Posts Tagged 'biogeochemistry'

Carbonate dissolution by reef microbial borers: a biogeological process producing alkalinity under different pCO2 conditions

Rising atmospheric CO2 is acidifying the world’s oceans, affecting both calcification and dissolution processes in coral reefs. Among processes, carbonate dissolution by bioeroding microflora has been overlooked, and especially its impact on seawater alkalinity. To date, this biogeological process has only been studied using microscopy or buoyant weight techniques. To better understand its possible effect on seawater alkalinity, and thus on reef carbonate budget, an experiment was conducted under various seawater chemistry conditions (2 ≤ Ωarag ≤ 3.5 corresponding to 440 ≤ pCO2 (µatm) ≤ 940) at 25 °C under night and daylight (200 µmol photons m−2 s−1) with natural microboring communities colonizing dead coral blocks (New Caledonia). Both the alkalinity anomaly technique and microscopy methods were used to study the activity of those communities dominated by the chlorophyte Ostreobium sp. Results show that (1) the amount of alkalinity released in seawater by such communities is significant and varies between 12.8 ± 0.7 at ΩArag ~ 2 and 5.6 ± 0.4 mmol CaCO3 m−2 day−1 at ΩArag ~ 3–3.5 considering a 12:12 photoperiod; (2) although dissolution is higher at night (~ 80 vs. 20% during daylight), the process can occur under significant photosynthetic activity; and (3) the process is greatly stimulated when an acidity threshold is reached (pCO2 ≥ 920 µatm vs. current conditions at constant light intensity). We show that carbonate dissolution by microborers is a major biogeochemical process that could dissolve a large part of the carbonates deposited by calcifying organisms under ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Carbonate dissolution by reef microbial borers: a biogeological process producing alkalinity under different pCO2 conditions’

Effect of growth rate and pH on lithium incorporation in calcite

Carbonates are only a minor sink of oceanic lithium, yet the presence of this element and its abundance relative to other metal cations in natural carbonate minerals is routinely used as a paleo-environmental proxy. To date, however, experimental studies on the influence of physicochemical parameters that may control lithium incorporation in calcite, like pH and precipitation rate, are scarce. Therefore, we experimentally studied Li incorporation in calcite to quantify the apparent partitioning coefficient (DLi∗=cLi/cCacalcitemLi+/mCa2+solution) between calcite and reactive fluid as a function of calcite growth rate and pH. The obtained results suggest that increases with calcite growth rate, according to the expression:

LogDLi∗=1.331(±0.116)×LogRate+6.371(±0.880)(R2=0.87;10-8.1≤Rate≤10-7.1molm-2s-1)

Additionally the experimental results suggest that values exhibit a strong pH dependence. For experiments conducted at similar growth rates (i.e. Rate=10-7.7±0.2 mol m-2 s-1) DLi∗, decreases with increasing pH as described by:

LogDLi∗=-0.57(±0.047)×pH+0.759(±0.366)(R2=0.90;6.3<pH<9.5)

The positive correlation of with calcite growth rate is consistent with an increasing entrapment of traces/impurities at rapidly growing calcite surfaces, although the incorporation of monovalent cations such as Li+ and Na+ does not necessarily imply a substitution of Ca2+ ions in the calcite crystal lattice. The dependence of on pH can be considered as an indication that activity of aqueous HCO3- controls the incorporation of Li+ in calcite. The proposed coupled reaction can be explained by charge balance of these monovalent species, which is likely valid at least during the initial step of adsorption on the crystal surface. These new findings shed light on the mechanisms controlling Li incorporation in calcite and have direct implications on the use of Li partitioning coefficients in natural carbonates as an environmental proxy.

Continue reading ‘Effect of growth rate and pH on lithium incorporation in calcite’

Ecosystem calcification and production in two Great Barrier Reef coral reefs: methodological challenges and environmental drivers

This thesis investigates the drivers of coral reef ecosystem metabolism and the abilities of the different methodologies and analytical approaches to accurately represent reef dynamics. It encompassed tracing natural nutrient additions through bird guano into a coral cay. Developing a new, automated system for measuring carbonate chemistry for coral reef metabolism and the effects of mass coral bleaching on ecosystem functioning were quantified. Overall, it showed that natural nutrient additions and bleaching differentially affect coral reef metabolism and that subtle differences in analytical methods, sampling approaches, and data interpretation techniques can cause significant variation in metabolic estimates.

Continue reading ‘Ecosystem calcification and production in two Great Barrier Reef coral reefs: methodological challenges and environmental drivers’

Carbon outwelling and emissions from two contrasting mangrove creeks during the monsoon storm season in Palau, Micronesia

Mangroves sequester large amounts of carbon in soils but limited information is available on carbon losses from tropical mangrove systems. Here we quantify carbon outwelling, CO2 emissions and pore-water exchange rates from two nearby (∼2 km apart) tropical mangrove creeks located in different geomorphic settings on the island of Palau, Micronesia during the monsoonal storm season. On average, POC and pCO2 were >100% higher and DOC, DIC and TA were 62%, 25%, 16% higher, respectively, from Creek 1 (located within a semi-enclosed bay) than from Creek 2 (located along the coast adjacent to fringing reefs). Both creeks were net exporters of DIC, DOC, POC and emitters of CO2. However, outwelling rates of POC, DIC and DOC and CO2 emissions were 27-fold, 8-fold, 4-fold and 3-fold higher at Creek 1. DIC outwelling (37%) and CO2 emissions (39%) were the major terms contributing to total carbon losses at Creek 1, whilst CO2 emission (61%) was the major contributor at Creek 2. Monsoon storms appeared to explain the organic carbon dynamics whilst tidal pumping appears to drive the inorganic carbon dynamics at both creeks. Our data demonstrates the considerable heterogeneity of mangroves creeks that are in close proximity and subject to similar weather conditions but in differing geomorphological settings.

Continue reading ‘Carbon outwelling and emissions from two contrasting mangrove creeks during the monsoon storm season in Palau, Micronesia’

Impact of temperature, CO2, and iron on nutrient uptake by a late-season microbial community from the Ross Sea, Antarctica

The Southern Ocean is rapidly changing as a result of rising sea surface temperatures, elevated CO2 concentrations, and modifications to iron sources and sinks. The Southern Ocean has seasonally high rates of primary production, making it critical to determine how changes will impact biogeochemical rate processes in this important sink for CO2. During the austral summer, we measured nitrogen and carbon uptake rates by a late-season Ross Sea microbial community under different potential climate change conditions. A natural microbial assemblage was collected from the ice edge, and grown using a semi-continuous culturing followed by a continuous culturing ‘ecostat’ approach. The individual and combined impacts of temperature elevation and iron addition were tested during both approaches, and CO2 level was also manipulated during the continuous experiment. Nutrient concentrations and biomass parameters were measured throughout both experiments. During the continuous experiment we also measured uptake rates of nitrate (NO3-) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) by 2 size classes (0.7-5.0 and >5.0 µm) of microorganisms. Of the parameters tested, temperature elevation had the largest impact, significantly increasing NO3- and DIC uptake rates by larger microorganisms. Iron addition was also important; however, the magnitude of its impact was greater when temperature was also changed. These results indicate that NO3- and DIC uptake rates may increase as sea surface warming occurs in the Southern Ocean, and thus have important implications for estimating new production and potential carbon uptake and eventual export to the deep sea.

Continue reading ‘Impact of temperature, CO2, and iron on nutrient uptake by a late-season microbial community from the Ross Sea, Antarctica’

Modeled effect of coastal biogeochemical processes, climate variability, and ocean acidification on aragonite saturation state in the Bering Sea

The Bering Sea is highly vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA) due to naturally cold, poorly buffered waters and ocean mixing processes. Harsh weather conditions within this rapidly changing, geographically remote environment have limited the quantity of carbon chemistry data, thereby hampering efforts to understand underlying spatial-temporal variability and detect long-term trends. We add carbonate chemistry to a regional biogeochemical model of the Bering Sea to explore the underlying mechanisms driving carbon dynamics over a decadal hindcast (2003–2012). The results illustrate that coastal processes generate considerable spatial variability in the biogeochemistry and vulnerability of Bering Sea shelf water to OA. Substantial seasonal biological productivity maintains high supersaturation of aragonite on the outer shelf, whereas riverine freshwater runoff loaded with allochthonous carbon decreases aragonite saturation states (ΩArag) to values below 1 on the inner shelf. Over the entire 2003–2012 model hindcast, annual surface ΩArag decreases by 0.025 – 0.04 units/year due to positive trends in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in surface waters and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). Variability in this trend is driven by an increase in fall phytoplankton productivity and shelf carbon uptake, occurring during a transition from a relatively warm (2003–2005) to cold (2010–2012) temperature regime. Our results illustrate how local biogeochemical processes and climate variability can modify projected rates of OA within a coastal shelf system.

Continue reading ‘Modeled effect of coastal biogeochemical processes, climate variability, and ocean acidification on aragonite saturation state in the Bering Sea’

Effects of higher CO2 and temperature on exopolymer particle content and physical properties of marine aggregates

We investigated how future ocean conditions, and specifically the interaction between temperature and CO2, might affect marine aggregate formation and physical properties. Initially, mesocosms filled with coastal seawater were subjected to three different treatments of CO2 concentration and temperature: (1) 750 ppm CO2, 16°C, (2) 750 ppm CO2, 20°C, and (3) 390 ppm CO2, 16°C. Diatom-dominated phytoplankton blooms were induced in the mesocosms by addition of nutrients. In aggregates produced in roller tanks using seawater taken from the mesocosms during different stages of the bloom, we measured sinking velocity, size, chlorophyll a, particulate organic carbon and nitrogen, and exopolymer particle content; excess density and mass were calculated from the sinking velocity and size of the aggregates. As has been seen in previous experiments, no discernable differences in overall nutrient uptake, chlorophyll-a concentration, or exopolymer particle concentrations could be related to the acidification treatment in the mesocosms. In addition, in the aggregates formed during the roller tank experiments (RTEs), we observed no statistically significant differences in chemical composition among the treatments during Pre-Bloom, Bloom, and Post-Bloom periods. However, physical characteristics were different and showed a synergistic effect of warmer temperature and higher CO2 during the Pre-Bloom period; at this time, temperature had a larger effect than CO2 on aggregate sinking velocity. In RTEs with warmer and acidified treatment (future conditions), aggregates were larger, heavier, and settled faster than aggregates formed at present-day or only acidified conditions. During the Post-Bloom, however, aggregates formed under present and future conditions had similar physical properties. In acidified tanks at ambient temperature, aggregates were slower, smaller and less dense than those formed at the same temperature but under present CO2 or under warmer and acidified conditions. Thus, the sinking velocity of aggregates formed in acidified tanks at ambient temperature was slower than the other two cases. Our findings point out the potential of ocean acidification and warming to modify physical properties of sinking aggregates but also emphasize the need of future experiments investigating multiple environmental stressors to clarify the importance of each factor.

Continue reading ‘Effects of higher CO2 and temperature on exopolymer particle content and physical properties of marine aggregates’


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