Sea Anemones and Microbes in a CO2-Vent-Induced pH Gradient
Meron, D., Buia, M.-C., Fine, M. and Banin, E. 2013. Changes in microbial communities associated with the sea anemone Anemonia viridis in a natural pH gradient. Microbial Ecology 65: 269-276.
Against this backdrop, Meron et al. studied the physiology of the sea anemone Anemonia viridis, which grows naturally along a CO2-vent-induced pH gradient in the vicinity of Ischia, Italy, as well as the nature of the associated microbial community (bacteria and endosymbiotic Symbiodinium), focusing on two specific locations that could be characterized as ambient (pCO2 330 ppm, pH 8.1) and very CO2-enriched (pCO2 9341 ppm, pH 7.0).
Based on their analysis, the four researchers determined that although reduction in pH was seen to have had an impact on the composition and diversity of the anemones' associated microbial communities, "no significant changes were observed in A. viridis physiology, and no microbial stress indicators (i.e., pathogens, antibacterial activity, etc.) were detected."
In commenting on their findings, Meron et al. state that "in light of these results, it appears that elevated CO2 does not have a negative influence on A. viridis that live naturally in the [very CO2-enriched] site." And they say that "this suggests that natural long-term exposure and dynamic diverse microbial communities may contribute to the acclimation process of the host in a changing pH environment."