Using a mesocosm approach to evaluate marine benthic assemblage alteration associated with CO2 enrichment in coastal environments

Highlights

  • The effects of CO2 enrichment in marine macrobenthic communities were assessed.
  • Acidification showed low variation in the concentrations of metals in the sediment.
  • Significant decrease in the biological indices was reveled related to the lowest pH.
  • The contamination and pH reduction can interfere in the benthic community indices.

Abstract

The effects of acidification related to the CO2 enrichment in the coastal environments on marine macrobenthic abundance, diversity and richness were analyzed in a medium- term (21 days) using mesocosm experiments. Two sampling sites located in the Bay of Cadiz – SW, Spain were selected and tested at pH values ranged from 7.9 to 6.0 (± 0.1). Moreover, variations in the concentrations of metals in the sediment samples were analyzed at the end of each experiment. The results showed low variation in the concentrations of metals in the sediment among the pH treatments. A significant decrease (p < 0.05) in the abundance, diversity and richness of assemblages were measured between the control and the lowest pH level in both sampling sites tested in this study (Rio San Pedro and El Trocadero). The majority of species were found in all samples except in pH 6.0 which only two species were found (Hydrobia ulvae and Scrobicularia plana,) in Rio San Pedro sediment fauna. In general, the results of cluster analysis showed 60% and 40% similarity in all replicated tests in El Trocadero and Rio San Pedro of sediment fauna, respectively. The results of the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) showed that both sediment parameters and pH reduction can interfere in the benthic assemblage indices. Although the assemblages’ indices have shown decreases only in the lower pHs, the organisms also could be impacted by chronic effects. Therefore, the extension of this study is important in order to improve the knowledge about the risks associated with CO2 enrichment in on marine organisms.

Passarelli M. C., Riba I., Cesar A., Newton A. & DelValls T.A., 2018. Using a mesocosm approach to evaluate marine benthic assemblage alteration associated with CO2 enrichment in coastal environments. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 157: 29-39. Article (subscription required).

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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book