Posts Tagged 'field'

Net heterotrophy and carbonate dissolution in two subtropical seagrass meadows

The net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of two seagrass meadows within one of the largest seagrass ecosystems in the world, Florida Bay, was assessed using direct measurements over consecutive diel cycles during a short study in the fall of 2018. We report significant differences between NEP determined by dissolved inorganic carbon (NEPDIC) and by dissolved oxygen (NEPDO), likely driven by differences in air–water gas exchange and contrasting responses to variations in light intensity. We also acknowledge the impact of advective exchange on metabolic calculations of NEP and net ecosystem calcification (NEC) using the “open-water” approach and attempt to quantify this effect. In this first direct determination of NEPDIC in seagrass, we found that both seagrass ecosystems were net heterotrophic, on average, despite large differences in seagrass net above-ground primary productivity. NEC was also negative, indicating that both sites were net dissolving carbonate minerals. We suggest that a combination of carbonate dissolution and respiration in sediments exceeded seagrass primary production and calcification, supporting our negative NEP and NEC measurements. However, given the limited spatial (two sites) and temporal (8 d) extent of this study, our results may not be representative of Florida Bay as a whole and may be season-specific. The results of this study highlight the need for better temporal resolution, accurate carbonate chemistry accounting, and an improved understanding of physical mixing processes in future seagrass metabolism studies.

Continue reading ‘Net heterotrophy and carbonate dissolution in two subtropical seagrass meadows’

Seasonal variation in aragonite saturation states and the controlling factors in the southeastern Yellow Sea


• Aragonite saturation state was determined in the southeastern Yellow Sea (Korea territory) for the first time.

• Aragonite undersaturation occurred in the bottom waters of the southeastern Yellow Sea during the fall.

• Aragonite undersaturation may be associated with ocean dumping of organic materials.


The aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) was determined to assess its seasonal variations and the major controlling factors in the southeastern Yellow Sea (YS) over four seasons. Ωarag showed large seasonal variation in the surface waters, with dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) as a major factor controlling the seasonal variation. In the bottom waters, Ωarag exhibited only small seasonal variation compared with the surface waters; DIC and total alkalinity were the main factors contributing to the variation. The bottom water of the southeastern YS was undersaturated with aragonite during the fall, even though the southeastern YS was not typically associated with upwelling, freshwater discharge, or eutrophication processes. Aragonite undersaturation was most likely due to ocean dumping of organic materials. Therefore, ocean pumping should be prohibited in shallow marginal seas to prevent aragonite undersaturation.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal variation in aragonite saturation states and the controlling factors in the southeastern Yellow Sea’

Early life stages of Calanus pacificus are neither exposed nor sensitive to low pH waters

We characterized the vertical distribution of Calanus pacificus eggs and larvae and the carbonate chemistry that they are exposed to in Puget Sound, WA. We found that, under stratified conditions, more than 90% of eggs and nauplii stages 1–4 were distributed above the pycnocline, in seawater with pH higher than 7.7. In addition, eggs and larvae from 101 females were reared for 5 days under a range of pH conditions (7.2–8.0) to investigate how pH sensitivity varies among individuals. We observed a slight increase in naupliar survival at pH 7.3 in Individual Brood experiments, while in Mixed Brood experiments, exposure to pH 7.3 led to a small decline in hatching success. In a Split Brood experiment, inter-individual variability among different females’ broods masked pH effects. These results indicate that C. pacificus early life stages are generally tolerant to short-term direct effects of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Early life stages of Calanus pacificus are neither exposed nor sensitive to low pH waters’

Season affects strength and direction of the interactive impacts of ocean warming and biotic stress in a coastal seaweed ecosystem

The plea for using more “realistic,” community‐level, investigations to assess the ecological impacts of global change has recently intensified. Such experiments are typically more complex, longer, more expensive, and harder to interpret than simple organism‐level benchtop experiments. Are they worth the extra effort? Using outdoor mesocosms, we investigated the effects of ocean warming (OW) and acidification (OA), their combination (OAW), and their natural fluctuations on coastal communities of the western Baltic Sea during all four seasons. These communities are dominated by the perennial and canopy‐forming macrophyte Fucus vesiculosus—an important ecosystem engineer Baltic‐wide. We, additionally, assessed the direct response of organisms to temperature and pH in benchtop experiments, and examined how well organism‐level responses can predict community‐level responses to the dominant driver, OW. OW affected the mesocosm communities substantially stronger than acidification. OW provoked structural and functional shifts in the community that differed in strength and direction among seasons. The organism‐level response to OW matched well the community‐level response of a given species only under warm and cold thermal stress, that is, in summer and winter. In other seasons, shifts in biotic interactions masked the direct OW effects. The combination of direct OW effects and OW‐driven shifts of biotic interactions is likely to jeopardize the future of the habitat‐forming macroalga F. vesiculosus in the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, we conclude that seasonal mesocosm experiments are essential for our understanding of global change impact because they take into account the important fluctuations of abiotic and biotic pressures.

Continue reading ‘Season affects strength and direction of the interactive impacts of ocean warming and biotic stress in a coastal seaweed ecosystem’

Controls on carbon, nutrient and sediment cycling in a large, semi‐arid estuarine system; Princess Charlotte Bay, Australia

Semi‐arid estuaries are characterized by pronounced seasonal variability, and a functional understanding of these systems requires constraint of coupled biogeochemical processes and relevant temporal and spatial scales. Here we integrate two years of spatial surveys and time‐series measurements to quantify physical, chemical and biological drivers in the largest estuarine system in the Great Barrier Reef region. During wet season, freshwater inputs of nutrients and sediment to estuaries were dominated by flood pulses, whereas carbonate input was also influenced by groundwater discharge. This carbonate input counteracted the minimum buffering zone that would otherwise occur at low salinities, thereby decreasing system‐wide air‐water CO2 fluxes. Sediment resuspension was a major control on the transformation and transport of material over tidal and seasonal scales. During wet season, tidal resuspension of benthic algae in nearshore mixing zones acted as an autotrophic filter, removing most bioavailable nutrients from the brackish plume. During dry season, upstream transport combined with hypersaline conditions trapped material in upper estuaries where denitrification and net heterotrophy were high. However, the role of sediment transport varied depending on tidal asymmetry and density‐driven circulation. Estuarine regions with large intertidal areas were dominated by salt‐flat erosion, which showed a diagenetic signature associated with mid‐Holocene swamp sediments. Tidal resuspension of these organic‐rich sediments appeared to be the dominant control on biogeochemical cycling in coastal waters. This study demonstrates that a holistic understanding of coastal ecosystem connectivity and function requires resolution of both along‐axis and water‐column gradients as well as a range of timescales from tidal to geological cycles.

Continue reading ‘Controls on carbon, nutrient and sediment cycling in a large, semi‐arid estuarine system; Princess Charlotte Bay, Australia’

Environmental factors influencing benthic communities in the oxygen minimum zones on the Angolan and Namibian margins

Thriving benthic communities were observed in the oxygen minimum zones along the southwestern African margin. On the Namibian margin, fossil cold-water coral mounds were overgrown by sponges and bryozoans, while the Angolan margin was characterized by cold-water coral mounds covered by a living coral reef. To explore why benthic communities differ in both areas, present-day environmental conditions were assessed, using conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) transects and bottom landers to investigate spatial and temporal variations of environmental properties. Near-bottom measurements recorded low dissolved oxygen concentrations on the Namibian margin of 0–0.15 mL L−1 (≜0 %–9 % saturation) and on the Angolan margin of 0.5–1.5 mL L−1 (≜7 %–18 % saturation), which were associated with relatively high temperatures (11.8–13.2 ∘C and 6.4–12.6 ∘C, respectively). Semidiurnal barotropic tides were found to interact with the margin topography producing internal waves. These tidal movements deliver water with more suitable characteristics to the benthic communities from below and above the zone of low oxygen. Concurrently, the delivery of a high quantity and quality of organic matter was observed, being an important food source for the benthic fauna. On the Namibian margin, organic matter originated directly from the surface productive zone, whereas on the Angolan margin the geochemical signature of organic matter suggested an additional mechanism of food supply. A nepheloid layer observed above the cold-water corals may constitute a reservoir of organic matter, facilitating a constant supply of food particles by tidal mixing. Our data suggest that the benthic fauna on the Namibian margin, as well as the cold-water coral communities on the Angolan margin, may compensate for unfavorable conditions of low oxygen levels and high temperatures with enhanced availability of food, while anoxic conditions on the Namibian margin are at present a limiting factor for cold-water coral growth. This study provides an example of how benthic ecosystems cope with such extreme environmental conditions since it is expected that oxygen minimum zones will expand in the future due to anthropogenic activities.

Continue reading ‘Environmental factors influencing benthic communities in the oxygen minimum zones on the Angolan and Namibian margins’

Export flux, biogeochemical effects, and the fate of a terrestrial carbonate system: from Changjiang (Yangtze River) Estuary to the East China Sea

Seasonal variations in the transports of total alkalinity (TAlk) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from the Lower Changjiang (Yangtze) River/Estuary to the East China Sea (ECS) were investigated based on a series of field surveys in 2015–2017, including monthly samplings at Datong Station and seasonal mapping cruises in the Changjiang Estuary and the adjacent northwestern ECS. In comparison with historical data sets, the Changjiang TAlk flux varied around a nearly stable average over the past 55 years. This is much different from some American rivers, where TAlk export fluxes increased for a century long. To assess effects of riverine carbonate inputs on coastal carbonate chemistry, we compared several cases showing freshwater‐dilution‐induced decline in coastal aragonite saturation state (Ωarag), including rainwater dilution and riverine water dilution. Without riverine carbonate inputs, the effect of a unit of salinity decrease (due to rainwater dilution) on Ωarag was expected to be counteracted by a DIC removal of 10 μmol kg–1 relative to the baseline value along relevant conservative mixing line, when coastal Ωarag was close to a critical value of 1.5. Considering terrestrial carbonate inputs from Changjiang, however, the freshwater‐dilution‐induced coastal Ωarag suppression decreased by 12%. Our data also showed that, more than 10% of wet‐season DIC flux discharged from the Changjiang Estuary was sequestered by biological activities in nearshore areas, while the TAlk flux was rarely affected. This biological alteration effectively transformed the terrestrial carbonate system from a feature of DIC:TAlk >1.0 to the usual seawater feature of DIC:TAlk <0.9.

Continue reading ‘Export flux, biogeochemical effects, and the fate of a terrestrial carbonate system: from Changjiang (Yangtze River) Estuary to the East China Sea’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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