The physiological response of two green calcifying algae from the Great Barrier Reef towards high dissolved inorganic and organic carbon (DIC and DOC) availability

Increasing dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentrations associated with ocean acidification can affect marine calcifiers, but local factors, such as high dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations through sewage and algal blooms, may interact with this global factor. For calcifying green algae of the genus Halimeda, a key tropical carbonate producer that often occurs in coral reefs, no studies on these interactions have been reported. These data are however urgently needed to understand future carbonate production. Thus, we investigated the independent and combined effects of DIC (pCO2 402 μatm/ pHtot 8.0 and 996 μatm/ pHtot 7.7) and DOC (added as glucose in 0 and 294 μmol L-1) on growth, calcification and photosynthesis of H. macroloba and H. opuntia from the Great Barrier Reef in an incubation experiment over 16 days. High DIC concentrations significantly reduced dark calcification of H. opuntia by 130 % and led to net dissolution, but did not affect H. macroloba. High DOC concentrations significantly reduced daily oxygen production of H. opuntia and H. macroloba by 78 % and 43 %, respectively, and significantly reduced dark calcification of H. opuntia by 70%. Combined high DIC and DOC did not show any interactive effects for both algae, but revealed additive effects for H. opuntia where the combination of both factors reduced dark calcification by 162 % compared to controls. Such species-specific differences in treatment responses indicate H. opuntia is more susceptible to a combination of high DIC and DOC than H. macroloba. From an ecological perspective, results further suggest a reduction of primary production for Halimeda-dominated benthic reef communities under high DOC concentrations and additional decreases of carbonate accretion under elevated DIC concentrations, where H. opuntia dominates the benthic community. This may reduce biogenic carbonate sedimentation rates and hence the buffering capacity against further ocean acidification.

Meyer F. W., Vogel N., Teichberg M., Uthicke S. & Wild C., 2015. The physiological response of two green calcifying algae from the Great Barrier Reef towards high dissolved inorganic and organic carbon (DIC and DOC) availability. PLoS ONE 10(8):e0133596. Article.


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