Posts Tagged 'BRcommunity'

Seasonal dynamics of carbonate chemistry, nutrients and CO2 uptake in a sub-Arctic fjord

Environmental change can have a significant impact on biogeochemical cycles at high latitudes and be particularly important in ecologically valuable fjord ecosystems. Seasonality in biogeochemical cycling in a sub-Arctic fjord of northern Norway (Kaldfjorden) was investigated from October 2016 to September 2018. Monthly changes in total inorganic carbon (CT), alkalinity (AT), major nutrients and calcium carbonate saturation (Ω) were driven by freshwater discharge, biological production and mixing with subsurface carbon-rich coastal water. Stable oxygen isotope ratios indicated that meteoric water (snow melt, river runoff, precipitation) had stratified and freshened surface waters, contributing to 81% of the monthly CT deficit in the surface layer. The timing and magnitude of freshwater inputs played an important role in Ω variability, reducing AT and CT by dilution. This dilution effect was strongly counteracted by the opposing effect of primary production that dominated surface water Ω seasonality. The spring phytoplankton bloom rapidly depleted nitrate and CT to drive highest Ω (~2.3) in surface waters. Calcification reduced AT and CT, which accounted for 21% of the monthly decrease in Ω during a coccolithophore bloom. Freshwater runoff contributed CT, AT and silicates of terrestrial origin to the fjord. Lowest surface water Ω (~1.6) resulted from organic matter remineralisation and mixing into subsurface water during winter and spring. Surface waters were undersaturated with respect to atmospheric CO2, resulting in modest uptake of –0.32 ± 0.03 mol C m–2 yr–1. Net community production estimated from carbon drawdown was 14 ± 2 g C m–2 yr–1 during the productive season. Kaldfjorden currently functions as an atmospheric CO2 sink of 3.9 ± 0.3 g C m–2 yr–1. Time-series data are vital to better understand the processes and natural variability affecting biogeochemical cycling in dynamic coastal regions and thus better predict the impact of future changes on important fjord ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal dynamics of carbonate chemistry, nutrients and CO2 uptake in a sub-Arctic fjord’

Using stable isotope analysis to determine the effects of ocean acidification and warming on trophic interactions in a maerl bed community

Ocean acidification and warming are likely to affect the structure and functioning of marine benthic communities. This study experimentally examined the effects of ocean acidification and warming on trophic interactions within a maerl bed community by using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. Two three‐month experiments were conducted in winter and summer seasons with four different combinations of pCO2 (ambient and elevated pCO2) and temperature (ambient and +3°C). Experimental assemblages were created in tanks held in the laboratory and were composed of calcareous (Lithothamnion corallioides) and fleshy algae (Rhodymenia ardissonei, Solieria chordalis, and Ulva sp.), gastropods (Gibbula magus and Jujubinus exasperatus), and sea urchins (Psammechinus miliaris). Our results showed higher seaweed availability for grazers in summer than winter. Therefore, grazers were able to adapt their diet seasonally. Increased pCO2 and temperature did not modify the trophic structure in winter, while shifts in the contribution of seaweed were found in summer. Combined acidification and warming increased the contribution of biofilm in gastropods diet in summer conditions. Psammechinus miliaris mostly consumed L. corallioides under ambient conditions, while the alga S. chordalis became the dominant food source under high pCO2 in summer. Predicted changes in pCO2 and temperature had complex effects on assemblage trophic structure. Direct effects of acidification and warming on seaweed metabolism may modify their abundance and biomass, affecting their availability for grazers. Climate change may also modify seaweeds’ nutritive value and their palatability for grazers. The grazers we investigated were able to change their diet in response to changes in algal assemblages, an advantage given that warming and acidification alter the composition of algal communities.

Continue reading ‘Using stable isotope analysis to determine the effects of ocean acidification and warming on trophic interactions in a maerl bed community’

Effects of nearshore processes on carbonate chemistry dynamics and ocean acidification

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. This dissertation synthesizes autonomous and bottle observations to model carbonate chemistry and to understand how physical and biological processes affect seasonal carbonate chemistry at both locations. The autonomous carbonate chemistry and oxygen observations are used to examine a mass balance approach using a 1-D model to determine net rates of ecosystem calcification and production (NEC and NEP) from communities close (<5km) to the buoys. The results provide evidence to suggest that seasonal response between benthic metabolism and seawater chemistry at LP is attenuated relative to that at CR because their differences in benthic cover and how benthic metabolism modifies the water chemistry. Simple linear trends cannot explain the feedback between metabolism and reef water chemistry using long-term observations over natural variations. The effects of community production on partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2sw) make these interactions complex at short- and long-term scales. Careful consideration should be taken when inferring local biogeochemical processes, given that pCO2sw (and presumably pH) respond on much shorter time and local scales than dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA). The observations highlight the need for more comprehensive observing systems that can reliably measure both the fast-response (pCO2sw, pH) and slow-response (DIC) carbon pools.

Continue reading ‘Effects of nearshore processes on carbonate chemistry dynamics and ocean acidification’

Calcification and organic productivity at the world’s southernmost coral reef


  • High-latitude coral reefs are hotspots of ocean change and vulnerable to bleaching.
  • Coral ecosystem calcification in winter was lower than most studied ecosystems.
  • The reef was net heterotrophic in the winter and net respiratory in the summer.
  • Detailed bathymetric observations reduce uncertainties in metabolic calculations.
  • Summer calcification was not driven by temperature or aragonite saturation state.


Estimates of coral reef calcification and organic productivity provide valuable insight to community functionality and the response of an ecosystem to stress events. High-latitude coral reefs are expected to experience rapid changes in calcification rates and become refugia for tropical species following climate change and increasing bleaching events. Here, we estimate ecosystem-scale calcification and organic productivity at the world’s southernmost coral reef using seawater carbon chemistry observations (Lord Howe Island, Australia). We reduce uncertainties in metabolic calculations by producing a detailed bathymetric model and deploying two current meters to refine residence time and volume estimates. Bathymetry-modelled transect depths ranged from 74% shallower to 20% deeper than depths averaged from reef crest/flat current meters, indicating that higher-resolution depth observations help to reduce uncertainties in reef metabolic calculations. Rates of ecosystem calcification were 56.6 ± 14.8 mmol m−2 d−1 in the winter and 125.3 ± 39.4 mmol m−2 d−1 in the summer. These rates are lower than most other high-latitude reefs according to our compilation of high-latitude coral ecosystem metabolism estimates. Coral cover ranged from 14.7 ± 2.3% in winter to 19.8 ± 2.1% in the summer. A concurrent bleaching event and cyclone occurred during summer sampling (February – March 2019), resulting in 47% of corals bleached at the study site and 2% mortality due to cyclonal damage. Therefore, it is likely that the summertime Gnet rates underestimate baseline calcification. Our results enable future assessments of long-term change, but do not resolve the impact of bleaching at Lord Howe Island.


Continue reading ‘Calcification and organic productivity at the world’s southernmost coral reef’

Trophic pyramids reorganize when food web architecture fails to adjust to ocean change

As human activities intensify, the structures of ecosystems and their food webs often reorganize. Through the study of mesocosms harboring a diverse benthic coastal community, we reveal that food web architecture can be inflexible under ocean warming and acidification and unable to compensate for the decline or proliferation of taxa. Key stabilizing processes, including functional redundancy, trophic compensation, and species substitution, were largely absent under future climate conditions. A trophic pyramid emerged in which biomass expanded at the base and top but contracted in the center. This structure may characterize a transitionary state before collapse into shortened, bottom-heavy food webs that characterize ecosystems subject to persistent abiotic stress. We show that where food web architecture lacks adjustability, the adaptive capacity of ecosystems to global change is weak and ecosystem degradation likely.

Continue reading ‘Trophic pyramids reorganize when food web architecture fails to adjust to ocean change’

Rapid deep ocean deoxygenation and acidification threaten life on Northeast Pacific seamounts

Anthropogenic climate change is causing our oceans to lose oxygen and become more acidic at an unprecedented rate, threatening marine ecosystems and their associated animals. In deep‐sea environments, where conditions have typically changed over geological time scales, the associated animals, adapted to these stable conditions, are expected to be highly vulnerable to any change or direct human impact. Our study coalesces one of the longest deep‐sea observational oceanographic timeseries, reaching back to the 1960s, with a modern visual survey that characterizes almost two vertical‐kilometers of benthic seamount ecosystems. Based on our new and rigorous analysis of the Line P oceanographic monitoring data, the upper 3000 m of the Northeast Pacific has lost 15% of its oxygen in the last 60 years. Over that time, the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ), ranging between approximately 480 and 1700 m has expanded at a rate of 3.0±0.7 m/year (due to deepening at the bottom). Additionally, carbonate saturation horizons above the OMZ have been shoaling at a rate of 1‐2 m/year since the 1980s. Based on our visual surveys of four Northeast Pacific seamounts, these deep‐sea features support ecologically important taxa typified by long lifespans, slow growth rates, and limited mobility, including habitat‐forming cold‐water corals and sponges, echinoderms, and fish. By examining the changing conditions within the narrow realized bathymetric niches for a subset of vulnerable populations, we resolve chemical trends that are rapid in comparison to the lifespan of the taxa and detrimental to their survival. If these trends continue as they have over the last 3‐6 decades, they threaten to diminish regional seamount ecosystem diversity and cause local extinctions. This study highlights the importance of mitigating direct human impacts as species continue to suffer environmental changes beyond our immediate control.

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Ocean acidification alters the responses of invertebrates to wound-activated infochemicals produced by epiphytes of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica


• First time evaluation of the effect of infochemicals produced at two pH by the epiphytic community and by selected diatoms.

• O.A. alters the fine-tuned chemical cross-talks between seagrass epiphytes and associated invertebrates.

• Algae play their roles at different concentrations and convey different messages to associated animal communities.

• O.A. has consequences on the structure of associated communities and food webs of seagrass ecosystems.


Ocean acidification (OA) influences the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by seagrass leaves and their associated epiphytes. We hypothesize that the perception of “odour” produced by seagrass leaf epiphytes will change with seawater acidification, affecting the behaviour of seagrass-associated invertebrates. To test this hypothesis, we collected epiphytes from leaves of Posidonia oceanica growing at two pH conditions (7.7 and 8.1) and identified the most abundant genera of diatoms. We tested the VOCs produced at pH 8.1 by the epiphytic communities in toto, as well as those produced by selected diatoms, on various invertebrates. A complex set of species-specific and concentration-dependent chemotactic reactions was recorded, according to the pH of seawater. In particular, VOCs produced by individual diatoms triggered contrasting reactions in invertebrates, depending on the pH. The perception of epiphyte VOCs is likely to vary due to alteration of species ability to perceive and/or interpret chemical cues as infochemicals or due to changes in the structure of VOCs themselves. Thus, OA alters the fine-tuned chemical cross-talks between seagrass epiphytes and associated invertebrates, with potential consequences for the structure of communities and food webs of seagrass ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification alters the responses of invertebrates to wound-activated infochemicals produced by epiphytes of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica’

Forecasting ocean acidification impacts on kelp forest ecosystems

Ocean acidification is one the biggest threats to marine ecosystems worldwide, but its ecosystem wide responses are still poorly understood. This study integrates field and experimental data into a mass balance food web model of a temperate coastal ecosystem to determine the impacts of specific OA forcing mechanisms as well as how they interact with one another. Specifically, we forced a food web model of a kelp forest ecosystem near its southern distribution limit in the California large marine ecosystem to a 0.5 pH drop over the course of 50 years. This study utilizes a modeling approach to determine the impacts of specific OA forcing mechanisms as well as how they interact. Isolating OA impacts on growth (Production), mortality (Other Mortality), and predation interactions (Vulnerability) or combining all three mechanisms together leads to a variety of ecosystem responses, with some taxa increasing in abundance and other decreasing. Results suggest that carbonate mineralizing groups such as coralline algae, abalone, snails, and lobsters display the largest decreases in biomass while macroalgae, urchins, and some larger fish species display the largest increases. Low trophic level groups such as giant kelp and brown algae increase in biomass by 16% and 71%, respectively. Due to the diverse way in which OA stress manifests at both individual and population levels, ecosystem-level effects can vary and display nonlinear patterns. Combined OA forcing leads to initial increases in ecosystem and commercial biomasses followed by a decrease in commercial biomass below initial values over time, while ecosystem biomass remains high. Both biodiversity and average trophic level decrease over time. These projections indicate that the kelp forest community would maintain high productivity with a 0.5 drop in pH, but with a substantially different community structure characterized by lower biodiversity and relatively greater dominance by lower trophic level organisms.

Continue reading ‘Forecasting ocean acidification impacts on kelp forest ecosystems’

Additive impacts of deoxygenation and acidification threaten marine biota

Deoxygenation in coastal and open‐ocean ecosystems rarely exists in isolation but occurs concomitantly with acidification. Here, we first combine meta‐data of experimental assessments from across the globe to investigate the potential interactive impacts of deoxygenation and acidification on a broad range of marine taxa. We then characterize the differing degrees of deoxygenation and acidification tested in our dataset using a ratio between the partial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide (p O2/p CO2) to assess how biological processes change under an extensive, yet diverse range of p O2 and p CO2 conditions. The dataset comprised 375 experimental comparisons and revealed predominantly additive but variable effects (91.7%‐additive, 6.0%‐synergistic, 2.3%‐antagonistic) of the dual stressors, yielding negative impacts across almost all responses examined. Our data indicates that the p O2/p CO2‐ratio offers a simplified metric to characterize the extremity of the concurrent stressors and shows that more severe impacts occurred when ratios represented more extreme deoxygenation and acidification conditions. Importantly, our analysis highlights the need to assess the concurrent impacts of deoxygenation and acidification on marine taxa and that assessments considering the impact of O2 depletion alone will likely underestimate the impacts of deoxygenation events and their ecosystem‐wide consequences.

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Impacts of ocean acidification under multiple stressors on typical organisms and ecological processes

The oceans are taking up over one million tons of fossil CO2 per hour, resulting in increased pCO2 and declining pH, leading to ocean acidification (OA). At the same time, accumulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is causing ocean warming, which enhances stratification with thinned upper mixed layers, exposing planktonic organisms to increasing levels of daytime integrated UV radiation. Ocean warming also reduces dissolved oxygen in seawater, resulting in ocean deoxygenation. All these ocean global changes are impacting marine ecosystems and effects are well documented for each individual driver (pH, oxygen, temperature, UV). However, combined effects are still poorly understood, strongly limiting our ability to project impacts at regional or local levels. Different regions are often exposed (and often adapted) to contrastingly different physical and chemical environmental conditions and organisms, and ecosystems from different parts of the world will be exposed to unique combinations of stressors in the future. Understanding the modulating role of adaptation, species niche and stressors’ interaction is key. This review, being a non-exhaustively explored one, aims to provide an overview on understandings of ecophysiological effects of OA and its combination with covarying drivers, mainly warming, deoxygenation and solar UV radiation. We propose a testable hypothetical model as well as future research perspectives.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of ocean acidification under multiple stressors on typical organisms and ecological processes’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book