Archive for the 'Science' Category

Spatial distribution, source apportionment, and assessment of marine water quality parameters in the Bohai Sea, China


  • Terrestrial inputs are the main sources of organic matter and nutrients.
  • Port activities and offshore oilfield exploration cause petroleum pollution.
  • Seawater in the Bohai Sea did not exhibit acidification.
  • Phosphorus -limiting conditions are present in the Bohai Sea.


A two–year (2020−2021) survey dataset of six water quality parameters (pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), chemical oxygen demand (COD), dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), soluble reactive phosphate (SRP), and petroleum pollutants) was used to investigate their spatial distribution in the Bohai Sea and quantify their potential sources. There were significant differences in spatial distribution of the parameters. High concentrations of COD, DIN and SRP were found in three bays, with terrestrial input being the main pollution source. Phosphorus–limiting conditions were present in the Bohai Sea. High petroleum pollutant concentrations were identified in port areas, offshore oilfields, and adjacent areas. The pH was above the global oceanic average and there were no signs of acidification. The contribution of the mixed terrestrial inputs, maritime transportation, and offshore oil exploitation sources, oceanic and associated biotic sources, and seawater–atmosphere exchange and atmospheric deposition sources to water quality were 63.4 %, 8.0 %, and 28.6 %, respectively.

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Assessing the remaining carbon budget through the lens of policy-driven acidification and temperature targets

Basing a remaining carbon budget on warming targets is subject to uncertainty due to uncertainty in the relationship between carbon emissions and warming. Framing emissions targets using a warming target therefore may not prevent dangerous change throughout the entire Earth system. Here, we use a climate emulator to constrain a remaining carbon budget that is more representative of the entire Earth system by using a combination of both warming and ocean acidification targets. The warming targets considered are the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 and 2 °C; the acidification targets are −0.17 and −0.21 pH units, informed by aragonite saturation states where coral growth begins to be compromised. The aim of the dual targets is to prevent not only damage associated with warming, but damage to corals associated with atmospheric carbon and ocean acidification. We find that considering acidification targets in conjunction with warming targets narrows the uncertainty in the remaining carbon budget, especially in situations where the acidification target is more stringent than, or of similar stringency to, the warming target. Considering a strict combination of the two more stringent targets (both targets of 1.5 °C warming and −0.17 acidification must be met), the carbon budget ranges from −74.0 to 129.8PgC. This reduces uncertainty in the carbon budget from by 29% (from 286.2PgC to 203.8PgC). This reduction comes from reducing the high-end estimate of the remaining carbon budget derived from just a warming target. Assuming an emissions rate held constant since 2021 (which is a conservative assumption), the budget towards both targets was either spent by 2019 or will be spent by 2026.

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Carbonate Chemistry and the Potential for Acidification in Georgia Coastal Marshes and the South Atlantic Bight, USA

In coastal regions and marginal bodies of water, the increase in partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in many instances is greater than that of the open ocean due to terrestrial (river, estuarine, and wetland) influences, decreasing buffering capacity and/or increasing water temperatures. Coastal oceans receive freshwater from rivers and groundwater as well as terrestrial-derived organic matter, both of which have a direct influence on coastal carbonate chemistry. The objective of this research is to determine if coastal marshes in Georgia, USA, may be “hot-spots” for acidification due to enhanced inorganic carbon sources and if there is terrestrial influence on offshore acidification in the South Atlantic Bight (SAB). The results of this study show that dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA) are elevated in the marshes compared to predictions from conservative mixing of the freshwater and oceanic end-members, with accompanying pH around 7.2 to 7.6 within the marshes and aragonite saturation states (ΩAr) <1. In the marshes, there is a strong relationship between the terrestrial/estuarine-derived organic and inorganic carbon and acidification. Comparisons of pH, TA, and DIC to terrestrial organic material markers, however, show that there is little influence of terrestrial-derived organic matter on shelf acidification during this period in 2014. In addition, ΩAr increases rapidly offshore, especially in drier months (July). River stream flow during 2014 was anomalously low compared to climatological means; therefore, offshore influences from terrestrial carbon could also be decreased. The SAB shelf may not be strongly influenced by terrestrial inputs to acidification during drier than normal periods; conversely, shelf waters that are well-buffered against acidification may not play a significant role in mitigating acidification within the Georgia marshes.

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A decade of marine inorganic carbon chemistry observations in the northern Gulf of Alaska – insights to an environment in transition

As elsewhere in the global ocean, the Gulf of Alaska is experiencing the rapid onset of ocean acidification (OA) driven by oceanic absorption of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In support of OA research and monitoring, we present here a data product of marine inorganic carbon chemistry parameters measured from seawater samples taken during biannual cruises between 2008 and 2017 in the northern Gulf of Alaska. Samples were collected each May and September over the 10–year period using a conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) profiler coupled with a Niskin bottle rosette at stations including a long–term hydrographic survey transect known as the Gulf of Alaska (GAK) Line. This dataset includes discrete seawater measurements such as dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity, which allows the calculation of other marine carbon parameters, including carbonate mineral saturation states, carbon dioxide (CO2), and pH. Cumulative daily Bakun upwelling indices illustrate the pattern of downwelling in the northern Gulf of Alaska, with a period of relaxation spanning between the May and September cruises. The observed time and space variability impart challenges for disentangling the OA signal despite this dataset spanning a decade. However, this data product greatly enhances our understanding of seasonal and interannual variability on the marine inorganic carbon system parameters. The product can also aid in the ground truthing of biogeochemical models, refining estimates of sea–air CO2 exchange, and determining appropriate CO2 parameter ranges for experiments targeting potentially vulnerable species. Data are available at (Monacci et al., 2023).

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The benthic-pelagic coupling affects the surface water carbonate system above groundwater-charged coastal sediments

Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) can be a significant source of dissolved nutrients, inorganic and organic carbon, and trace metals in the ocean and therefore can be a driver for the benthic-pelagic coupling. However, the influence of hypoxic or anoxic SGD on the carbonate system of coastal seawater is still poorly understood. In the present study, the production of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and alkalinity (AT) in coastal sediments has been investigated under the impact of oxygen-deficient SGD and was estimated based on the offset between the measured data and the conservative mixing of the end members. Production of AT and DIC was primarily caused by denitrification and sulphate reduction. The AT and DIC concentrations in SGD decreased by approximately 32% and 37% mainly due to mixing with seawater counterbalanced by reoxidation and CO2 release into the atmosphere. Total SGD-AT and SGD-DIC fluxes ranged from 0.1 to 0.2mol m-2 d-1 and from 0.2 to 0.3mol m-2 d-1, respectively. These fluxes are probably the reason why the seawater in the Bay of Puck is enriched in AT and DIC compared to the open waters of the Baltic Sea. Additionally, SGD had low pH and was undersaturated with respect to the forms of the aragonite and calcite minerals of CaCO3. The seawater of the Bay of Puck also turned out to be undersaturated in summer (Inner Bay) and fall (Outer Bay). We hypoth​e​size that SGD can potentially contribute to ocean acidification and affect the functioning of the calcifying invertebrates.

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The estuarine environment and pH variation: natural limits and experimental observation of the acidification effect on phosphorus bioavailability (in Portuguese)

This study shows the variation of pH in the Cananéia-Iguape Estuarine-Lagoon Complex (CIELC). Data from 3 years (2019, 2021, 2022) were obtained in 17 points presenting the following ranges: temperature (14.88-27.05 ºC), pH (7.16-8.40) and DIP (0.20-11.28 µmol L-1) along a saline gradient (0.05-32.09) under different hydrodynamics, biogeochemical processes and anthropogenic influence. The pH buffering capacity due to the presence of weak acid salts in saline water (S ≥ 30) was associated to the lowest DIP, decreasing with low salinity values, confirming the direct correlation among salinity and pH. The highest temperatures in the winter of 2021, corroborated with the abnormal climate event in that year. An in vitro experiment showed results of the interaction of PID and sediments with different textures, with and without the presence of the benthic microbiota under a considerable decreasing of the pH (acidification) in relation to the natural condition of this environment. The P sediment flux characterized Iguape sector as a P sink with or without biota, Ararapira sector as a P source with biota and Cananéia, as P source without biota. The salt water buffered the pH and sediment buffered DIP both associated to the biogeochemical and hydrodynamic processes contribute to the homeostasis in the system.

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Ocean acidification reduces iodide production by the marine diatom Chaetoceros sp. (CCMP 1690)


  • Ocean acidification had no effect on growth rates of the diatom Chaetoceros sp. CCMP (1690) but higher cell yield under high CO2.
  • Ocean acidifcation has the potential to inhibit the diatom-mediated iodate to iodide reduction process.
  • Iodide production was decoupled from iodate uptake and refute the proposed link between iodide produced and cell membrane permeability.


Phytoplankton in marine surface waters play a key role in the global iodine cycle. The biologically-mediated iodide production under future scenarios is limited. Here we compare growth, iodate to iodide conversion rate and membrane permeability in the diatom Chaetoceros sp. (CCMP 1690) grown under seawater carbonate chemistry conditions projected for 2100 (1000 ppm) and pre-industrial (280 ppm) conditions. We found no effect of CO2 on growth rates, but a significantly higher cell yield under high CO2, suggesting sustained growth from relief from carbon limitation. Cell normalised iodate uptake (16.73 ± 0.92 amol IO3 cell−1) and iodide production (8.61 ± 0.15 amol I cell−1) was lower in cultures grown at high pCO2 than those exposed to pre-industrial conditions (21.29 ± 2.37 amol IO3 cell−1, 11.91 ± 1.49 amol I cell−1, respectively). Correlating these measurements with membrane permeability, we were able to ascertain that iodide conversion rates were not linked to cell permeability and that the processes of mediated iodate loss and diatom-iodide formation are decoupled. These findings are the first to implicate OA in driving a potential shift in diatom-mediated iodate reduction. If our results are indicative of diatom-mediated iodine cycling in 2100, future surface ocean conditions could experience reduced rates of iodide production by Chaetoceros spp., potentially lowering iodide concentrations in ocean regions dominated by this group. These changes have the potential to impact ozone cycling and new particle formation in the atmosphere.

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The combined effect of pH and dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations on the physiology of plastidic ciliate Mesodinium rubrum and its cryptophyte prey

Ocean acidification is caused by rising atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) and involves a lowering of pH combined with increased concentrations of CO2 and dissolved in organic carbon in ocean waters. Many studies investigated the consequences of these combined changes on marine phytoplankton, yet only few attempted to separate the effects of decreased pH and increased pCO2. Moreover, studies typically target photoautotrophic phytoplankton, while little is known of plastidic protists that depend on the ingestion of plastids from their prey. Therefore, we studied the separate and interactive effects of pH and DIC levels on the plastidic ciliate Mesodinium rubrum, which is known to form red tides in coastal waters worldwide. Also, we tested the effects on their prey, which typically are cryptophytes belonging to the Teleaulax/Plagioslemis/Geminigera species complex. These cryptophytes not only serve as food for the ciliate, but also as a supplier of chloroplasts and prey nuclei. We exposed M. rubrum and the two cryptophyte species, T. acuta, T. amphioxeia to different pH (6.8 – 8) and DIC levels (∼ 6.5 – 26 mg C L-1) and assessed their growth and photosynthetic rates, and cellular chlorophyll a and elemental contents. Our findings did not show consistent significant effects across the ranges in pH and/or DIC, except for M. rubrum, for which growth was negatively affected only by the lowest pH of 6.8 combined with lower DIC concentrations. It thus seems that M. rubrum is largely resilient to changes in pH and DIC, and its blooms may not be strongly impacted by the changes in ocean carbonate chemistry projected for the end of the 21th century.

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Predicting the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s seaweed-based ecosystems

The impacts of global climate change are threatening the health and integrity of New Zealand’s seaweed ecosystems that provide crucial ecological, economic, and cultural benefits. Important species that comprise these ecosystems include canopy forming large brown algae (fucoids and kelp), and understorey species. Here we review current knowledge of the measured impacts of climate change stressors on New Zealand seaweeds. Ocean warming has driven increasing frequencies, durations, and intensities of marine heatwaves globally and in New Zealand. Significant negative impacts resulting from heatwaves have already been observed on New Zealand’s canopy forming brown algae (giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera and bull kelp Durvillaea spp.). We predict that ongoing ocean warming and associated marine heatwaves will alter the distributional range and basic physiology of many seaweed species, with poleward range shifts for many species. Increased extreme weather events causes accelerated erosion of sediments into the marine environment and re-suspension of these sediments, termed coastal darkening, which has reduced the growth rates and available vertical space on rocky reefs in New Zealand and is predicted to worsen in the future. Furthermore, ocean acidification will reduce the growth and recruitment of coralline algae, this may reduce the settlement success of many marine invertebrate larvae. Mechanistic underpinnings of the effects of multiple drivers occurring in combination is poorly described. Finally, local stressors, such as overfishing, will likely interact with global change in these ecosystems. Thus, we predict very different futures for New Zealand seaweed ecosystems depending on whether they are managed appropriately or not. Given recent increases in sea surface temperatures and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events in some regions of New Zealand, predicting the impacts of climate change on seaweeds and the important communities they support is becoming increasingly important for conserving resilient seaweed ecosystems in the future.

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Simultaneous warming and acidification limit population fitness and reveal phenotype costs for a marine copepod

Phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary adaptation allow populations to cope with global change, but limits and costs to adaptation under multiple stressors are insufficiently understood. We reared a foundational copepod species, Acartia hudsonica, under ambient (AM), ocean warming (OW), ocean acidification (OA), and combined ocean warming and acidification (OWA) conditions for 11 generations (approx. 1 year) and measured population fitness (net reproductive rate) derived from six life-history traits (egg production, hatching success, survival, development time, body size and sex ratio). Copepods under OW and OWA exhibited an initial approximately 40% fitness decline relative to AM, but fully recovered within four generations, consistent with an adaptive response and demonstrating synergy between stressors. At generation 11, however, fitness was approximately 24% lower for OWA compared with the AM lineage, consistent with the cost of producing OWA-adapted phenotypes. Fitness of the OWA lineage was not affected by reversal to AM or low food environments, indicating sustained phenotypic plasticity. These results mimic those of a congener, Acartia tonsa, while additionally suggesting that synergistic effects of simultaneous stressors exert costs that limit fitness recovery but can sustain plasticity. Thus, even when closely related species experience similar stressors, species-specific costs shape their unique adaptive responses.

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Physiological and ecological tipping points caused by ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is predicted to cause profound shifts in many marine ecosystems by impairing the ability of calcareous taxa to calcify and grow, and by influencing the photo-physiology of many others. In both calcifying and non-calcifying taxa, ocean acidification could further impair the ability of marine life to regulate internal pH, and thus metabolic function and/or behaviour. Identifying tipping points at which these effects will occur for different taxa due to the direct impacts of ocean acidification on organism physiology is difficult and they have not adequately been determined for most taxa, nor for ecosystems at higher levels. This is due to the presence of both resistant and sensitive species within most taxa. However, calcifying taxa such as coralline algae, corals, molluscs, and sea urchins appear to be most sensitive to ocean acidification. Conversely, non-calcareous seaweeds, seagrasses, diatoms, cephalopods, and fish tend to be more resistant, or even benefit from the direct effects of ocean acidification. While physiological tipping points of the effects of ocean acidification either do not exist or are not well defined, their direct effects on organism physiology will have flow on indirect effects. These indirect effects will cause ecologically tipping points in the future through changes in competition, herbivory and predation. Evidence for indirect effects and ecological change is mostly taken from benthic ecosystems in warm temperate–tropical locations in situ that have elevated CO2. Species abundances at these locations indicate a shift away from calcifying taxa and towards non-calcareous at high CO2 concentrations. For example, lower abundance of corals and coralline algae, and higher covers of non-calcareous macroalgae, often turfing species, at elevated CO2. However, there are some locations where only minor changes, or no detectable change occurs. Where ecological tipping points do occur, it is usually at locations with naturally elevated pCO2 concentrations of 500 μatm or more, which also corresponds to just under that concentrations where the direct physiological impacts of ocean acidification are detectable on the most sensitive taxa in laboratory research (coralline algae and corals). Collectively, the available data support the concern that ocean acidification will most likely cause ecological change in the near future in most benthic marine ecosystems, with tipping points in some ecosystems at as low as 500 μatm pCO2. However, much more further research is required to more adequately quantify and model the extent of these impacts in order to accurately project future marine ecosystem tipping points under ocean acidification.

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Differential reaction norms to ocean acidification in two oyster species from contrasting habitats

Ocean acidification (OA), a consequence of the increase in anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, causes major changes in the chemistry of carbonates in the ocean with deleterious effects on calcifying organisms. The pH/pCO2 range to which species are exposed in nature is important to consider when interpreting the response of coastal organisms to OA. In this context, emerging approaches, which assess the reaction norms of organisms to a wide pH gradient, are improving our understanding of tolerance thresholds and acclimation potential to OA. In this study, we decipher the reaction norms of two oyster species living in contrasting habitats: the intertidal oyster Crassostrea gigas and the subtidal flat oyster Ostrea edulis, which are two economically and ecologically valuable species in temperate ecosystems. Six-month-old oysters of each species were exposed in common garden for 48 days to a pH gradient ranging from 7.7 to 6.4 (total scale). Both species are tolerant down to a pH of 6.6 with high plasticity in fitness-related traits such as survival and growth. However, oysters undergo remodelling of membrane fatty acids to cope with decreasing pH along with shell bleaching impairing shell integrity and consequently animal fitness. Finally, our work reveals species-specific physiological responses and highlights that intertidal C. gigas seems to have a better acclimation potential to rapid and extreme OA changes than O. edulis. Overall, our study provides important data about the phenotypic plasticity and its limits in two oyster species, which is essential for assessing the challenges posed to marine organisms by OA.

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Ocean acidification influences the gene expression and physiology of two Caribbean bioeroding sponges

Introduction: Coral reef ecosystems are experiencing increased rates of carbonate dissolution due to losses in live coral cover coupled with the impacts of ocean acidification (OA) on coral reef calcifiers and bioeroders. While the stimulating effect of OA on bioerosion has been demonstrated experimentally, predominantly in the Pacific, the underlying physiological and molecular mechanisms behind the response are still poorly understood.

Methods: To address this, we subjected common zooxanthellate (Cliona varians) and azooxanthellate (Pione lampa) Caribbean sponges to pre-industrial (8.15 pH), present-day (8.05 pH), and two future OA scenarios (moderate OA, 7.85 pH; extreme OA, 7.75 pH) and evaluated their physiological and transcriptomic responses.

Results: The influence of OA on sponge bioerosion was nonlinear for both species, with the greatest total bioerosion and chemical dissolution rates found in the 7.85 pH treatment, then not increasing further under the more extreme 7.75 pH conditions. A trend towards reduced bioerosion rates in the 7.75 pH treatment occurred regardless of the presence of algal symbionts and suggests that the sponges may become physiologically impaired under prolonged OA exposure, resulting in diminished bioerosion potential. These findings were supported by the RNA-seq analysis, which revealed differentially expressed genes involved in a stress response to OA, in particular, suppressed metabolism.

Discussion: This may indicate that the sponges had reallocated energy resources towards more critical physiological needs in response to OA as a survival mechanism under stressful conditions. These data reveal that while the bioerosion rates of excavating sponges in Caribbean reef ecosystems may increase under moderate OA scenarios, this OA-stimulation may plateau or be lost at extreme end-of-century pH conditions, with implications for the dissolution and long-term persistence of reef habitat structures.

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Prolonged deep-ocean carbonate chemistry recovery after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum


  • N. truempyi B/Ca can be used to reconstruct the Early Cenozoic deep-water Ω.
  • PETM deep-water Ω recovery is slower than suggested by sedimentary %CaCO3.
  • PETM Ω recovery implies sustained carbon injection into the ocean-atmosphere system.


The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is a hyperthermal event at ∼56 Ma ago, caused by rapid and massive carbon releases into the ocean-atmosphere system. Currently, the PETM ocean acidification is mainly quantified in the surface ocean. By contrast, PETM carbonate chemistry changes of the deep ocean, a larger carbon reservoir, are largely qualitatively constrained by sedimentary calcium carbonate contents (%CaCO3). Here, we revisit a previously proposed method for quantifying Early Cenozoic deep-water carbonate chemistry, using boron to calcium ratios (B/Ca) in extinct benthic foraminifera Nuttallides truempyi (Brown et al., 2011). We show that calibrating core-top B/Ca in the extant relative of N. truempyi against deep-water calcite saturation degree (Ω, Ω = [CO32−] /[CO32−]saturated), rather than calcite saturation state (Δ[CO32−], Δ[CO32−] = [CO32−] – [CO32−]saturated) as originally proposed better reflects Early Cenozoic carbonate chemistry changes. Furthermore, we provide multiple deep-water Ω reconstructions paired with benthic foraminiferal carbon isotopes during the PETM. At two sites, deep-water Ω recovered synchronously with carbon isotopes but lagged the sedimentary %CaCO3 rebound, indicating a slower post-PETM deep-water Ω recovery than previously thought. This may imply that during the PETM recovery phase, carbon could have been injected into the ocean-atmosphere system, despite net carbon loss, over a prolonged period after the initial release. If so, during this period, carbon removal from the ocean via calcite burial on the seafloor in response to enhanced silicate weathering may be weakened, suggesting that more carbon was sequestered via other processes such as those related to organic carbon burial.

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Anthropogenic carbon estimation in the surface ocean from atmospheric CO2 fugacity at the BATS (Bermuda Atlantic time-series study) station

In surface seawater, it is usually very difficult to quantify anthropogenic carbon concentrations. Many processes (such as air-sea exchanges of gases and heat, biological activity, and mixing of water masses), are at play and often on different timescales. Thus, various hypotheses are used to estimate the anthropogenic concentrations in surface waters. Here, using the relatively long (1980s to present) time series data sets from the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study site (BATS; 31°40′N, 64°10′W) in the North Atlantic Ocean, we evaluate results based upon two different hypotheses. The results clearly confirm that it is very difficult to assess anthropogenic carbon concentrations in surface waters from sole oceanic properties. However, this study further indicates that at this ocean site, they can be appropriately determined from low-frequency variations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Consequently, the impact of anthropogenic carbon penetration in surface waters on their acidification could be predicted.

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Microbial communities inhabiting shallow hydrothermal vents as sentinels of acidification processes

Introduction: Shallow hydrothermal vents are considered natural laboratories to study the effects of acidification on biota, due to the consistent CO2 emissions with a consequent decrease in the local pH.

Methods: Here the microbial communities of water and sediment samples from Levante Bay (Vulcano Island) with different pH and redox conditions were explored by Next Generation Sequencing techniques. The taxonomic structure was elucidated and compared with previous studies from the same area in the last decades.

Results and discussion: The results revealed substantial shifts in the taxonomic structure of both bacterial and archaeal communities, with special relevance in the sediment samples, where the effects of external parameters probably act for a long time. The study demonstrates that microbial communities could be used as indicators of acidification processes, by shaping the entire biogeochemical balance of the ecosystem in response to stress factors. The study contributes to understanding how much these communities can tell us about future changes in marine ecosystems.

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Seasonal variability of the surface ocean carbon cycle: a synthesis


The seasonal cycle is the dominant mode of variability in the air-sea CO2 flux in most regions of the global ocean, yet discrepancies between different seasonality estimates are rather large. As part of the Regional Carbon Cycle Assessment and Processes phase 2 project (RECCAP2), we synthesize surface ocean pCO2 and air-sea CO2 flux seasonality from models and observation-based estimates, focusing on both a present-day climatology and decadal changes between the 1980s and 2010s. Four main findings emerge: First, global ocean biogeochemistry models (GOBMs) and observation-based estimates (pCO2 products) of surface pCO2 seasonality disagree in amplitude and phase, primarily due to discrepancies in the seasonal variability in surface DIC. Second, the seasonal cycle in pCO2 has increased in amplitude over the last three decades in both pCO2 products and GOBMs. Third, decadal increases in pCO2 seasonal cycle amplitudes in subtropical biomes for both pCO2 products and GOBMs are driven by increasing DIC concentrations stemming from the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 (Cant). In subpolar and Southern Ocean biomes, however, the seasonality change for GOBMs is dominated by Cant invasion, whereas for pCO2 products an indeterminate combination of Cant invasion and climate change modulates the changes. Fourth, biome-aggregated decadal changes in the amplitude of pCO2 seasonal variability are largely detectable against both mapping uncertainty (reducible) and natural variability uncertainty (irreducible), but not at the gridpoint scale over much of the northern subpolar oceans and over the Southern Ocean, underscoring the importance of sustained high-quality seasonally-resolved measurements over these regions.

Key Points

  • pCO2 seasonal cycle amplitude changes over 1985-2018 are detectable against both mapping uncertainty and natural variability uncertainty
  • The dominant driver of pCO2 amplitude increases over decadal timescales is attributed to the direct effect of Cant invasion
  • A discrepancy is found with surface DIC seasonality being systematically less in GOBMs than in surface DIC observation-based products
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Response of foraminifera Ammonia confertitesta (T6) to ocean acidification, warming, and deoxygenation – an experimental approach

Ocean acidification, warmer temperatures, and the expansion of hypoxic zones in coastal areas are direct consequences of the increase in anthropogenic activities. However, so far, the combined effects of these stressors on calcium carbonate-secreting marine microorganisms – foraminifera are complex and poorly understood. This study reports the foraminiferal survival behavior, and geochemical trace elements incorporation measured from the shells of living cultured benthic foraminifera from the Gullmar fjord (Sweden) after exposure to warming, acidification, and hypoxic conditions. An experimental set-up was designed with two different temperatures (fjord’s in-situ 9 ˚C and 14 ˚C), two different oxygen concentrations (oxic versus hypoxic), and three different pH (control, medium, and low pH based on the IPCC scenario for the year 2100). Duplicate aquariums, meaning aquariums displaying the same conditions and same number of species, were employed for the controls and the two lower pH conditions at both temperatures. The stability of the aquariums was ensured by regular measurement of the water parameters and confirmed by statistical analysis. The species Ammonia confertitesta’s (T6) survival (CTB-labeled), shell calcification (calcein-labeled), and geochemical analyses (laser-ablation ICP-MS) were investigated at the end of the experimental period (48 days). Investigated trace elements (TE) ratios were Mg/Ca, Mn/Ca, Ba/Ca, and Sr/ Ca. Results show that A. confertitesta (T6) calcified chambers in all the experimental conditions except for the most severe combination of stressors (i.e., warm, hypoxic, low pH). Survival rates varied by up to a factor of two between duplicates for all conditions suggesting that foraminiferal response may not solely be driven by environmental conditions but also by internal or confounding factors (e.g., physiological stress). A large variability of all the TE/Ca values of foraminifera growing at low pH is observed suggesting that A. confertitesta (T6) may struggle to calcify in these conditions. Thus, this study demonstrates the vulnerability of a resilient species to the triple-stressor scenario in terms of survival, calcification, and trace element incorporation. Overall, the experimental set-up yielded coherent results compared to previous studies in terms of ontogeny, trace elements ratios, and partition coefficient making it advantageous for environmental reconstructions. 

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Anthropogenic acidification of surface waters drives decreased biogenic calcification in the Mediterranean Sea

Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions directly or indirectly drive ocean acidification, warming and enhanced stratification. The combined effects of these processes on marine planktic calcifiers at decadal to centennial timescales are poorly understood. Here, we analyze size normalized planktic foraminiferal shell weight, shell geochemistry, and supporting proxies from 3 sediment cores in the Mediterranean Sea spanning several centuries. Our results allow us to investigate the response of surface-dwelling planktic foraminifera to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. We find that increased anthropogenic carbon dioxide levels led to basin wide reductions in size normalized weights by modulating foraminiferal calcification. Carbon (δ13C) and boron (δ11B) isotopic compositions also indicate the increasing influence of fossil fuel derived carbon dioxide and decreasing pH, respectively. Alkenone concentrations and test accumulation rates indicate that warming and changes in biological productivity are insufficient to offset acidification effects. We suggest that further increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will drive ongoing reductions in marine biogenic calcification in the Mediterranean Sea.

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Experimental ocean acidification and food limitation reveals altered energy budgets and synergistic effects on mortality of larvae of a coastal fish

Ocean acidification (OA) presents a unique challenge to early life stages of marine species. Developing organisms must balance the need to grow rapidly with the energetic demands of maintaining homeostasis. The small sizes of early life stages can make them highly sensitive to changes in environmental CO2 levels, but studies have found wide variation in responses to OA. Thus far most OA studies have manipulated CO2 only, and modifying factors need to be considered in greater detail. We investigated the effects of high pCO2 and food ration on rates of growth and mortality of a coastal fish, the California Grunion (Leuresthes tenuis). We also examined how CO2 and food levels affected feeding success, metabolic rate, and swimming activity – processes reflective of energy acquisition and expenditure. In general, exposure to high CO2 decreased energy intake by reducing feeding success, and increased energy expenditure by increasing metabolic rate and routine swimming speed, though the magnitudes of these effects varied somewhat with age. Despite these changes in energetics, growth of biomass was not affected significantly by pCO2 level but was reduced by low ration level, and we did not detect an interactive effect of food ration and pCO2 on growth. However, under OA conditions, larvae were in poorer condition (as evaluated by the mass to length ratio) by the end of the experiment and our analysis of mortality revealed a significant interaction in which the effects of OA were more lethal when food energy was limited. These results are consistent with the idea that although energy can be reallocated to preserve biomass growth, increased energetic demand under ocean acidification may draw energy away from maintenance, including those processes that foster homeostasis during development. Overall, these results highlight both the need to consider the availability of food energy as a force governing species’ responses to ocean acidification and the need to explicitly consider the energy allocated to both growth and maintenance as climate changes.

Continue reading ‘Experimental ocean acidification and food limitation reveals altered energy budgets and synergistic effects on mortality of larvae of a coastal fish’

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