Benthic foraminifera show some resilience to ocean acidification in the northern Gulf of California, Mexico

Extensive CO2 vents have been discovered in the Wagner Basin, northern Gulf of California, where they create large areas with lowered seawater pH. Such areas are suitable for investigations of long-term biological effects of ocean acidification and effects of CO2 leakage from subsea carbon capture storage. Here, we show responses of benthic foraminifera to seawater pH gradients at 74–207 m water depth. Living (rose Bengal stained) benthic foraminifera included Nonionella basispinata, Epistominella bradyana and Bulimina marginata. Studies on foraminifera at CO2 vents in the Mediterranean and off Papua New Guinea have shown dramatic long-term effects of acidified seawater. We found living calcareous benthic foraminifera in low pH conditions in the northern Gulf of California, although there was an impoverished species assemblage and evidence of post-mortem test dissolution.

Pettit L. R., Harta M. B., Medina-Sánchez A. N., Smart C.W., Rodolfo-Metalpa R., Hall-Spencer J. M. & Prol-Ledesma R. M., in press. Benthic foraminifera show some resilience to ocean acidification in the northern Gulf of California, Mexico. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Article (subscription required).


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