Influences of riverine and upwelling waters on the coastal carbonate system off Central Chile, and their ocean acidification implications

A combined data set, combining data from field campaigns and oceanographic cruises was used to ascertain the influence of both river discharges and upwelling processes, covering spatial and temporal variation in DIC and aragonite saturation state. This work was conducted in one of the most productive river-influenced upwelling area in the South Pacific coasts (36°S). Additionally, further work was also conducted to ascertain the contribution of different DIC sources, influencing the dynamics of DIC along the land-ocean range.. Six sampling campaigns were conducted across seven stations at the Biobío River basin, covering approximately 200 km. Three research cruises were undertaken simultaneously, covering the adjacent continental shelf, including 12 sampling stations for hydrographic measurements. Additionally, 6 stations were also sampled for chemical analyses, covering summer, winter and spring conditions over 2010 and 2011. Our results evidenced that seaward extent of the river plume was more evident during the winter field campaign, when highest riverine DIC fluxes were observed. The carbonate system along the river-ocean continuum was very heterogeneous varying over spatial and temporal scales. High DIC and pCO2 were observed in river areas with larger anthropogenic effects. CO2 supersaturation at the river plume was observed during all campaigns due to the influence of low pH river waters in winter/spring and high-pCO2 upwelling waters in summer. δ13CDIC evidenced that main DIC sources along the river and river plume corresponded to the respiration of terrestrial organic matter. We have linked this natural process to the carbonate saturation on the adjacent river-influenced coastal area, suggesting that Ωaragonite undersaturation in surface/sub-surface waters is largely modulated by the influence of both river discharge and coastal upwelling events in this productive coastal area. Conditions of low Ωaragonite might impact negatively physiological traits for marine organisms, such as, bivalves, gastropods, and crustaceans. Therefore, local populations from river-influenced sites could be inherently more tolerant to ocean acidification than organisms living in regions with lower Ωaragonite variability.

Vargas C. A., Contreras P. Y., Peréz C. A., Sobarzo M., Saldias G. S. & Salisbury J., in press. Influences of riverine and upwelling waters on the coastal carbonate system off Central Chile, and their ocean acidification implications. Journal of Geophysical research: Biogeosciences. Article (subscription required).

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