Posts Tagged 'biogeochemistry'

Late-summer biogeochemistry in the Mertz Polynya: East Antarctica

A marked reconfiguration of the Mertz Polynya following the 2010 calving of the Mertz Glacier Tongue has been associated with a decrease in the size and activity of the polynya. We report observations of the oceanic carbonate (CO2) system in late-summer 2013, the third post-calving summer season. Estimates of seasonal net community production (NCP) based on inorganic carbon deficits and the oxygen-argon ratio indicate that the waters on the shelf to the east of Commonwealth Bay (adjacent to the Mertz Glacier) remain productive compared to pre-calving conditions. The input of residual or excess alkalinity from melting sea ice is found to contribute to the seasonal enhancement of carbonate saturation state and pH in shelf waters. Mean rates of NCP in 2012–2013 are more than twice as large as those observed in the pre-calving summers of 2001 and 2008 and suggest that the new (post-calving) configuration of the polynya favors enhanced net community production and a stronger surface ocean sink for atmospheric CO2 due at least in part to the redistribution of sea ice and associated changes in summer surface stratification.

Continue reading ‘Late-summer biogeochemistry in the Mertz Polynya: East Antarctica’

Acidification mediated by a river plume and coastal upwelling on a fringing reef at the east coast of Hainan Island, Northern South China Sea

We investigated the dynamics of carbonate system which was greatly modulated by a river plume and coastal upwelling in July 2014 and July 2015 at the east coast of Hainan Island where a fringing reef distributes inshore. By using a three end-member mixing model, we semiquantitatively estimated the removal of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) mediated by biological production in the river plume and upwelled water to be 13 ± 17 and 15 ± 16 μmol kg−1, respectively. The enhanced organic production was mainly responsible for these DIC consumptions in both two regimes, however, nearly a half of DIC removal was attributed to biocalcification in the plume system while it was negligible in the upwelling system. Furthermore, the modeled results over reefs revealed that river plume and coastal upwelling were two major threats of acidification to coral communities at the east coast of Hainan Island during cruises. In comparison, the biological contribution to acidification was limited for balancing between organic production and biocalcification during July 2014 cruise, whereas the acidification was greatly intensified by organic degradation during July 2015 cruise. It was verified that naturally local acidification (physical and biological processes) played a major role in great pH decreases on a short-term scale, leading to coastal waters more vulnerable to anthropogenic “ocean acidification” (uptake of atmospheric CO2) by reducing buffering capacity of waters. Finally, effects of acidification associated with other local threats on a fringing reef were further depicted with a conceptual model.

Continue reading ‘Acidification mediated by a river plume and coastal upwelling on a fringing reef at the east coast of Hainan Island, Northern South China Sea’

Tidally-induced variations of pH at the head of the Laurentian Channel

The head of the Laurentian Channel (LC) is a very dynamic region of exceptional biological richness. To evaluate the impact of freshwater discharge, tidal mixing, and biological activity on the pH of surface waters in this region, a suite of physical and chemical variables was measured throughout the water column over two tidal cycles. The relative contributions to the water column of the four source-water types that converge in this region were evaluated using an optimum multi-parameter algorithm (OMP). Results of the OMP analysis were used to reconstruct the water column properties assuming conservative mixing, and the difference between the model properties and field measurements served to identify factors that control the pH of the surface waters. These surface waters are generally undersaturated with respect to aragonite, mostly due to the intrusion of waters from the Upper St. Lawrence Estuary and the Saguenay Fjord. The presence of a cold intermediate layer impedes the upwelling of the deeper, hypoxic, lower pH and aragonite-undersaturated waters of the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary to depths shallower than 50 meters.

Continue reading ‘Tidally-induced variations of pH at the head of the Laurentian Channel’

Dissolution of abiogenic and biogenic calcium carbonate under ocean acidification conditions

Under ocean acidification conditions, the chemistry of the seawater will change including a decrease in pH, a decrease in carbonate ion concentration and a decrease in the calcium carbonate saturation state of the water (Ω). This has implications for solid marine calcium carbonates including calcifying organisms and carbonate sediments. The dissolution kinetics of marine carbonates are poorly understood, therefore modelling of the future ocean under ocean acidification scenarios is hampered. The goal of this research was to provide an increased understanding of the kinetics of marine carbonate dissolution, including dependence of the dissolution rate of calcium carbonate mineral phases (calcite, calcite-aragonite, low Mg-calcite) on conditions relevant to ocean acidification, and then to apply this to biogenic samples (Pāua, kina and oyster). The effects of saturation state (Ω), surface area, and temperature were studied. Two methods were refined and used to collect and analyze the dissolution data – a pH-stat method and a pH free-drift method, with manipulation of the carbonate chemistry by addition of NaHCO3 and HCl. A LabVIEW® based program was developed for instrument control and automation and for data acquisition. The empirical equation R = k(1-Ω)n, was used to determine the reaction rates (R), the rate constants (k) and the reaction orders (n) for the each of the mineral phases and shellfish species.

Continue reading ‘Dissolution of abiogenic and biogenic calcium carbonate under ocean acidification conditions’

Intense pCO2 and [O2] oscillations in a mussel-seagrass habitat: implications for calcification

Numerous studies have been conducted on the effect of ocean acidification on calcifiers inhabiting nearshore benthic habitats, such as the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. The majority of these experiments was performed under stable CO2 partial pressure (pCO2), carbonate chemistry and oxygen (O2) levels, reflecting present or expected future open ocean conditions. Consequently, levels and variations occurring in coastal habitats, due to biotic and abiotic processes, were mostly neglected, even though these variations largely override global long-term trends. To highlight this hiatus and guide future research, state-of-the-art technologies were deployed to obtain high-resolution time series of pCO2 and [O2] on a mussel patch within a Zostera marina seagrass bed, in Kiel Bay (western Baltic Sea) in August and September 2013. Combining the in situ data with results of discrete sample measurements, a full seawater carbonate chemistry was derived using statistical models. An average pCO2 more than 50 % (~ 640 µatm) higher than current atmospheric levels was found right above the mussel patch. Diel amplitudes of pCO2 were large: 765 ± 310 (mean ± SD). Corrosive conditions for calcium carbonates (Ωarag and Ωcalc < 1) centered on sunrise were found, but the investigated habitat never experienced hypoxia throughout the study period. It is estimated that mussels experience conditions limiting calcification for 12–15 h per day, based on a regional calcium carbonate concentration physiological threshold. Our findings call for more extensive experiments on the impact of fluctuating corrosive conditions on mussels. We also stress the complexity of the interpretation of carbonate chemistry time series data in such dynamic coastal environments.
Continue reading ‘Intense pCO2 and [O2] oscillations in a mussel-seagrass habitat: implications for calcification’

Overcalcified forms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in high CO2 waters are not pre-adapted to ocean acidification

Marine multicellular organisms inhabiting waters with natural high fluctuations in pH appear more tolerant to acidification than conspecifics occurring in nearby stable waters, suggesting that environments of fluctuating pH hold genetic reservoirs for adaptation of key groups to ocean acidification (OA). The abundant and cosmopolitan calcifying phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi exhibits a range of morphotypes with varying degrees of coccolith mineralization. We show that E. huxleyi populations in the naturally acidified upwelling waters of the Eastern South Pacific, where pH drops below 7.8 as is predicted for the global surface ocean by the year 2100, are dominated by exceptionally overcalcified morphotypes whose distal coccolith shield can be almost solid calcite. Shifts in morphotype composition of E. huxleyi populations correlate with changes in carbonate system parameters. We tested if these correlations indicate that the hypercalcified morphotype is adapted to OA. In experimental exposures to present-day vs. future pCO2 (400 µatm vs. 1200 µatm), the overcalcified morphotypes showed the same growth inhibition (−29.1 ± 6.3 %) as moderately calcified morphotypes isolated from non-acidified water (−30.7 ± 8.8 %). Under OA conditions, production rates of particulate organic carbon (POC) increased, while production rates of particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) were maintained or decreased slightly (but not significantly), leading to lowered PIC/POC ratios in all strains. There were no consistent correlations of response intensity with strain origin. OA affected coccolith morphology equally or more strongly in overcalcified strains compared to moderately calcified strains. OA conditions appear not to directly select for exceptionally overcalcified morphotypes over other morphotypes directly, but perhaps indirectly by ecologically correlated factors. More generally, these results suggest that oceanic planktonic microorganisms, despite their rapid turn-over and large population sizes, do not necessarily exhibit adaptations to naturally high CO2 upwellings, and this ubiquitous coccolithophore may be near a limit of its capacity to adapt to ongoing ocean acidification.
Continue reading ‘Overcalcified forms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in high CO2 waters are not pre-adapted to ocean acidification’

The influence of high pCO2 on otolith shape, chemical and carbon isotope composition of six coastal fish species in a Mediterranean shallow CO2 vent

Naturally acidified environments, such as CO2 vents, are important sites to evaluate the potential effects of increased ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and biota. Here we assessed the effect of high CO2/low pH on otolith shape and chemical composition of six coastal fish species (Chromis chromis, Coris julis, Diplodus vulgaris, Gobius bucchichi, Sarpa salpa, Symphodus ocellatus) in a Mediterranean shallow CO2 vent. Taking into consideration the major and trace elements found near the vent and the gradient of dissolved inorganic carbon, we compared the otolith chemical signatures of fish exposed long-term to elevated CO2 emissions and reduced pH (mean pH 7.8) against fish living in two control sites (mean pH 8.2). A number of element:Ca ratios (Na:Ca, Mg:Ca, Mn:Ca, Cu:Ca, Zn:Ca, Sr:Ca, Ba:Ca and Pb:Ca), along with isotope ratios, were measured in otoliths (δ13C and δ18O) and water (δ13CDIC) samples. Additionally, we performed otolith outline shape and morphometric analysis to evaluate the effect of high CO2/low pH. We observed species-specific responses with regards to both shape and chemical signatures. Significant differences among sites were found in otolith shape (elliptical Fourier descriptors) of G. bucchichi and D. vulgaris. Elemental and isotopic signatures were also significantly different in these site attached species, though not for the other four. Overall, the carbon isotopic composition seems a good proxy to follow pH gradient in naturally acidified area. Ultimately, besides improving our knowledge of the effects of high CO2/low pH on otoliths, the present results contribute to our understanding on their use as natural tags.

Continue reading ‘The influence of high pCO2 on otolith shape, chemical and carbon isotope composition of six coastal fish species in a Mediterranean shallow CO2 vent’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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