Posts Tagged 'BRcommunity'

Effect of seawater temperature, pH, and nutrients on the distribution and character of low abundance shallow water benthic foraminifera in the Galápagos

In order to help predict the effects of anthropogenic stressors on shallow water carbonate environments, it is important to focus research on regions containing natural oceanographic gradients, particularly with respect to interactions between oceanography and ecologically sensitive carbonate producers. The Galápagos Archipelago, an island chain in the eastern equatorial Pacific, spans a natural nutrient, pH, and temperature gradient due to the interaction of several major ocean currents. Further, the region is heavily impacted by the El Niño—Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Galápagos exhibited widespread coral bleaching and degradation following the strong ENSO events of 1982–1983 and 1997–1998. These findings are coupled with reports of unusually low abundances of time-averaged benthic foraminiferal assemblages throughout the region. Foraminifera, shelled single-celled protists, are sensitive to environmental change and rapidly respond to alterations to their surrounding environment, making them ideal indicator species for the study of reef water quality and health. Here, statistical models and analyses were used to compare modern shallow water benthic foraminiferal assemblages from 19 samples spanning the Galápagos Archipelago to predominant oceanographic parameters at each collection site. Fisher α diversity indices, Ternary diagrams, Canonical Correspondence Analysis, regression tree analysis and FORAM-Index (FI; a single metric index for evaluating water quality associated with reef development) implied a combined impact from ENSO and upwelling from Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) waters to primarily impact foraminiferal abundances and drive assemblage patterns throughout the archipelago. For instance, repeated ENSO temperature anomalies might be responsible for low foraminiferal density, while chronically high nutrients and low aragonite saturation and low pH—induced by EUC upwelling and La Niña anomalies—likely inhibited post-ENSO recovery, and caused foraminiferal assemblages to exhibit a heterotrophic dominance in the southern archipelago. What resulted are low FI values in the southern collection sites, indicating environments not conducive to endosymbiont development and/or recovery.

Continue reading ‘Effect of seawater temperature, pH, and nutrients on the distribution and character of low abundance shallow water benthic foraminifera in the Galápagos’

Water chemistry reveals a significant decline in coral calcification rates in the southern Red Sea

Experimental and field evidence support the assumption that global warming and ocean acidification is decreasing rates of calcification in the oceans. Local measurements of coral growth rates in reefs from various locations have suggested a decline of ~6–10% per decade since the late 1990’s. Here, by measuring open water strontium-to-alkalinity ratios along the Red Sea, we show that the net contribution of hermatypic corals to the CaCO3 budget of the southern and central Red Sea declined by ~100% between 1998 and 2015 and remained low between 2015 and 2018. Measured differences in total alkalinity of the Red Sea surface water indicate a 26 ± 16% decline in total CaCO3 deposition rates along the basin. These findings suggest that coral reefs of the southern Red Sea are under severe stress and demonstrate the strength of geochemical measurements as cost-effective indicators for calcification trends on regional scales.

Continue reading ‘Water chemistry reveals a significant decline in coral calcification rates in the southern Red Sea’

Little lasting impact of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum on shallow marine molluscan faunas

Global warming, acidification, and oxygen stress at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) are associated with severe extinction in the deep sea and major biogeographic and ecologic changes in planktonic and terrestrial ecosystems, yet impacts on shallow marine macrofaunas are obscured by the incompleteness of shelf sections. We analyze mollusk assemblages bracketing (but not including) the PETM and find few notable lasting impacts on diversity, turnover, functional ecology, body size, or life history of important clades. Infaunal and chemosymbiotic taxa become more common, and body size and abundance drop in one clade, consistent with hypoxia-driven selection, but within-clade changes are not generalizable across taxa. While an unrecorded transient response is still possible, the long-term evolutionary impact is minimal. Adaptation to already-warm conditions and slow release of CO2 relative to the time scale of ocean mixing likely buffered the impact of PETM climate change on shelf faunas.

Continue reading ‘Little lasting impact of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum on shallow marine molluscan faunas’

Temperature driven changes in benthic bacterial diversity influences biogeochemical cycling in coastal sediments

Marine sediments are important sites for global biogeochemical cycling, mediated by macrofauna and microalgae. However, it is the microorganisms that drive these key processes. There is strong evidence that coastal benthic habitats will be affected by changing environmental variables (rising temperature, elevated CO2), and research has generally focused on the impact on macrofaunal biodiversity and ecosystem services. Despite their importance, there is less understanding of how microbial community assemblages will respond to environmental changes. In this study, a manipulative mesocosm experiment was employed, using next-generation sequencing to assess changes in microbial communities under future environmental change scenarios. Illumina sequencing generated over 11 million 16S rRNA gene sequences (using a primer set biased toward bacteria) and revealed Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria dominated the total bacterial community of sediment samples. In this study, the sequencing coverage and depth revealed clear changes in species abundance within some phyla. Bacterial community composition was correlated with simulated environmental conditions, and species level community composition was significantly influenced by the mean temperature of the environmental regime (p = 0.002), but not by variation in CO2 or diurnal temperature variation. Species level changes with increasing mean temperature corresponded with changes in NH4 concentration, suggesting there is no functional redundancy in microbial communities for nitrogen cycling. Marine coastal biogeochemical cycling under future environmental conditions is likely to be driven by changes in nutrient availability as a direct result of microbial activity.

Continue reading ‘Temperature driven changes in benthic bacterial diversity influences biogeochemical cycling in coastal sediments’

Impact of ocean acidification on the carbonate sediment budget of a temperate mixed beach

The production of sediments by carbonate-producing ecosystems is an important input for beach sediment budgets in coastal areas where no terrigenous input occurs. Calcifying organisms are a major source of bioclastic carbonate sediment for coastal systems. Increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are leading to an increase in the partial pressure of CO2 on ocean seawater, causing ocean acidification (OA), with direct consequences for the pH of ocean waters. Most studies of OA focus on its impact on marine ecosystems. The impact of OA on carbonate-producing ecosystems could be to reduce the amount of sediments supplied to temperate coastal systems. The aim of this study was to quantify the effect of the predicted OA on the long-term sediment budget of a temperate Mediterranean mixed carbonate beach and dune system. Based on projections of OA we estimated a fall of about 31% in the present bioclastic carbonate sediment deposition rate, with the biggest decreases seen in the dunes (− 46%). OA is also expected to affect the carbonate sediment reservoirs, increasing the dissolution of CaCO3and causing net sediment loss from the system (~ 50,000 t century−1). In the long-term, OA could also play a primary role in the response of these systems to sea-level rise. Indeed, the reduction in the quantity of carbonate sediments provided to the system may affect the speed with which the system is able to adapt to sea-level rise, by increasing wave run-up, and may promote erosion of dunes and subaerial beaches.

Continue reading ‘Impact of ocean acidification on the carbonate sediment budget of a temperate mixed beach’

Rising levels of temperature and CO2 antagonistically affect phytoplankton primary productivity in the South China Sea


• Ocean warming and acidification individually increased phytoplankton productivity of western South China Sea.
• The combination of high temperature and high CO2 showed an antagonistic effect on phytoplankton productivity.
• High temperature decreased Chl a concentrations in off-shore waters at ambient CO2.
• High CO2 level increased night respiration in the coastal waters at ambient temperatures.


Coastal and offshore waters in the South China Sea are warming and becoming acidified due to rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), yet the combined effects of these two stressors are poorly known. Here, we carried out shipboard incubations at ambient (398 μatm) and elevated (934 μatm) pCO2 at in situ and in situ+1.8 °C temperatures and we measured primary productivity at two coastal and two offshore stations. Both warming and increased CO2 levels individually increased phytoplankton productivity at all stations, but the combination of high temperature and high CO2 did not, reflecting an antagonistic effect. Warming decreased Chl a concentrations in off-shore waters at ambient CO2, but had no effect in the coastal waters. The high CO2 treatment increased night time respiration in the coastal waters at ambient temperatures. Our findings show that phytoplankton assemblage responses to rising temperature and CO2 levels differ between coastal and offshore waters. While it is difficult to predict how ongoing warming and acidification will influence primary productivity in the South China Sea, our data imply that predicted increases in temperature and pCO2 will not boost surface phytoplankton primary productivity.

Continue reading ‘Rising levels of temperature and CO2 antagonistically affect phytoplankton primary productivity in the South China Sea’

Trophic functioning of macrobenthic fauna in a tropical acidified Bornean estuary (Southeast Asia)

The trophic structure of a community is used to infer ecosystem functioning (e.g. energy transfer and nutrient cycling). Here the trophic structure of the benthic infaunal and epifaunal communities in the Brunei Estuary are characterized, and their distribution along an estuarine pH gradient is analyzed using univariate and multivariate techniques. This analysis revealed that surface deposit feeders (e.g., polychaetes) were numerically dominant within the infaunal communities whereas in the epifaunal communities filter feeders (e.g., bivalves) were highly abundant. Species richness for almost all trophic groups increased toward the lower estuary, except for omnivores in the epifaunal communities, which decreased markedly. Both Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Analysis of Similarities (ANOSIM) detected significant differences in the density of respective trophic groups among stations. Within infaunal communities, both Biological and Environmental procedure (BIO-ENV) and Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) showed that trophic shifts were associated with environmental gradients. Surface-deposit feeders and omnivores were the most abundant macrobenthos of the upper estuary characterized by low salinity, low pH, and a higher percentage of mud particles. The proportion of filter feeders and carnivores increased with salinity/pH and sand. A more uniform distribution of trophic structure was found in the lower estuary, with high salinity and pH over sandy habitat. In contrast, within epifaunal trophic groups, the percentage of surface deposit feeders and omnivores declined, but filter feeders remarkably increased toward the sea. The proportion of carnivores remained similar at all stations. Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling (nMDS) ordination for epifaunal trophic groups clearly demarcated higher salinity/pH stations from lower salinity/pH stations, suggesting different trophic compositions along the estuarine pH gradient.

Continue reading ‘Trophic functioning of macrobenthic fauna in a tropical acidified Bornean estuary (Southeast Asia)’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book