Ocean acidification conditions and marine diatoms

Ocean acidification doesn’t just erode calcium carbonate shells. It can also slow the rate of diatoms to build their beautiful, intricate silica cell walls. Thinner walls mean lighter diatoms making the algae less able to transport carbon to the deep ocean. Diatoms are a key group of non-calcifying marine phytoplankton, responsible for ~40% of ocean productivity. Growth, cell size, and silica content are strong determinants of diatom resilience and sinking velocity; therefore, the effect of diatom species on ocean biogeochemistry is a function of its growth strategy, size, and frustule thickness. In natural environments, pH directly affects the diatom’s growth rate and therefore the timing and abundance of species. Consequently, understanding impacts of ocean acidification on diatom community structure is crucial for evaluating the sensitivity of biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem services in the world’s oceans.

Rashedy S. H., 2023. Ocean acidification conditions and marine diatoms. In: Srivastava P., Khan A. S., Verma J. & Dhyani S. (Eds.), Insights into the world of diatoms: from essentials to applications, pp. 103–111. Plant Life and Environment Dynamics, Springer: Singapore. Chapter (restricted access).

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