Effects of elevated pCO2 on epilithic and endolithic metabolism of reef carbonates

We investigated effects of elevated partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) on the metabolism of epilithic and endolithic phototrophic communities that colonized experimental coral blocks. Blocks of the massive coral Porites lobata were exposed to colonization by epilithic and endolithic organisms at an oceanic site in Kaneohe Bay (Hawaii) for 6 months, and then were transported to laboratory tanks. A bubbling system was used to maintain two treatments for 3 months, one at ambient pCO2 (400 ppm) and the second at elevated pCO2 (750 ppm). Net photosynthetic rates of epilithic communities in the high pCO2 treatment, dominated by encrusting coralline algae, decreased by 35% while respiration rates remained constant. In contrast, metabolism of endolithic phototrophs, comprised of cyanobacteria and algae, was not significantly affected by the elevated pCO2 even though endoliths contributed about 63% to block production.

Tribollet A., Atkinson M. J. & Langdon C., 2006. Effects of elevated pCO2 on epilithic and endolithic metabolism of reef carbonates. Global Change Biology 12:2200-2208. Article

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