Using B isotopes and B/Ca in corals from low saturation springs to constrain calcification mechanisms

Ocean acidification is expected to negatively impact calcifying organisms, yet we lack understanding of their acclimation potential in the natural environment. Here we measured geochemical proxies (δ11B and B/Ca) in Porites astreoides corals that have been growing for their entire life under low aragonite saturation (Ωsw: 0.77–1.85). This allowed us to assess the ability of these corals to manipulate the chemical conditions at the site of calcification (Ωcf), and hence their potential to acclimate to changing Ωsw. We show that lifelong exposure to low Ωsw did not enable the corals to acclimate and reach similar Ωcf as corals grown under ambient conditions. The lower Ωcf at the site of calcification can explain a large proportion of the decreasing P. astreoides calcification rates at low Ωsw. The naturally elevated seawater dissolved inorganic carbon concentration at this study site shed light on how different carbonate chemistry parameters affect calcification conditions in corals.

Wall M., Fietzke J., Crook E. D. & Paytan A., 2019. Using B isotopes and B/Ca in corals from low saturation springs to constrain calcification mechanisms. Nature Communications 10: 3580. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11519-9. Article.


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