Arctic ocean acidification: pelagic ecosystem and biogeochemical responses during a mesocosm study

The growing evidence of potential biological impacts of ocean acidification affirms that this global change phenomenon may pose a serious threat to marine organisms and ecosystems. Whilst ocean acidification will occur everywhere, it will happen more rapidly in some regions than in others. Due to the high CO2 solubility in the cold surface waters of high-latitude seas, these areas are expected to experience the strongest changes in seawater chemistry due to ocean acidification. This will be most pronounced in the Arctic Ocean. If atmospheric pCO2 levels continue to rise at current rates, about 10 % of the Arctic surface waters will be corrosive for aragonite by 2018 (Steinacher et al., 2009). By 2050 one-half of the Arctic Ocean will be sub-saturated with respect to aragonite. By the end of this century corrosive conditions are projected to have spread over the entire Arctic Ocean (Steinacher et al., 2009). In view of these rapid changes in seawater chemistry, marine organisms and ecosystems in the Arctic are considered particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification. With this in mind, the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) chose the Arctic Ocean as one of its focal areas of research.

Riebesell U., Gattuso J.-P., Thingstad T. F. & Middelburg J. J., 2013. Arctic ocean acidification: pelagic ecosystem and biogeochemical responses during a mesocosm study. Biogeosciences 10: 5619–5626. Article.


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