Effects of seawater pCO2 and temperature on calcification and productivity in the coral genus Porites spp.: an exploration of potential interaction mechanisms

Understanding how rising seawater pCO2 and temperatures impact coral aragonite accretion is essential for predicting the future of reef ecosystems. Here, we report 2 long-term (10–11 month) studies assessing the effects of temperature (25 and 28 °C) and both high and low seawater pCO2 (180–750 μatm) on the calcification, photosynthesis and respiration of individual massive Porites spp. genotypes. Calcification rates were highly variable between genotypes, but high seawater pCO2 reduced calcification significantly in 4 of 7 genotypes cultured at 25 °C but in only 1 of 4 genotypes cultured at 28 °C. Increasing seawater temperature enhanced calcification in almost all corals, but the magnitude of this effect was seawater pCO2 dependent. The 3 °C temperature increase enhanced calcification rate on average by 3% at 180 μatm, by 35% at 260 μatm and by > 300% at 750 μatm. The rate increase at high seawater pCO2 exceeds that observed in inorganic aragonites. Responses of gross/net photosynthesis and respiration to temperature and seawater pCO2 varied between genotypes, but rates of all these processes were reduced at the higher seawater temperature. Increases in seawater temperature, below the thermal stress threshold, may mitigate against ocean acidification in this coral genus, but this moderation is not mediated by an increase in net photosynthesis. The response of coral calcification to temperature cannot be explained by symbiont productivity or by thermodynamic and kinetic influences on aragonite formation.

Cole C., Finch A. A., Hintz C., Hintz K. & Allison N., in press. Effects of seawater pCO2 and temperature on calcification and productivity in the coral genus Porites spp.: an exploration of potential interaction mechanisms. Coral ReefsArticle.

 

1 Response to “Effects of seawater pCO2 and temperature on calcification and productivity in the coral genus Porites spp.: an exploration of potential interaction mechanisms”


  1. 1 Claire Ross 19 March 2018 at 05:52

    Interesting work! We measured and then modelled seasonal changes in coral calcification rates using both temperature and calcification site saturation state with the equations from Burton and Walter (1987) and also found that the response of coral calcification to temperature is not driven solely by thermodynamic and kinetic influences on aragonite precipitation. It appears that calcification is much more of a biologically mediated process than previously thought! See: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-14066-9


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