Effects of increased CO2 and nutrients on seagrass (Cymodocea nodosa) metabolism

Continuous global change leads to acidify ocean through increasing of atmospheric CO2 level which is major issue for our ecosysem now-a-days. Addressing this ocean acidification and ongoing anthropogenic problems of eutrophication with ocean temperature increase and teir cumulative impacts or interactive effects are still demanding a lot in research arena of oceanic environment. In this connection, this experiment conducted to investigate the effect of both nutrient and CO2 enrichment on the net community production (NCP) of Cymodocea nodosa beds collected from the western sector of the highly dynamic coastal lagoon Ria Formosa (south Portugal: 37° 01´ N, 7° 50´ W) in a mesocosm set up situated in Ramalhete Marine Station of University of Algarve where the open circulation of seawater exiss. To address the interaction with seagrass metabolism; two types of CO2 concentration (enriched: 700 ppm with pH 7.84 and control: existing 370 ppm with pH 8.12) and two types of nutrient concentration (enriched and control) were used with seawater. However, four types of different combinations from CO2 and nutrient concentration can explain effects of net community production for to complementary methods performed: light incubation and dark incubation. To estimate seagrass community metabolism, I measured change in calculated concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) throughout photosynthesis and respiration from conducted twelve light incubations and nine dark incubations respectively in diferent days and times in order to catch possible wider range of underwater irradiances in case of light incubations. There were mild different trends suggesting increased production (± 38000 µmol C h-1 m-2) at underwater irradiance of ± 900 PAR µmol m-2 s-1 in the treatment of enriched nutrients and control CO2 concentration while decreased production (± 30000 µmol C h-1 m-2) found in the treatment with control CO2 and control nutrient at same irradiance. However, in consider to daytime, the net community production in afternoon found to differ a little bit after photoinhibition (observed at 13.30 h with ±1100 PAR µmol m-2 s-1) where maximum increased of NCP (± 35000 µmol C h-1 m-2) found at 17.00 h in the enriched (both in CO2 and nutrient) treatment. In all cases, average positive NCP values (from light) are found lower than the average negative NCP values (from dark) suggesting more community respiration in the equal day-night dates though the treatment with control CO2 and enriched nitrogen showed maximum net community production (around 60000 µmol C h-1 m-2) in the study place of south Portugal in the month of April-May when the daylight existed around 14 hours in a day. However, both CO2 and Nitrogen contents of seawater were not significantly affected yet in Cymodocea nodosa beds in generally even thouh there was significant difference (p = 0.002) among the daily average net community production of the four treatments. Further study should be carried out in order to better understand the underlying metabolic activities of C. nodosa leading to net community production in elevated CO2 and nutrients concentration to meet the upcoming global change.

Khan, F.A. (2011). Effects of increased CO2 and nutrients on seagrass (Cymodocea nodosa) metabolism . MSc Thesis. University of Algarve, Centre of Marine Science: Faro. 35 pp. More information.

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