Ocean acidification as a multiple driver: how interactions between changing seawater carbonate parameters affect marine life

‘Multiple drivers’ (also termed ‘multiple stressors’) is the term used to describe the cumulative effects of multiple environmental factors on organisms or ecosystems. Here, we consider ocean acidification as a multiple driver because many inorganic carbon parameters are changing simultaneously, including total dissolved inorganic carbon, CO2, HCO3–, CO32–, H+ and CaCO3 saturation state. With the rapid expansion of ocean acidification research has come a greater understanding of the complexity and intricacies of how these simultaneous changes to the seawater carbonate system are affecting marine life. We start by clarifying key terms used by chemists and biologists to describe the changing seawater inorganic carbon system. Then, using key groups of non-calcifying (fish, seaweeds, diatoms) and calcifying (coralline algae, coccolithophores, corals, molluscs) organisms, we consider how various physiological processes are affected by different components of the carbonate system.

Hurd C. L., Beardall J., Comeau S., Cornwall C. E., Havenhand J. N., Munday P. L., Parker L. M., Raven J. A. & McGraw C. M., in press. Ocean acidification as a multiple driver: how interactions between changing seawater carbonate parameters affect marine life. Marine and Freshwater Research. Article (subscription required).

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