Posts Tagged 'chemistry'

The measurement of ocean acidity using the depth-dependence of ambient noise

The absorption of sound in seawater is due to the viscous and chemical relaxation of different compounds. Over the wind noise band of 1–10 kHz, the frequency dependence of the absorption is due to the mechanisms of chemical relaxation for magnesium sulfate (f > 3 kHz) and for boric acid (f 10 m/s), the ambient noise field is dominated by locally generated surface noise and has a depth-independent directionality and a weakly frequency and depth-dependent intensity, due to sound absorption. By comparing measurements with theory, estimates of ocean acidity can be made from the depth profiles of ambient noise.

Continue reading ‘The measurement of ocean acidity using the depth-dependence of ambient noise’

Seasonal DNA methylation variation in the flat tree oyster Isognomon Alatus from a mangrove ecosystem in North Biscayne Bay, Florida

Epigenetic analyses constitute an emerging approach for better understanding of the mechanisms underlying environmental responses and their role during acclimatization and adaptation across diverse ecosystems. The expansion of environmental epigenetic studies to a broader range of ecologically and environmentally relevant organisms will enhance the capability to forecast ecological and evolutionary processes, as well as to facilitate a retrospective assessment of stress exposures in biomonitor organisms through “epigenetic footprinting” analyses. With such purpose, the present study monitored spatial and temporal variation in abiotic parameters (temperature, salinity, pH, and horizontal visibility) over a 2-y period in a mangrove ecosystem located in North Biscayne Bay (North Miami, FL). The obtained data were subsequently compared with epigenetic modifications (global genome-wide DNA methylation levels) in the flat tree oyster Isognomon alatus, used as a sentinel model organism across experimental sites. The obtained results revealed a certain level of seasonality in temporal DNA methylation patterns, which seem to be primarily associated with changes in temperature and horizontal visibility. These results constitute the first long-term study combining spatial and temporal epigenetic analyses in a marine organism in its natural environment, laying the initial groundwork to assess the biomonitoring potential of environmental epigenetic analyses.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal DNA methylation variation in the flat tree oyster Isognomon Alatus from a mangrove ecosystem in North Biscayne Bay, Florida’

Carbon outwelling across the shelf following a massive mangrove dieback in Australia: insights from radium isotopes

Mangrove soil carbon stocks are known to decrease following forest loss due to respiration and enhanced soil CO2 emissions. However, changes in carbon outwelling to the coastal ocean due to mangrove forest disturbance have not been considered. In December 2015, an extremely large mangrove dieback event (∼7000 hectares, spanning 1000 km of coastline) occurred in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. To assess the effect this dieback event had on carbon outwelling, we used radium isotopes and dissolved carbon measurements (dissolved organic carbon, DOC, dissolved inorganic carbon, DIC, and total alkalinity, TAlk) to estimate cross-shelf carbon transport from living and dead mangrove areas and to calculate the carbon losses from living and dead forest soils via SGD. Radium distributions imply cross shelf eddy diffusivity of 107.5 ± 26.9 and 104.6 ± 23.9 m−2 s−1 from dead and living areas and radium water ages reveal that mangrove carbon reaches 10 km offshore within 7 days. Outwelling rates from living and dead areas were explained by soil carbon losses via SGD. This study suggests a decrease in carbon outwelling to the ocean from dead forest areas compares to living areas by 0–12% for DOC, 50–52% for DIC and by 37–51% for TAlk ∼8 months after the dieback event occurred. Changes to oceanic carbon outwelling rates following mangrove loss are likely driven by a gradual depletion of carbon stocks from the sediment profile.

Continue reading ‘Carbon outwelling across the shelf following a massive mangrove dieback in Australia: insights from radium isotopes’

Transport of carbon dioxide and heavy metals from hydrothermal vents to shallow water by hydrate-coated gas bubbles

Deep-sea hydrothermal plumes are of major importance in the biogeochemical ocean cycles and in this study we focus on plumes emitted from the Jan Mayen vent fields in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. These vent fields are of interest because of the high CO2 concentrations and also due to the different styles of venting occurring here. Venting at these sites occurs between 550 and 700 m depth and is characterized by the release of hydrate coated bubbles as well as focused flow venting. This study aims to enhance our current understanding of the impact of CO2 rich hydrate coated bubbles on the water column as well as the interaction between hydrothermally derived gases and metals in the water column. Three water column surveys were conducted in this area in between 2012 and 2014, in which the non-buoyant plume (NBP) produced by focused flow venting from both the Troll Wall and the Perle & Bruse vent sites was identified by primordial helium (3He), methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2) and dissolved manganese (Mn) enrichments close to 500 m water depth. Our results show that venting of hydrate coated CO2 rich bubbles increases bubble rise height, which results in shallow acidification locally above the vent sites. A polymetallic anomaly in the mid-depth water column above the NBP is also hypothesized to be a result of the hydrate coated bubbles. We argue that nanoparticles get sequestered to the hydrate lattice and travel with the bubbles until the lattice becomes unstable due to gas expansion upon depressurization during ascent. This process could fuel the primary production in the pelagic water column.

Continue reading ‘Transport of carbon dioxide and heavy metals from hydrothermal vents to shallow water by hydrate-coated gas bubbles’

Coral reef calcification and production after the 2016 bleaching event at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef

Severe coral bleaching events have affected the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) causing massive losses of hard coral cover. Here, we use flow respirometry approaches to assess coral reef net ecosystem calcification (NEC) and net ecosystem production (NEP) following the 2015/2016 bleaching event at Lizard Island in the northern GBR, a heavily impacted area. Previous studies conducted in 2008 and 2009 [Silverman et al., 2014] were used as pre‐impact data. Lagrangian and Eulerian approaches provided varied results. Estimated NEC (29.1 – 137.7 mmol m‐2 day‐1) and NEP (‐876.7 – 50.5 mmol m‐2 day‐1) rates in 2016 were highly sensitive to assumptions about reef water residence times and oceanic endmember concentrations. Replicating the methodology used for the 2008 and 2009 study resulted in post‐bleaching NEC in 2016 at 32 ± 10.8 mmol m‐2 day‐1, 40 – 46% lower than pre‐bleaching estimates in 2008 (61 ± 12 mmol m‐2 day‐1) and 2009 (54 ± 13 mmol m‐2 day‐1). The slopes of a total alkalinity vs. dissolved inorganic carbon (TA – DIC) plot decreased from ~ 0.3 in 2008 and 2009 to 0.1 in 2016, indicating elevated organic production and a shift in community function. Changes in NEC relative to the previous study were not driven by changing Ω arag. Coral cover shifted from 8.3% and 7.1% in 2008 and 2009 to 3.0% in 2016. We demonstrate a clear decrease in coral reef NEC following bleaching and highlight that subtle assumptions/methodological differences may create bias in the interpretation of results. Therefore, comparing coral reef metabolism datasets and predicting long‐term coral reef calcification based on existing short‐term datasets needs to be done with care.

Continue reading ‘Coral reef calcification and production after the 2016 bleaching event at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef’

The Great Barrier Reef: A source of CO2 to the atmosphere


• Seasonal variations in air-sea CO2 fluxes on the Great Barrier Reef reveal a strong CO2 release during the early-dry season.

• The Great Barrier Reef is overall a net source of CO2.

• CO2 fluxes are largely controlled by cross-shelf advection of oversaturated warm surface waters from the Coral Sea.


The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the largest contiguous coral reef system in the world. Carbonate chemistry studies and flux quantification within the GBR have largely focused on reef calcification and dissolution, with relatively little work on shelf-scale CO2 dynamics. In this manuscript, we describe the shelf-scale seasonal variability in inorganic carbon and air-sea CO2 fluxes over the main seasons (wet summer, early dry and late dry seasons) in the GBR.

Our large-scale dataset reveals that despite spatial-temporal variations, the GBR as a whole is a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere, with calculated air–sea fluxes varying between −6.19 and 12.17 mmol m−2 d−1 (average ± standard error: 1.44 ± 0.15 mmol m−2 d−1), with the strongest release of CO2 occurring during the wet season. The release of CO2 to the atmosphere is likely controlled by mixing of Coral Sea surface water, typically oversaturated in CO2, with the warm shelf waters of the GBR. This leads to oversaturation of the GBR system relative to the atmosphere and a consequent net CO2 release.

Continue reading ‘The Great Barrier Reef: A source of CO2 to the atmosphere’

Geochemistry of upper Permian siliceous rocks from the Lower Yangtze region, southeastern China: implications for the origin of chert and Permian ocean chemistry

The Permian Chert Event is of great significance to understanding the geological evolution of the entire Permian; however, the origin of widespread chert formation is debated. We report new geochemical data from deep-marine siliceous rocks of the upper Permian Da-long Formation, Lower Yangtze region, southeastern China. Their geochemical results show that these thin-bedded siliceous rocks have a clear biologic origin, with rare to no evidence of hydrothermal influence. The values of Al/(Al + Fe + Mn) and Eu/Eu* are 0.60–0.84 (mean = 0.72) and 0.45–1.08 (mean = 0.77), respectively, and Mn/Ti ratios are relatively low (mean = 0.72). The correlations of LaN/CeN, LaN/YbN, and Fe2O3/TiO2 with Al2O3/(Al2O3 + Fe2O3), along with the Ce anomaly, indicate that the Da-long siliceous rocks were deposited at a transitional zone between a continental margin and the open ocean; i.e., relatively close to terrestrial sediment input and far from hydrothermal activity. The accumulation of chert is related to its unique paleogeographic location in an equatorial setting with many submarine paleo-highlands. Intense upwelling and frequent local volcanism are the main factors that promoted the development of siliceous rocks in the studied area. Ocean acidification triggered by large-scale volcanism (Large Igneous Province) during the late Permian led to extensive silica precipitation and preservation.

Continue reading ‘Geochemistry of upper Permian siliceous rocks from the Lower Yangtze region, southeastern China: implications for the origin of chert and Permian ocean chemistry’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book