• Large-scale kelp and bivalve farming are important biological drivers of carbonate chemistry variations within the Sanggou Bay.
• The fluctuation of carbonate systems in farming areas were much larger than those in non-farming area.
• Kelp farming may favour the calcification of farmed bivalves and provide essential refuge for these species during future ocean acidification.
• Farmed bivalves are capable of fixing larger amounts of inorganic carbon by calcification than that released into seawater by respiration.
Although cultured algae and shellfish can be the dominant species in some localized coastal waters, research on the effect of large-scale mariculture on the carbonate system variations in these local waters is still lacking. We conducted five cruises from May to September and studied spatiotemporal variations in the seawater carbonate system in the semi-closed Sanggou Bay, which is famous for its large-scale mariculture. Our results showed that both kelp and bivalve farming induced significant spatiotemporal variations in the carbonate system within the bay. When cultured kelp reached its highest biomass in May, the maximum ΔDIC, ΔpCO2 and ΔpHT between the seawater from the kelp farming area and the non-farming outer bay area was −156 μmol kg−1, −102 μatm and 0.15 pH units, respectively. However, no significant effect of kelp farming on seawater total alkalinity (TA) was observed. Kelp farming also caused the carbonate system variations of seawater from the bivalve farming area. Assuming no kelp was farmed in May, the average pH and pCO2 would reduce by 0.12 pH units and increase by 179 μatm, respectively, in the bivalve farming area. Bivalve farming significantly reduced seawater TA, indicating that fast deposition of calcium carbonate occurred in the bivalve farming area. Although bivalve respiration released CO2 into seawater and elevated seawater pCO2 level and reduced seawater pHT, surprisingly, seawater dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) reduced significantly in the bivalve farming area. These results indicated that bivalves fixed a larger amount of inorganic carbon by calcification than that released into seawater by respiration. Overall, large-scale kelp and bivalve farming are important biological drivers of variations in the carbonate system within the semi-enclosed Sanggou Bay. Altered carbonate systems by kelp farming may favour calcification of farmed bivalves and provide an essential refuge for these species during the future ocean acidification.
Li J., Zhang W., Ding J., Xue S., Huo E., Ma Z., Yu W., Jiang Z., Fang J. & Mao Y., in press. Effect of large-scale kelp and bivalve farming on seawater carbonate system variations in the semi-enclosed Sanggou Bay. Science of The Total Environment. Article (subscription required).