By doing so, we would gain a deeper understanding of stress responses and adaptation particularly as it relates to environmental change.  And Figure 1 is excellent!


Side photo by Kathie Atkinson via ARKive of (Saccostrea cucullata).

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