The response of the diatom Asterionllopsis glacialis to variations in CO2 and nitrate availability

Atmospheric CO2 levels have been rapidly increasing since the 280 ppm (ppm-parts per million) found previous to the industrial revolution (IPCC 2014). In 2010 the atmospheric CO2 was ~380 ppm (IPCC 2014). In May 2018 the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reported 411.21 ppm of CO2 at the surface ocean (Mooney 2018). These rapid changes in the atmosphere also affect ocean chemistry. Surface ocean pH has been rather stable before industrialization over the last 800 000 years, averaging 8.2 at the surface water. Since the industrial revolution, the pH has dropped ~0.1 units, so the present day value is ~8.1 (Gattuso, Hansson 2011; Riebesell et al. 2010). Based on business as-usual scenario, atmospheric CO2 levels are expected to approach 800 ppm by the end of the century, which means that pH would drop further 0.3 to 0.5 units and reach 7.8 pH units (Feely et al. 2009, IPCC report 2014). Finally, the changes in ocean chemistry are not happening everywhere at the same pace. For example, in areas where the water temperature is lower, like the Arctic Ocean, CO2 levels and concomitant acidification is increasing more rapidly (CO2 dissolves better in colder water). This makes the Arctic one of the most efficient areas for the sink of anthropogenic CO2 in the global ocean (Slagstad et al. 2011).

Albert G., 2018. The response of the diatom Asterionllopsis glacialis to variations in CO2 and nitrate availability. MSc thesis, University of Tartu, 44 p. Thesis.


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