Editorial: fitness of marine calcifiers in the future acidifying ocean

Over the last century, anthropogenic CO2 emissions via combustion of fossil fuels have caused drastic changes in oceans with sea surface temperatures increasing steadily due to global warming. In addition to ocean warming, seawater has become more acidic as more CO2 is dissolved into the world’s oceans (IPCC, 2019). As CO2 emissions are forecast to accelerate in the future (Caldeira and Wickett, 2005), understanding how marine organisms are influenced by ocean acidification (OA) and warming has received substantial attention (Doney et al., 2009). Organisms which build calcareous structures for growth and protection (e.g., coccolithophores, corals, gastropods, bivalves, and sea urchins) are of particular concern because OA is expected to make calcification more energy-demanding and increase dissolution of calcareous structures (Harvey et al., 2018Byrne and Fitzer, 2019). Consequently, the fitness and survival of marine calcifiers could be reduced, possibly affecting the integrity of marine ecosystems in view of their abundance, diversity, and ecological functions in oceans.

There is now a large body of literature which demonstrates that calcifiers can indeed be impaired by OA in various aspects, such as physiology, calcification, growth, and survival (Harvey et al., 2013). Nevertheless, growing evidence reveals that some calcifiers can prevail in the CO2-acidified environment and produce durable calcareous structures (e.g., Leung et al., 20192020aDi Giglio et al., 2020), implying their resistance and adaptability to OA. Thus, more comprehensive studies are needed to decipher how calcifiers adjust or succumb to OA and how warming modulates the impacts of OA on calcifiers. We brought together this Research Topic to address these issues and provide better insights into the fate of calcifiers in future marine ecosystems.

Leung J. Y. S., Harvey B. P. & Russell B. D., 2021. Editorial: fitness of marine calcifiers in the future acidifying ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science 8: 752635. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.752635. Article.

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