Interannual stability of organic to inorganic carbon production on a coral atoll

Ocean acidification has the potential to adversely affect marine calcifying organisms, with substantial ocean ecosystem impacts projected over the 21st century. Characterizing the in situ sensitivity of calcifying ecosystems to natural variability in carbonate chemistry may improve our understanding of the long-term impacts of ocean acidification. We explore the potential for intensive temporal sampling to isolate the influence of carbonate chemistry on community calcification rates of a coral reef and compare the ratio of organic to inorganic carbon production to previous studies at the same location. Even with intensive temporal sampling, community calcification displays only a weak dependence on carbonate chemistry variability. However, across three years of sampling, the ratio of organic to inorganic carbon production is highly consistent. Although further work is required to quantify the spatial variability associated with such ratios, this suggests that these measurements have the potential to indicate the response of coral reefs to ongoing disturbance, ocean acidification, and climate change.

Kwiatkowski L., Albright R., Hosfelt J., Nebuchina Y., A. Ninokawa, T. Rivlin, M. Sesboüé, K. Wolfe, and K. Caldeira, 2016. Interannual stability of organic to inorganic carbon production on a coral atoll. Geophysical Research Letters 43:3880–3888. Article (subscription required).


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