Ocean acidification outweighs nutrient effects in structuring seagrass epiphyte communities

Summary

1. Developing a framework for assessing interactions between multiple anthropogenic stressors remains an important goal in environmental research. In coastal ecosystems, the relative effects of aspects of global climate change (e.g. CO2 concentrations) and localized stressors (e.g. eutrophication), in combination, have received limited attention.

2. Using a long-term (11 month) field experiment, we examine how epiphyte assemblages in a tropical seagrass meadow respond to factorial manipulations of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2(aq)) and nutrient enrichment. In situ CO2(aq) manipulations were conducted using clear, open-top chambers which replicated carbonate parameter forecasts for the year 2100. Nutrient enrichment consisted of monthly additions of slow-release fertilizer, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), to the sediments at rates equivalent to theoretical maximum rates of anthropogenic loading within the region (1.54 g N m−2 d−1 and 0.24 g P m−2 d−1).

3. Epiphyte community structure was assessed on a seasonal basis, and revealed declines in the abundance of coralline algae, along with increases in filamentous algae under elevated CO2(aq). Surprisingly, nutrient enrichment had no effect on epiphyte community structure or overall epiphyte loading. Interactions between CO2(aq) and nutrient enrichment were not detected. Furthermore, CO2(aq)-mediated responses in the epiphyte community displayed strong seasonality, suggesting that climate change studies in variable environments should be conducted over extended time scales.

4.Synthesis. The observed responses indicate that for certain locations, global stressors such as ocean acidification may take precedence over local eutrophication in altering the community structure of seagrass epiphyte assemblages. Given that nutrient-driven algal overgrowth is commonly cited as a widespread cause of seagrass decline, our findings highlight that alternate climate change forces may exert proximate control over epiphyte community structure.

Campbell J. E. & Fourqurean J. W., in press. Ocean acidification outweighs nutrient effects in structuring seagrass epiphyte communities. Journal of Ecology. Article (subscription required).

0 Responses to “Ocean acidification outweighs nutrient effects in structuring seagrass epiphyte communities”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,298,278 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book