Consistent increase in dimethyl sulphide (DMS) in response to high CO2 in five shipboard bioassays from contrasting NW European waters

The ubiquitous marine trace gas dimethyl sulphide (DMS) comprises the greatest natural source of sulphur to the atmosphere and is a key player in atmospheric chemistry and climate. We explore the short term response of DMS and its algal precursor dimethyl sulphoniopropionate (DMSP) production and cycling to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) and ocean acidification (OA) in five highly replicated 96 h shipboard bioassay experiments from contrasting sites in NW European shelf waters. In general, the response to OA throughout this region showed little variation, despite encompassing a range of biological and biogeochemical conditions. We observed consistent and marked increases in DMS concentrations relative to ambient controls, and decreases in DMSP concentrations. Quantification of rates of specific DMSP synthesis by phytoplankton and bacterial DMS gross production/consumption suggest algal processes dominated the CO2 response, likely due to a physiological response manifested as increases in direct cellular exudation of DMS and/or DMSP lyase enzyme activities. The variables and rates we report increase our understanding of the processes behind the response to OA. This could provide the opportunity to improve upon mesocosm-derived empirical modelling relationships, and move towards a mechanistic approach for predicting future DMS concentrations.

Hopkins F. E. & Archer S. D., 2014. Consistent increase in dimethyl sulphide (DMS) in response to high CO2 in five shipboard bioassays from contrasting NW European waters. Biogeosciences Discussions 11:2267-2303. Article.


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