Effects of ocean acidification on sediment fauna

Sediments make up the vast majority of seafloor habitats supporting a rich diversity of organisms and contributing significantly to key ecosystem functions e.g. marine production, nutrient cycling and the burial of organic matter and contaminants. Consequently, changes in the health and function of these habitats, particularly in coastal areas, could considerably impact upon human well-being. Given the current concerns over rising levels of CO2 in marine systems this chapter explores the likely impacts of ocean acidification on sediment organism. Firstly by describing the geochemical environment within which these organisms live, how these organisms influence key ecosystem functions and how ocean acidification could affect their health and performance. Finally, while identifying the physiological and behavioural mechanisms that currently allow infaunal animals to live a subterranean life, the potential for these mechanisms to help organisms cope with the environmental changes associated with ocean acidification will be discussed.

Widdicombe S., Spicer J. I., & Kitidis V., 2011. Effects of ocean acidification on sediment fauna. In: Gattuso J.-P. & Hansson L. (Eds.), Ocean acidification, pp. 176-191. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Book.


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