Posts Tagged 'chemistry'

Climate change projections for the surface ocean around New Zealand

The future status of the surface ocean around New Zealand was projected using two Earth System Models and four emission scenarios. By 2100 mean changes are largest under Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5), with a +2.5°C increase in sea surface temperature, and decreases in surface mixed layer depth (15%), macronutrients (7.5–20%), primary production (4.5%) and particle flux (12%). Largest macronutrient declines occur in the eastern Chatham Rise and subantarctic waters to the south, whereas dissolved iron increases in subtropical waters. Surface pH projections, validated against subantarctic time-series data, indicate a 0.335 decline to ∼7.77 by 2100. However, projected pH is sensitive to future CO2 emissions, remaining within the current range under RCP2.6, but decreasing below it by 2040 with all other scenarios. Sub-regions vulnerable to climate change include the Chatham Rise, polar waters south of 50°S, and subtropical waters north of New Zealand, whereas the central Tasman Sea is least affected.

Continue reading ‘Climate change projections for the surface ocean around New Zealand’

Ocean acidification increases the toxic effects of TiO2 nanoparticles on the marine microalga Chlorella vulgaris

Highlights

  • Ocean acidification enhanced growth inhibition of algal cells caused by TiO2 NPs.
  • Ocean acidification increased oxidative damage of TiO2 NPs on Chlorella vulgaris.
  • Elevated internalization of NPs contributed to enhanced toxicity of TiO2 NPs.
  • Slighter aggregation and more suspended NPs in acidified seawater were detected.

Abstract

Concerns about the environmental effects of engineered nanoparticles (NPs) on marine ecosystems are increasing. Meanwhile, ocean acidification (OA) has become a global environmental problem. However, the combined effects of NPs and OA on marine organisms are still not well understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of OA (pH values of 7.77 and 7.47) on the bioavailability and toxicity of TiO2 NPs to the marine microalga Chlorella vulgaris. The results showed that OA enhanced the growth inhibition of algal cells caused by TiO2 NPs. We observed synergistic interactive effects of pH and TiO2 NPs on oxidative stress, indicating that OA significantly increased the oxidative damage of TiO2 NPs on the algal cells. Importantly, the elevated toxicity of TiO2 NPs associated with OA could be explained by the enhanced internalization of NPs in algal cells, which was attributed to the slighter aggregation and more suspended particles in acidified seawater. Overall, these findings provide useful information on marine environmental risk assessments of NPs under near future OA conditions.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification increases the toxic effects of TiO2 nanoparticles on the marine microalga Chlorella vulgaris’

Instability and breakdown of the coral–algae symbiosis upon exceedence of the interglacial pCO2 threshold (>260 ppmv): the “missing” Earth-System feedback mechanism

Changes in the atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) leads to predictable impacts on the surface ocean carbonate system. Here, the importance of atmospheric pCO2 <260 ppmv is established for the optimum performance (and stability) of the algal endosymbiosis employed by a key suite of tropical reef-building coral species. Violation of this symbiotic threshold is revealed as a prerequisite for major historical reef extinction events, glacial–interglacial feedback climate cycles, and the modern decline of coral reef ecosystems. Indeed, it is concluded that this symbiotic threshold enacts a fundamental feedback mechanism needed to explain the characteristic dynamics (and drivers) of the coupled land–ocean–atmosphere carbon cycle of the Earth System since the mid-Miocene, some 25 million yr ago.

Continue reading ‘Instability and breakdown of the coral–algae symbiosis upon exceedence of the interglacial pCO2 threshold (>260 ppmv): the “missing” Earth-System feedback mechanism’

Variability in the phytoplankton community of Kavaratti reef ecosystem (northern Indian Ocean) during peak and waning periods of El Niño 2016

El Niño, an interannual climate event characterized by elevated oceanic temperature, is a prime threat for coral reef ecosystems worldwide, owing to their thermal threshold sensitivity. Phytoplankton plays a crucial role in the sustenance of reef trophodynamics. The cell size of the phytoplankton forms the “master morphological trait” with implications for growth, resource acquisition, and adaptability to nutrients. In the context of a strong El Niño prediction for 2015–2016, the present study was undertaken to evaluate the variations in the size-structured phytoplankton of Kavaratti reef waters, a major coral atoll along the southeast coast of India. The present study witnessed a remarkable change in the physicochemical environment of the reef water and massive coral bleaching with the progression of El Niño 2015–2016 from its peak to waning phase. The fluctuations observed in sea surface temperature, pH, and nutrient concentration of the reef water with the El Niño progression resulted in a remarkable shift in phytoplankton size structure, abundance, and community composition of the reef waters. Though low nutrient concentration of the waning phase resulted in lower phytoplankton biomass and abundance, the diazotroph Trichodesmium erythraeum predominated the reef waters, owing to its capability of the atmospheric nitrogen fixation and dissolved organic phosphate utilization.

Continue reading ‘Variability in the phytoplankton community of Kavaratti reef ecosystem (northern Indian Ocean) during peak and waning periods of El Niño 2016’

DISCO – Drivers and impacts of coastal ocean acidification

Ocean acidification, mainly attributed to the increasing anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere, is characterised by a lowering pH together with a shift in the sea water carbonate chemistry toward lower concentration of carbonate ions. On the coasts, where the environmental variability is high due to natural and human impacts, ocean acidification mainly affects the frequency, magnitude, and duration of lower pH and lower calcium carbonate saturation events. Coastal ecosystems are adapted to environmental variability such as frequent changes in salinity, temperature, pH, oxygen levels and organic matter content. However, the effects of an increase of the range of this variability on coastal species, and especially on calcifiers, are still not clear. In this context, this thesis explores the impacts of coastal ocean acidification combined with other environmental stressors on benthic foraminifera.

In the Skagerrak-Baltic Sea region, foraminifera faunas varied along a strong gradient in terms of salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen concentration, and species were adapted to local environmental stressors. However, the specimens of Ammonia spp. and Elphidium spp. observed in the south Baltic Sea were partially to completely dissolved, probably due to a combination of different stressors affecting the required energy for biomineralisation.

In a culture study, the coastal species Ammonia spp. and E. crispum were found to be resistant to dissolution under varying salinity and pH, which reflects the environmental variations in their natural habitats. However, their resistance to lower pH is decreased when cultured in brackish water conditions, and living decalcified specimens were also observed under a salinity of 5. This underlines the importance of a high salinity in the calcification process of foraminifera.

At the entrance of the Baltic Sea, environmental changes during the last 200 years were reconstructed using foraminiferal faunas. Four periods were identified with varying oxygen levels, salinity, organic matter content, and pollution with lower pH. This highlights that foraminiferal faunas were able to adapt to multiple environmental stressors.

This thesis concludes that, even if coastal species of foraminifera can tolerate extremely varying conditions in their environment on the short term, it is likely that tolerance thresholds will be passed for benthic ecosystems under the future increase in anthropogenic impacts such as coastal ocean acidification.

Further studies of micro-organisms such as foraminifera will be necessary to improve our understanding of past environmental changes and to put present and future changes into a larger context.

Continue reading ‘DISCO – Drivers and impacts of coastal ocean acidification’

A direct bicarbonate detection method based on a near-concentric cavity-enhanced Raman spectroscopy system

Raman spectroscopy has great potential as a tool in a variety of hydrothermal science applications. However, its low sensitivity has limited its use in common sea areas. In this paper, we develop a near-concentric cavity-enhanced Raman spectroscopy system to directly detect bicarbonate in seawater for the first time. With the aid of this near-concentric cavity-enhanced Raman spectroscopy system, a significant enhancement in HCO3 detection has been achieved. The obtained limit of detection (LOD) is determined to be 0.37 mmol/L—much lower than the typical concentration of HCO3 in seawater. By introducing a specially developed data processing scheme, the weak HCO3 signal is extracted from the strong sulfate signal background, hence a quantitative analysis with R2 of 0.951 is made possible. Based on the spectra taken from deep sea seawater sampling, the concentration of HCO3 has been determined to be 1.91 mmol/L, with a relative error of 2.1% from the reported value (1.95 mmol/L) of seawater in the ocean. It is expected that the near-concentric cavity-enhanced Raman spectroscopy system could be developed and used for in-situ ocean observation in the near future.

Continue reading ‘A direct bicarbonate detection method based on a near-concentric cavity-enhanced Raman spectroscopy system’

The spatial and interannual dynamics of the surface water carbonate system and air–sea CO2 fluxes in the outer shelf and slope of the Eurasian Arctic Ocean

The Arctic is undergoing dramatic changes which cover the entire range of natural processes, from extreme increases in the temperatures of air, soil, and water, to changes in the cryosphere, the biodiversity of Arctic waters, and land vegetation. Small changes in the largest marine carbon pool, the dissolved inorganic carbon pool, can have a profound impact on the carbon dioxide (CO2) flux between the ocean and the atmosphere, and the feedback of this flux to climate. Knowledge of relevant processes in the Arctic seas improves the evaluation and projection of carbon cycle dynamics under current conditions of rapid climate change.

Investigation of the CO2 system in the outer shelf and continental slope waters of the Eurasian Arctic seas (the Barents, Kara, Laptev, and East Siberian seas) during 2006, 2007, and 2009 revealed a general trend in the surface water partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) distribution, which manifested as an increase in pCO2 values eastward. The existence of this trend was defined by different oceanographic and biogeochemical regimes in the western and eastern parts of the study area; the trend is likely increasing due to a combination of factors determined by contemporary change in the Arctic climate, each change in turn evoking a series of synergistic effects. A high-resolution in situ investigation of the carbonate system parameters of the four Arctic seas was carried out in the warm season of 2007; this year was characterized by the next-to-lowest historic sea-ice extent in the Arctic Ocean, on satellite record, to that date. The study showed the different responses of the seawater carbonate system to the environment changes in the western vs. the eastern Eurasian Arctic seas. The large, open, highly productive water area in the northern Barents Sea enhances atmospheric CO2 uptake. In contrast, the uptake of CO2 was strongly weakened in the outer shelf and slope waters of the East Siberian Arctic seas under the 2007 environmental conditions. The surface seawater appears in equilibrium or slightly supersaturated by CO2 relative to atmosphere because of the increasing influence of river runoff and its input of terrestrial organic matter that mineralizes, in combination with the high surface water temperature during sea-ice-free conditions.

This investigation shows the importance of processes that vary on small scales, both in time and space, for estimating the air–sea exchange of CO2. It stresses the need for high-resolution coverage of ocean observations as well as time series. Furthermore, time series must include multi-year studies in the dynamic regions of the Arctic Ocean during these times of environmental change.
Continue reading ‘The spatial and interannual dynamics of the surface water carbonate system and air–sea CO2 fluxes in the outer shelf and slope of the Eurasian Arctic Ocean’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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