Macroalgal response to a warmer ocean with higher CO2 concentration

Highlights

• Decreased pH had a positive effect on short-term production of the studied species.
• Algae with tropical affinity increased their production at higher temperatures.
• Respiration rates were higher at the lower temperature treatments.
• Future pH and temperature conditions benefit tropical algal species.

Abstract

Primary production and respiration rates were studied for six seaweed species (Cystoseira abies-marina, Lobophora variegata, Pterocladiella capillacea, Canistrocarpus cervicornis, Padina pavonica and Corallina caespitosa) from Subtropical North-East Atlantic, to estimate the combined effects of different pH and temperature levels. Macroalgal samples were cultured at temperature and pH combinations ranging from current levels to those predicted for the next century (19, 21, 23, 25 °C, pH: 8.1, 7.7 and 7.4). Decreased pH had a positive effect on short-term production of the studied species. Raised temperatures had a more varied and species dependent effect on short term primary production. Thermophilic algae increased their production at higher temperatures, while temperate species were more productive at lower or present temperature conditions. Temperature also affected algal respiration rates, which were higher at low temperature levels. The results suggest that biomass and productivity of the more tropical species in coastal ecosystems would be enhanced by future ocean conditions.

Hernández C. A., Sangil C., Fanai A. & Hernández J. C., in press. Macroalgal response to a warmer ocean with higher COconcentration. Marine Environmental Research. Article (subscription required).

 

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