Archive for the 'Science' Category

Core-top calibration of B/Ca in Pacific Ocean Neogloboquadrina incompta and Globigerina bulloides as a surface water carbonate system proxy

Practical methods for reconstructing past ocean carbonate chemistry are needed to study past periods of ocean acidification and improve understanding of the marine carbonate system’s role in the global climate cycles. Planktic foraminiferal B/Ca may fill this role, but requires better understanding and improved proxy calibrations. We used Pacific Ocean core-top sediments to generate new calibrations of the B/Ca proxy for past carbonate system parameters in two upwelling/subpolar species of asymbiotic planktic foraminifera (Globigerina bulloides and Neogloboquadrina incompta ). Both species show significant positive correlation of B/Ca with calcite saturation (Ωcalcite) and carbonate ion concentration ([View the MathML source]) across a broad range of environmental conditions. This suggests a calcification rate control on B/Ca incorporation (as Ωcalcite regulates calcification rate), in agreement with recent inorganic calcite studies. This is also consistent with a surface entrapment model of trace element incorporation into CaCO3. In neither species is B/Ca significantly correlated with pH, suggesting that pH does not directly regulate boron incorporation, and that calculation of pH directly from foraminiferal B/Ca is not suitable. Correlations between B/Ca and [B(OH)4−], [B(OH)4−/HCO3−], and [B(OH)4−]/DIC) are weaker than with Ωcalcite. Boron partition coefficients View the MathML source show little or no correlation with [CO32−] or temperature and vary widely, providing no support for application of KD to calculate carbonate system parameters from B/Ca. We also discuss potential effects of depth-related dissolution, temperature, and salinity on B/Ca. These empirical calibrations linking foraminiferal calcite B/Ca with Ωcalcite provide a strong tool for reconstructing the past ocean carbonate system and improve our understanding of the proxy’s geochemical basis.

Continue reading ‘Core-top calibration of B/Ca in Pacific Ocean Neogloboquadrina incompta and Globigerina bulloides as a surface water carbonate system proxy’

Alleviation of mercury toxicity to a marine copepod under multigenerational exposure by ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) may potentially modify the responses of aquatic organisms to other environmental stressors including metals. In this study, we investigated the effects of near-future OA (pCO2 1000 μatm) and mercury (Hg) on the development and reproduction of marine copepod Tigriopus japonicus under multigenerational life-cycle exposure. Metal accumulation as well as seven life history traits (survival rate, sex ratio, developmental time from nauplius to copepodite, developmental time from nauplius to adult, number of clutches, number of nauplii/clutch and fecundity) was quantified for each generation. Hg exposure alone evidently suppressed the number of nauplii/clutch, whereas single OA exposure negligibly affected the seven traits of copepods. However, OA exposure significantly alleviated the Hg inhibitory effects on number of nauplii/clutch and fecundity, which could be explained by the reduced Hg accumulation under OA. Such combined exposure also significantly shortened the development time. Thus, in contrast to earlier findings for other toxic metals, this study demonstrated that OA potentially mitigated the Hg toxicity to some important life traits in marine copepods during multigenerational exposure.

Continue reading ‘Alleviation of mercury toxicity to a marine copepod under multigenerational exposure by ocean acidification’

High levels of solar radiation offset impacts of ocean acidification on calcifying and non-calcifying strains of Emiliania huxleyi

Coccolithophores, a globally distributed group of marine phytoplankton, showed diverse responses to ocean acidification (OA) and to combinations of OA with other environmental factors. While their growth can be enhanced and calcification be hindered by OA under constant indoor light, fluctuation of solar radiation with ultraviolet irradiances might offset such effects. In this study, when a calcifying and a non-calcifying strain of Emiliania huxleyi were grown at 2 CO2 concentrations (low CO2 [LC]: 395 µatm; high CO2 [HC]: 1000 µatm) under different levels of incident solar radiation in the presence of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), HC and increased levels of solar radiation acted synergistically to enhance the growth in the calcifying strain but not in the non-calcifying strain. HC enhanced the particulate organic carbon (POC) and nitrogen (PON) productions in both strains, and this effect was more obvious at high levels of solar radiation. While HC decreased calcification at low solar radiation levels, it did not cause a significant effect at high levels of solar radiation, implying that a sufficient supply of light energy can offset the impact of OA on the calcifying strain. Our data suggest that increased light exposure, which is predicted to happen with shoaling of the upper mixing layer due to progressive warming, could counteract the impact of OA on coccolithophores distributed within this layer.

Continue reading ‘High levels of solar radiation offset impacts of ocean acidification on calcifying and non-calcifying strains of Emiliania huxleyi’

Climate change can cause complex responses in Baltic Sea macroalgae: A systematic review

Estuarine macroalgae are important primary producers in aquatic ecosystems, and often foundation species providing structurally complex habitat. Climate change alters many abiotic factors that affect their long-term persistence and distribution. Here, we review the existing scientific literature on the tolerance of key macroalgal species in the Baltic Sea, the world’s largest brackish water body. Elevated temperature is expected to intensify coastal eutrophication, further promoting growth of opportunistic, filamentous species, especially green algae, which are often species associated with intensive filamentous algal blooms. Declining salinities will push the distributions of marine species towards south, which may alter the Baltic Sea community compositions towards a more limnic state. Together with increasing eutrophication trends this may cause losses in marine-originating foundation species such as Fucus, causing severe biodiversity impacts. Experimental results on ocean acidification effects on macroalgae are mixed, with only few studies conducted in the Baltic Sea. We conclude that climate change can alter the structure and functioning of macroalgal ecosystems especially in the northern Baltic coastal areas, and can potentially act synergistically with eutrophication. We briefly discuss potential adaptation measures.

Continue reading ‘Climate change can cause complex responses in Baltic Sea macroalgae: A systematic review’

Understanding feedbacks between ocean acidification and coral reef metabolism

Biogeochemical feedbacks from benthic metabolism have been hypothesized as a potential mechanism to buffer some effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs. The article in JGR-Oceans by DeCarlo et al. demonstrates the importance of benthic community health on this feedback from Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea.

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Effects of CO2 concentration on a late summer surface sea ice community

Annual fast ice at Scott Base (Antarctica) in late summer contained a high biomass surface community of mixed phytoflagellates, dominated by the dinoflagellate, Polarella glacialis. At this time of the year, ice temperatures rise close to melting point and salinities drop to less than 20. At the same time, pH levels can rise above 9 and nutrients can become limiting. In January 2014, the sea ice microbial community from the top 30 cm of the ice was exposed to a gradient of pH and CO2 (5 treatments) that ranged from 8.87 to 7.12 and 5–215 µmol CO2 kg−1, respectively, and incubated in situ. While growth rates were reduced at the highest and lowest pH, the differences were not significant. Likewise, there were no significant differences in maximum quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm) or relative maximum electron transfer rates (rETRmax) among treatments. In a parallel experiment, a CO2 gradient of 26–230 µmol CO2 kg−1 (5 treatments) was tested, keeping pH constant. In this experiment, growth rates increased by approximately 40% with increasing CO2, although differences among treatments were not significant.. As in the previous experiment, there was no significant response in Fv/Fm or rETRmax. A synchronous grazing dilution experiment found grazing rates to be inconclusive These results suggest that the summer sea ice brine communities were not limited by in situ CO2 concentrations and were not adversely affected by pH values down to 7.1.

Continue reading ‘Effects of CO2 concentration on a late summer surface sea ice community’

Development of an economical, autonomous pHstat system for culturing phytoplankton under steady state or dynamic conditions

Laboratory investigations of physiological processes in phytoplankton require precise control of experimental conditions. Chemostats customized to control and maintain stable pH levels (pHstats) are ideally suited for investigations of the effects of pH on phytoplankton physiology, for example in context of ocean acidification. Here we designed and constructed a simple, flexible pHstat system and demonstrated its operational capabilities under laboratory culture conditions. In particular, the system is useful for simulating natural cyclic pH variability within aquatic ecosystems, such as diel fluctuations that result from metabolic activity or tidal mixing in estuaries. The pHstat system operates in two modes: (1) static/set point pH, which maintains pH at a constant level, or (2) dynamic pH, which generates regular, sinusoidal pH fluctuations by systematically varying pH according to user-defined parameters. The pHstat is self-regulating through the use of interchangeable electronically controlled reagent or gas-mediated pH-modification manifolds, both of which feature flow regulation by solenoid valves. Although effective pH control was achieved using both liquid reagent additions and gas-mediated methods, the liquid manifold exhibited tighter control (± 0.03 pH units) of the desired pH than the gas manifold (± 0.10 pH units). The precise control provided by this pHstat system, as well as its operational flexibility will facilitate studies that examine responses by marine microbiota to fluctuations in pH in aquatic ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Development of an economical, autonomous pHstat system for culturing phytoplankton under steady state or dynamic conditions’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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