Response of the temperate coral Cladocora caespitosa to mid- and long-term exposure to pCO2 and temperature levels projected for the year 2100 AD (update)

Atmospheric CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) is expected to increase to 700 μatm or more by the end of the present century. Anthropogenic CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, leading to decreases in pH and the CaCO3 saturation state (Ω) of the seawater. Elevated pCO2 was shown to drastically decrease calcification rates in tropical zooxanthellate corals. Here we show, using the Mediterranean zooxanthellate coral Cladocora caespitosa, that an increase in pCO2, in the range predicted for 2100, does not reduce its calcification rate. Therefore, the conventional belief that calcification rates will be affected by ocean acidification may not be widespread in temperate corals. Seasonal change in temperature is the predominant factor controlling photosynthesis, respiration, calcification and symbiont density. An increase in pCO2, alone or in combination with elevated temperature, had no significant effect on photosynthesis, photosynthetic efficiency and calcification. The lack of sensitivity C. caespitosa to elevated pCO2 might be due to its slow growth rates, which seem to be more dependent on temperature than on the saturation state of calcium carbonate in the range projected for the end of the century.



Rodolfo-Metalpa, R., Martin, S., Ferrier-Pagès, C., & Gattuso, J.-P., 2010. Response of the temperate coral Cladocora caespitosa to mid- and long-term exposure to pCO2 and temperature levels projected for the year 2100 AD. Biogeosciences 7(1): 289-300. Article.

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