SoMAS – how inorganic carbon cycling buffers Chesapeake Bay acidification in summer (text & video)

Baoshan Chen from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University spoke to SoMAS on Friday March 11, 2022 at the Oceans, Sustainability, and Atmospheres Colloquium on the topic “How Inorganic Carbon Cycling Buffers Chesapeake Bay Acidification in Summer.”

Dr. Chen is a chemical oceanographer interested in solving fundamental questions related to biogeochemical cycles. His work focuses on the processes of inorganic carbon cycling in the water column, air-water gas exchange, ocean acidification, and hypoxia/anoxia. Dr. Chen has studied inorganic carbon cycling for over ten years in estuaries, coastal oceans, and the Arctic Ocean.

Acidification in estuaries and coastal oceans is detrimental to the health of ecosystems, particularly the calcifying organisms. The acidification is often enhanced by high rates of biological respiration in subsurface water which produces CO2 and acid. However, less is known about the potential processes that could counter acidification in eutrophic and seasonally hypoxia waters. I would like to give an example of the bay-wide pH buffering mechanism in the Chesapeake Bay in summer which results from spatially decoupled calcium carbonate mineral cycling. In short, calcium carbonate particles produced in the nearshore submerged aquatic vegetation are transported to the corrosive subsurface waters in the mid-bay. The subsequent dissolution of calcium carbonate buffers pH decreases caused by aerobic respiration.

The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, YouTube, 14 March 2022. Text and video.

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