Comment on “Bioerosion: the other ocean acidification problem”: on field studies and mechanisms

In a recent review, “Bioerosion: the other ocean acidification problem,” Schönberg et al. claim that studies of bioerosion across natural chemical gradients are “flawed” or “compromised” by co-variation among environmental factors. Their discussion falls largely on two publications, Silbiger et al. and DeCarlo et al. Here, we demonstrate that critical errors in plotting, statistical analysis, and data selection in Schönberg et al.’s reanalysis, result in a gross misrepresentation of these studies. Further, we argue three key points regarding field-based studies that require broader discussion within the bioerosion community and marine scientists in general: (1) that natural variability in field studies is not a flaw, (2) interpretations must be supported by mechanistic understanding, and (3) field-based studies play an essential role in elucidating interactions between OA and natural variability that is not captured by laboratory CO2-manipulation experiments. Our goal with this comment is to encourage open discussion of the advantages and caveats of field-based studies in general, and ultimately, advance our understanding of bioerosion patterns observed in nature.

Silbiger N. J. & DeCarlo T. M., 2017. Comment on “Bioerosion: the other ocean acidification problem”: on field studies and mechanisms. ICES Journal of Marine Science: fsx069. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsx069. Article (subscription required).

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