Posts Tagged 'biogeochemistry'

Retrieving monthly and interannual total-scale pH (pHT) on theEast China Sea shelf using an artificial neural network:ANN-pHT-v1 (update)

While our understanding of pH dynamics has strongly progressed for open-ocean regions, for marginal seas such as the East China Sea (ECS) shelf progress has been constrained by limited observations and complex interactions between biological, physical and chemical processes. Seawater pH is a very valuable oceanographic variable but not always measured using high-quality instrumentation and according to standard practices. In order to predict total-scale pH (pH(T)) and enhance our understanding of the seasonal variability of pHT on the ECS shelf, an artificial neural network (ANN) model was developed using 11 cruise datasets from 2013 to 2017 with coincident observations of pHT, temperature (T), salinity (S), dissolved oxygen (DO), nitrate (N), phosphate (P) and silicate (Si) together with sampling position and time. The reliability of the ANN model was evaluated using independent observations from three cruises in 2018, and it showed a root mean square error accuracy of 0.04. The ANN model responded to T and DO errors in a positive way and S errors in a negative way, and the ANN model was most sensitive to S errors, followed by DO and T errors. Monthly water column pHT for the period 2000-2016 was retrieved using T, S, DO, N, P and Si from the Changjiang biology Finite-Volume Coastal Ocean Model (FVCOM). The agreement is good here in winter, while the reduced performance in summer can be attributed in large part to limitations of the Changjiang biology FVCOM in simulating summertime input variables.

Continue reading ‘Retrieving monthly and interannual total-scale pH (pHT) on theEast China Sea shelf using an artificial neural network:ANN-pHT-v1 (update)’

Estuarine conditions more than pH modulate the physiological flexibility of mussel Perumytilus purpuratus populations


  • Living under estuarine conditions causes physiological stress.
  • Estuarine conditions more than pH modulated the mussel performance and phenotypic plasticity.
  • Environmental variability of the habitat determines the phenotypic plasticity.
  • Environmental conditions of native habitats define the sensibility to climate change stressors.


Coasts and their marine biota are exposed to major environmental heterogeneity as a consequence of natural drivers and anthropogenic stressors. Here, individuals of the mussel Perumytilus purpuratus from two different geographical populations exposed to contrasting environmental conditions (i.e. estuarine versus open coastal conditions) were used in a reciprocal transplant and a laboratory experiment in order to differential levels of local adaptation to their native sites, and sensibility to ocean acidification. After characterizing environmentally the two study sites, a set of life-history traits, as well as an estimated of the level of phenotypic plasticity were determined for both mussel populations. From the reciprocal transplant experiment, we observed that mussels originally coming from the estuarine habitat exhibited a distinctive performance pattern usually associated to physiological stress (i.e. higher metabolic rates, lower calcification and growth rates) leading also to important physiological trade-offs, and higher levels of phenotypic plasticity. Alternatively, mussels originating from the open coastal site showed lower physiological phenotypic plasticity suggesting a high grade of local adaptation. Contrary to expected, both populations responded very similar to lower pH conditions (i.e. increased metabolic rates with no important effects on growth and calcification, and lower physiological phenotypic plasticity). The study results indicated that overall estuarine conditions more than isolated pH would be modulating the performance and the level of phenotypic plasticity of the different P. purpuratus geographical populations studied. Our study also emphasizes the necessity of characterizing phenotypic plasticity under multiple-driver environments in order to cast more accurate predictions about the susceptibility of marine biota to future climate stressors such as the ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Estuarine conditions more than pH modulate the physiological flexibility of mussel Perumytilus purpuratus populations’

A unique diel pattern in carbonate chemistry in the seagrass meadows of Dongsha island: implications for ocean acidification buffering

In contrast to most seagrass meadows where seawater carbonate chemistry generally shows strong diel variations with a higher pH during the daytime and a lower pH during nighttime due to the alternation in photosynthesis and respiration, the seagrass meadows of the inner lagoon on Dongsha Island had a unique diel pattern with an extremely high pH across a diel cycle. We suggest that this distinct diel pattern in pH was a result of a combination of total alkalinity (TA) production through the coupling of aerobic/anaerobic respiration and carbonate dissolution in the sediments and dissolved inorganic carbon consumption through the high productivity of seagrasses in overlying seawaters. The confinement of the semienclosed inner lagoon may hamper water exchange and seagrass detritus export to the adjacent open ocean, which may provide an ideal scenario for sedimentary TA production and accumulation, thereby forming a strong capacity for seagrass meadows to buffer ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘A unique diel pattern in carbonate chemistry in the seagrass meadows of Dongsha island: implications for ocean acidification buffering’

Coastal ocean acidification: dynamics and potential to affect marine mollusks

Coastal marine ecosystems are both ecologically and economically productive, and as human coastal populations expand, these critical habitats have become subject to a suite of anthropogenic stressors. During the past century, the progressive rise in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) entering world oceans has decreased ocean pH and caused ocean acidification. An additional and often overlooked cause of acidification in coastal zones is the production of CO2 via microbial degradation of organic matter. Nutrient loading in coastal ecosystems facilitates enhanced algal productivity and the subsequent decomposition of this algal biomass reduces oxygen levels and can promote hypoxia. The precise temporal and spatial dynamics of acidification and hypoxia as well as their potential effects on resource bivalves are not well described in most coastal waters. Here, to evaluate the status of aquatic acidification in coastal systems, I examine the seasonal, diel, and high-resolution spatiotemporal dynamics of carbonate chemistry and dissolved oxygen (DO) over a six year period in multiple northeast US estuaries and across multiple coastal habitats that host keystone marine species while concurrently quantifying the growth and survival of multiple early life stage suspension feeding bivalves. To assess the potential for acidification in eutrophic estuaries, the levels of DO, pH, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2), and the saturation state of aragonite (ΩAr) were iv horizontally and vertically assessed during the onset, peak, and demise of low oxygen conditions in systems across the northeast US including Narragansett Bay (RI), Long Island Sound (CTNY), Jamaica Bay (NY), and Hempstead Bay (NY). Hypoxic waters and/or regions in close proximity to sewage discharge had extremely high levels of pCO2, (> 3,000 µatm), acidic pH (< 7.0), and were undersaturated with respect to aragonite (ΩAr < 1). The close spatial and temporal correspondence between DO and pH and the occurrence of extremes in these conditions in regions with the most intense nutrient loading indicated that they were driven primarily by enhanced microbial respiration relative to physical exchange processes. Next, I quantified the temporal and spatial dynamics of DO, carbonate chemistry, and net ecosystem metabolism (NEM) from spring through fall in multiple, distinct, temperate estuarine habitats: seagrass meadows, salt marshes, an open water estuary, and a shallow water habitat dominated by benthic macroalgae. All habitats displayed clear diurnal patterns of pH and DO, with minimums observed during early morning and maximums observed in the afternoon where diel ranges in pH and DO varied by site. NEM across habitats ranged from net autotrophic (macroalgae and seagrass) to metabolically balanced (open water) and net heterotrophic (salt marsh). Each habitat examined exhibited distinct buffering capacities that varied seasonally and were modulated by adjacent biological activity and variations in total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). I utilized continuous monitoring devices to characterize the diurnal dynamics of DO and carbonate chemistry from spring through fall across two, temperate eutrophic estuaries, western Long Island Sound and Jamaica Bay, NY. Vertical dynamics were resolved using an underway towing profiler and an automated stationary profiling unit. During the study, high rates of respiration in surface and bottom waters (> -0.2 mg O2 L -1 h -1 ) were observed where ephemeral surface water algal blooms caused brief periods of basification and supersaturation of DO that v were succeeded by periods of acidification and hypoxia. Diurnal vertical profiles demonstrated that oxic surface waters saturated with respect to calcium carbonate (aragonite) during the day transitioned to being unsaturated and hypoxic at night. Evidence is presented that, beyond respiration, nitrification of surface water strongly influenced by sewage discharge and oxidation processes in sediments can also contribute to acidification in these estuaries. Finally, the growth and survival of three bivalve species (Argopecten irradians, Crassostrea virginica, Mytilus edulis) were examined in an in-situ CO2 enrichment system deployed in a seagrass meadow and an open water estuary, and across a natural eutrophication gradient in Jamaica Bay, NY. In the seagrass meadow, the growth and survival of C. virginica and A. irradians significantly declined during the late summer in response to CO2 gas injection. During the open water CO2 enrichment experiment, all three species of bivalves exhibited depressed growth within the acidified chambers with no significant difference in mortality between treatments. In Jamaica Bay, dense phytoplankton blooms in the early summer decreased CO2 and increased DO creating spatial refuges for bivalves where growth rates were enhanced, but by the late summer, trends reversed as bivalve growth was depressed at these same locations due to the onset of acidification and hypoxia. Collectively, this dissertation has identified coastal ocean acidification as a symptom of eutrophication that can threaten marine bivalve populations.

Continue reading ‘Coastal ocean acidification: dynamics and potential to affect marine mollusks’

ARIOS: a database for ocean acidification assessment in the Iberian upwelling system (1976–2018) (update)

A data product of 17 653 discrete samples from 3343 oceanographic stations combining measurements of pH, alkalinity and other biogeochemical parameters off the northwestern Iberian Peninsula from June 1976 to September 2018 is presented in this study. The oceanography cruises funded by 24 projects were primarily carried out in the Ría de Vigo coastal inlet but also in an area ranging from the Bay of Biscay to the Portuguese coast. The robust seasonal cycles and long-term trends were only calculated along a longitudinal section, gathering data from the coastal and oceanic zone of the Iberian upwelling system. The pH in the surface waters of these separated regions, which were highly variable due to intense photosynthesis and the remineralization of organic matter, showed an interannual acidification ranging from −0.0012 to −0.0039 yr−1 that grew towards the coastline. This result is obtained despite the buffering capacity increasing in the coastal waters further inland as shown by the increase in alkalinity by 1.1±0.7 and 2.6±1.0 µmol kg−1 yr−1 in the inner and outer Ría de Vigo respectively, driven by interannual changes in the surface salinity of 0.0193±0.0056 and 0.0426±0.016 psu yr−1 respectively. The loss of the vertical salinity gradient in the long-term trend in the inner ria was consistent with other significant biogeochemical changes such as a lower oxygen concentration and fertilization of the surface waters. These findings seem to be related to a growing footprint of sediment remineralization of organic matter in the surface layer of a more homogeneous water column.

Continue reading ‘ARIOS: a database for ocean acidification assessment in the Iberian upwelling system (1976–2018) (update)’

Seasonal variations of carbonate chemistry at two Western Atlantic coral reefs

Time series from open ocean fixed stations have robustly documented secular changes in carbonate chemistry and long‐term ocean acidification (OA) trends as a direct response to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). However, few high‐frequency coastal carbon time series are available in reef systems, where most affected tropical marine organisms reside. Seasonal variations in carbonate chemistry at Cheeca Rocks (CR), Florida, and La Parguera (LP), Puerto Rico, are presented based on 8 and 10 years of continuous, high‐quality measurements, respectively. We synthesized and modeled carbonate chemistry to understand how physical and biological processes affect seasonal carbonate chemistry at both locations. The results showed that differences in biology and thermodynamic cycles between the two systems caused higher amplitudes at CR despite the shorter residence times relative to LP. Analyses based on oxygen and temperature‐normalized pCO2sw showed that temperature effects on pCO2sw at CR were largely counteracted by primary productivity, while thermodynamics alone explained a majority of the pCO2sw dynamics at LP. Heterotrophy dominated from late spring to fall, and autotrophy dominated from winter to early spring. Observations suggested that organic respiration decreased the carbonate mineral saturation state (Ω) during late summer/fall. The interactive effects between the inorganic and organic carbon cycles and the assumed effects of benthic metabolism on the water chemistry at both sites appeared to cause seasonal hysteresis with the carbonate chemistry. Improved integration of observational data to modeling approaches will help better forecast how physical and biogeochemical processes will affect Ω and carbonate chemistry in coastal areas.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal variations of carbonate chemistry at two Western Atlantic coral reefs’

The carbonate system of the northern South China Sea: seasonality and exchange with the western North Pacific


  • We show spatial and seasonal patterns of the carbonate system in the northern basin of the South China Sea (SCS) based, on a thus far, the largest dataset in a major world marginal sea.
  • Exchange fluxes of the carbonate variables between the northern SCS and West Philippine Sea (WPS) via the Luzon Strait are constrained in the upper layer by Kuroshio intrusion and over the full depth range.
  • We reveal significant spatial and seasonal changes in the carbonate chemistry of the deep SCS below 2000 db, attributable likely to spatial and seasonal variations in organic matter decomposition.


Using the most comprehensive, high quality, high-resolution dataset for any marginal sea up to depths >2000 db, we examined the seasonality of the carbonate system in the northern South China Sea (nSCS) and exchange with the West Philippine Sea (WPS) during 2009-2011. The carbonate system dynamics demonstrated evident spatial and seasonal variations. Winter exhibited the highest average surface dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentrations (1936 ± 15 μmol kg-1), and summer had the lowest (1882 ± 12 μmol kg-1), primarily associated with more abundant freshwater inputs in summer. At 100 db depth, decreased DIC and total alkalinity (TA) values were observed within the vicinity of the Luzon Strait due to the influence of WPS waters. Higher DIC and TA concentrations were found within the central nSCS basin. The average Kuroshio contribution to the DIC inventory in the upper 150 db was seasonally significant, ranging between 11-32%, with the highest contributions during spring and winter. Below 2000 db, nSCS basin-averaged DIC was significantly higher than WPS-averaged DIC (∼23 µmol kg-1 difference) due to more organic matter decomposition in the nSCS basin. Within the basin, average deep water DIC values were highest in autumn, and averaged concentrations at >18.5°N were lower than at ≤18.5°N. Our datasets and analysis imply that (i) the significant seasonal and spatial patterns of carbonate chemistry in the nSCS are controlled by a combination of large-scale and smaller mesoscale physical processes; (ii) extrinsically from Asian monsoons via seasonal freshwater discharge and dynamic exchanges with open ocean waters; and (iii) intrinsically, through seasonal vertical mixing as well as mesoscale processes and their subsequent new productions. The seasonal and spatial variability in carbonate parameters established here serves as an essential baseline to monitor future changes to the nSCS and to compare with other marginal sea systems.

Continue reading ‘The carbonate system of the northern South China Sea: seasonality and exchange with the western North Pacific’

Autonomous observation of seasonal carbonate chemistry dynamics in the Mid‐Atlantic Bight

Ocean acidification alters the oceanic carbonate system, increasing potential for ecological, economic, and cultural losses. Historically, productive coastal oceans lack vertically‐resolved high‐resolution carbonate system measurements on timescales relevant to organism ecology and life history. The recent development of a deep ISFET‐based pH sensor system integrated into a Slocum glider has provided a platform for achieving high‐resolution carbonate system profiles. From May 2018 to November 2019, seasonal deployments of the pH glider were conducted in the central Mid‐Atlantic Bight. Simultaneous measurements from the glider’s pH and salinity sensors enabled the derivation of total alkalinity and calculation of other carbonate system parameters including aragonite saturation state. Carbonate system parameters were then mapped against other variables, such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll, over space and time. The seasonal dynamics of carbonate chemistry presented here provide a baseline to begin identifying drivers of acidification in this vital economic zone.

Continue reading ‘Autonomous observation of seasonal carbonate chemistry dynamics in the Mid‐Atlantic Bight’

Seasonal controls of the carbon biogeochemistry of a fringing coral reef in the Gulf of California, Mexico

The surface of the ocean has absorbed one-third of the CO2gas that has been released by anthropogenic activities, which has resulted in a reduction in pH and the aragonite saturation state (Ωara) with potential negative impacts in calcifying organisms, such as corals. To evaluate these effects, the natural variability present must first be understood, including that of processes that operate at diurnal, seasonal, and interannual frequencies. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of physical and biogeochemical processes on the seasonal variability of the CO2-system in a fringe coral reef of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP). To achieve this, a SeapHOx sensor was installed to measure temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and pHTot at 30-min intervals from November 2013 (early winter) to July 2014 (early summer). The recorded temperature and salinity data fed a mixing model to identify the water masses present in the reef. We show how physical and biogeochemical oceanic processes influence and control the variability of the carbonate system. The presence of water masses with different carbon chemistries responded to two scenarios: (1) seasonal circulation on the order of months and (2) an intermittence between water masses related to mesoscale structures (eddies) on the order of weeks. A low-pH and Ωara condition was detected during summer, which was related to the presence of warm and respired Tropical Surface Water. The broadest changes in Ωara were the result of physical processes (winter ΔΩara = 0.14 and summer ΔΩara = 0.34 units) and corresponded to the transition between water masses with different carbon-biogeochemistry signals. Our results suggest that the Cabo Pulmo coral community develops in an environment with a wide range of pH and Ωara conditions and that seasonal changes are controlled by open ocean carbon biogeochemistry.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal controls of the carbon biogeochemistry of a fringing coral reef in the Gulf of California, Mexico’

Drivers of biogeochemical variability in a central California kelp forest: implications for local amelioration of ocean acidification

Kelp forests are among the world’s most productive marine ecosystems, and they have the potential to locally ameliorate ocean acidification (OA). In order to understand the contribution of kelp metabolism to local biogeochemistry, we must first quantify the natural variability and the relative contributions of physical and biological drivers to biogeochemical changes in space and time. We deployed an extensive instrument array in Monterey Bay, CA, inside and outside of a kelp forest to assess the degree to which giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) locally ameliorates present‐day acidic conditions which we expect to be exacerbated by OA. Temperature, pH, and O2 variability occurred at semidiurnal, diurnal (tidal and diel), and longer upwelling event periods. Mean conditions were driven by offshore wind forcing and the delivery of upwelled water via nearshore internal bores. While near surface pH and O2 were similar inside and outside the kelp forest, surface pH was elevated inside the kelp compared to outside, suggesting that the kelp canopy locally increased surface pH. We observed the greatest acidification stress deeper in the water column where pCO2 reached levels as high as 1300 μatm and aragonite undersaturation (ΩAr <1) occurred on several occasions. At this site, kelp canopy modification of seawater properties, and thus any ameliorating effect against acidification is greatest in a narrow band of surface water. The spatial disconnect between stress exposure at depth and reduction of acidification stress at the surface warrants further assessment of utilizing kelp forests as provisioners of local OA mitigation.

Continue reading ‘Drivers of biogeochemical variability in a central California kelp forest: implications for local amelioration of ocean acidification’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book