Decrease in volume and density of foraminiferal shells with progressing ocean acidification

Rapid increases in anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 partial pressure have led to a decrease in the pH of seawater. Calcifying organisms generally respond negatively to ocean acidification. Foraminifera are one of the major carbonate producers in the ocean; however, whether calcification reduction by ocean acidification affects either foraminiferal shell volume or density, or both, has yet to be investigated. In this study, we cultured asexually reproducing specimens of Amphisorus kudakajimensis, a dinoflagellate endosymbiont-bearing large benthic foraminifera (LBF), under different pH conditions (pH 7.7–8.3, NBS scale). The results suggest that changes in seawater pH would affect not only the quantity (i.e., shell volume) but also the quality (i.e., shell density) of foraminiferal calcification. We proposed that pH and temperature affect these growth parameters differently because (1) they have differences in the contribution to the calcification process (e.g., Ca2+-ATPase and Ω) and (2) pH mainly affects calcification and temperature mainly affects photosynthesis. Our findings also suggest that, under the IPCC RCP8.5 scenario, both ocean acidification and warming will have a significant impact on reef foraminiferal carbonate production by the end of this century, even in the tropics.

Kuroyanagi A., Irie T., Kinoshita S., Kawahata H., Suzuki A., Nishi H., Sasaki O., Takashima R. & Fujita K., 2021. Decrease in volume and density of foraminiferal shells with progressing ocean acidification. Scientific Reports 11: 19988. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99427-1. Article.

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