Posts Tagged 'field'

Carbon dioxide addition to coral reef waters suppresses net community calcification

Coral reefs feed millions of people worldwide, provide coastal protection and generate billions of dollars annually in tourism revenue. The underlying architecture of a reef is a biogenic carbonate structure that accretes over many years of active biomineralization by calcifying organisms, including corals and algae. Ocean acidification poses a chronic threat to coral reefs by reducing the saturation state of the aragonite mineral of which coral skeletons are primarily composed, and lowering the concentration of carbonate ions required to maintain the carbonate reef. Reduced calcification, coupled with increased bioerosion and dissolution, may drive reefs into a state of net loss this century. Our ability to predict changes in ecosystem function and associated services ultimately hinges on our understanding of community- and ecosystem-scale responses. Past research has primarily focused on the responses of individual species rather than evaluating more complex, community-level responses. Here we use an in situ carbon dioxide enrichment experiment to quantify the net calcification response of a coral reef flat to acidification. We present an estimate of community-scale calcification sensitivity to ocean acidification that is, to our knowledge, the first to be based on a controlled experiment in the natural environment. This estimate provides evidence that near-future reductions in the aragonite saturation state will compromise the ecosystem function of coral reefs.

Continue reading ‘Carbon dioxide addition to coral reef waters suppresses net community calcification’

Over-calcified forms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in high-CO2 waters are not preadapted to ocean acidification (update)

Marine multicellular organisms inhabiting waters with natural high fluctuations in pH appear more tolerant to acidification than conspecifics occurring in nearby stable waters, suggesting that environments of fluctuating pH hold genetic reservoirs for adaptation of key groups to ocean acidification (OA). The abundant and cosmopolitan calcifying phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi exhibits a range of morphotypes with varying degrees of coccolith mineralization. We show that E. huxleyi populations in the naturally acidified upwelling waters of the eastern South Pacific, where pH drops below 7.8 as is predicted for the global surface ocean by the year 2100, are dominated by exceptionally over-calcified morphotypes whose distal coccolith shield can be almost solid calcite. Shifts in morphotype composition of E. huxleyi populations correlate with changes in carbonate system parameters. We tested if these correlations indicate that the hyper-calcified morphotype is adapted to OA. In experimental exposures to present-day vs. future pCO2 (400 vs. 1200 µatm), the over-calcified morphotypes showed the same growth inhibition (−29.1±6.3 %) as moderately calcified morphotypes isolated from non-acidified water (−30.7±8.8 %). Under the high-CO2–low-pH condition, production rates of particulate organic carbon (POC) increased, while production rates of particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) were maintained or decreased slightly (but not significantly), leading to lowered PIC ∕ POC ratios in all strains. There were no consistent correlations of response intensity with strain origin. The high-CO2–low-pH condition affected coccolith morphology equally or more strongly in over-calcified strains compared to moderately calcified strains. High-CO2–low-pH conditions appear not to directly select for exceptionally over-calcified morphotypes over other morphotypes, but perhaps indirectly by ecologically correlated factors. More generally, these results suggest that oceanic planktonic microorganisms, despite their rapid turnover and large population sizes, do not necessarily exhibit adaptations to naturally high-CO2 upwellings, and this ubiquitous coccolithophore may be near the limit of its capacity to adapt to ongoing ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Over-calcified forms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in high-CO2 waters are not preadapted to ocean acidification (update)’

Coral reef carbonate budgets and ecological drivers in the naturally high temperature and high total alkalinity environment of the Red Sea

The coral structural framework is crucial for maintaining reef ecosystem function and services. Rising seawater temperatures impair the calcification capacity of reef-building organisms on a global scale, but in the Red Sea total alkalinity is naturally high and beneficial to reef growth. It is currently unknown how beneficial and detrimental factors affect the balance between calcification and erosion, and thereby overall reef growth, in the Red Sea. To provide estimates of present-day carbonate budgets and reef growth dynamics in the central Red Sea, we measured in situ net-accretion and net-erosion rates (Gnet) by deployment of limestone blocks to estimate census-based carbonate budgets (Gbudget) in four reef sites along a cross-shelf gradient (25 km). In addition, we assessed abiotic (i.e., temperature, inorganic nutrients, and carbonate system variables) and biotic (i.e., calcifier and bioeroder abundances) variables. Our data show that aragonite saturation states (Ω = 3.65–4.20) were in the upper range compared to the chemistry of other tropical reef sites. Further, Gnet and Gbudget encompassed positive (offshore) and negative (midshore-lagoon and exposed nearshore site) carbonate budgets. Notably, Gbudget maxima were lower compared to reef growth from undisturbed Indian Ocean reefs, but erosive forces for Red Sea reefs were not as strong as observed elsewhere. In line with this, a comparison with recent historical data from the northern Red Sea suggests that overall reef growth in the Red Sea has remained similar since 1995. When assessing reef sites across the shelf gradient, AT correlated well and positive with reef growth (ρ = 0.9), while temperature (ρ = −0.7), pH variation (ρ = −0.8), and pCO2 (ρ = −0.8) were weaker negative correlates. Noteworthy for this oligotrophic sea was the positive effect of PO43− (ρ = 0.7) on reef growth. In the best-fitting distance-based linear model, AT explained about 64 % of Gbudget. Interestingly, parrotfish abundances added up to 78 % of the explained variation, further corroborating recent studies that highlight the importance of parrotfish to reef ecosystem functioning. Our study provides a baseline for reef growth in the central Red Sea that will be particularly useful in assessing future trajectories of reef growth capacities under current and future ocean warming and acidification scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Coral reef carbonate budgets and ecological drivers in the naturally high temperature and high total alkalinity environment of the Red Sea’

Effect of temperature rise and ocean acidification on growth of calcifying tubeworm shells (Spirorbis spirorbis): an in situ benthocosm approach (update)

The calcareous tubeworm Spirorbis spirorbis is a widespread serpulid species in the Baltic Sea, where it commonly grows as an epibiont on brown macroalgae (genus Fucus). It lives within a Mg-calcite shell and could be affected by ocean acidification and temperature rise induced by the predicted future atmospheric CO2 increase. However, Spirorbis tubes grow in a chemically modified boundary layer around the algae, which may mitigate acidification. In order to investigate how increasing temperature and rising pCO2 may influence S. spirorbisshell growth we carried out four seasonal experiments in the Kiel Outdoor Benthocosms at elevated pCO2 and temperature conditions. Compared to laboratory batch culture experiments the benthocosm approach provides a better representation of natural conditions for physical and biological ecosystem parameters, including seasonal variations. We find that growth rates of S. spirorbis are significantly controlled by ontogenetic and seasonal effects. The length of the newly grown tube is inversely related to the initial diameter of the shell. Our study showed no significant difference of the growth rates between ambient atmospheric and elevated (1100 ppm) pCO2 conditions. No influence of daily average CaCO3 saturation state on the growth rates of S. spirorbis was observed. We found, however, net growth of the shells even in temporarily undersaturated bulk solutions, under conditions that concurrently favoured selective shell surface dissolution. The results suggest an overall resistance of S. spirorbis growth to acidification levels predicted for the year 2100 in the Baltic Sea. In contrast, S. spirorbis did not survive at mean seasonal temperatures exceeding 24 °C during the summer experiments. In the autumn experiments at ambient pCO2, the growth rates of juvenile S. spirorbis were higher under elevated temperature conditions. The results reveal that S. spirorbis may prefer moderately warmer conditions during their early life stages but will suffer from an excessive temperature increase and from increasing shell corrosion as a consequence of progressing ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Effect of temperature rise and ocean acidification on growth of calcifying tubeworm shells (Spirorbis spirorbis): an in situ benthocosm approach (update)’

Gastropod shell dissolution as a tool for biomonitoring marine acidification, with reference to coastal geochemical discharge

Marine water pH is becoming progressively reduced in response to atmospheric CO2 elevation. Considering that marine environments support a vast global biodiversity and provide a variety of ecosystem functions and services, monitoring of the coastal and intertidal water pH assumes obvious significance. Because current monitoring approaches using meters and loggers are typically limited in application in heterogeneous environments and are financially prohibitive, we sought to evaluate an approach to acidification biomonitoring using living gastropod shells. We investigated snail populations exposed naturally to corrosive water in Brunei (Borneo, South East Asia). We show that surface erosion features of shells are generally more sensitive to acidic water exposure than other attributes (shell mass) in a study of rocky-shore snail populations (Nerita chamaeleon) exposed to greater or lesser coastal geochemical acidification (acid sulphate soil seepage, ASS), by virtue of their spatial separation. We develop a novel digital approach to measuring the surface area of shell erosion. Surficial shell erosion of a muddy-sediment estuarine snail, Umbonium vestiarium, is shown to capture variation in acidic water exposure for the timeframe of a decade. Shell dissolution in Neripteron violaceum from an extremely acidic estuarine habitat, directly influenced by ASS inflows, was high variable among individuals. In conclusion, gastropod shell dissolution potentially provides a powerful and cost-effective tool for rapidly assessing marine pH change across a range of spatial and temporal frameworks and coastal intertidal environments. We discuss caveats when interpreting gastropod shell dissolution patterns.

Continue reading ‘Gastropod shell dissolution as a tool for biomonitoring marine acidification, with reference to coastal geochemical discharge’

Relationship between mineralogy and minor element partitioning in limpets from the Ischia CO2 vent site provides new insights into their biomineralization pathway

It has long since been noted that minor element (Me) partitioning into biogenic carbonates is sometimes different from Me partitioning into inorganically precipitated carbonates. The prime example is the partitioning coefficient, which might be lower or even higher than the one of inorganically precipitated carbonate. Such a difference is usually termed “vital effect” and is seen as indicative of a biologically modified minor element partitioning. Over the last three decades interest in conceptual biomineralization models compatible with minor element and isotope fractionation has been steadily increasing. However, inferring features of a biomineralization mechanism from Me partitioning is complicated, because not all partitioning coefficients show vital effects in every calcium carbonate producing organism. Moreover, the partitioning coefficient is not the only aspect of Me partitioning. Other aspects include polymorph specificity and rate dependence. Patellogastropod limpets are ideally suited for analysing Me partitioning in terms of biomineralization models, because they feature both aragonitic and calcitic shell parts, so that polymorph specificity can be tested. In this study, polymorph-specific partitioning of the minor elements Mg, Li, B, Sr, and U into shells of the patellogastropod limpet Patella caerulea from within and outside a CO2 vent site at Ischia (Italy) was investigated by means of LA-ICP-MS. The partitioning coefficients of U, B, Mg, and Sr (in aragonite) differed from the respective inorganic ones, while the partitioning coefficients of Li and Sr (in calcite) fell within the range of published values for inorganically precipitated carbonates. Polymorph specificity of Me partitioning was explicable in terms of inorganic precipitation in the case of Sr and Mg, but not Li and B. Seawater carbon chemistry did not have the effect on B partitioning that was expected on the basis of data on inorganic precipitates and foraminifera. Carbon chemistry did affect Mg (in aragonite) and Li, but only the effect on Mg was explicable in terms of calcification rate. On the one hand, these results show that Me partitioning in P. caerulea is incompatible with a direct precipitation of shell calcium carbonate from the extrapallial fluid. On the other hand, our results are compatible with precipitation from a microenvironment formed by the mantle. Such a microenvironment was proposed based on data other than Me partitioning. This is the first study which systematically employs a multi-element, multi-aspect approach to test the compatibility of Me partitioning with different conceptual biomineralization models.

Continue reading ‘Relationship between mineralogy and minor element partitioning in limpets from the Ischia CO2 vent site provides new insights into their biomineralization pathway’

Long-term and seasonal trends in estuarine and coastal carbonate systems

Coastal pH and total alkalinity are regulated by a diverse range of local processes superimposed on global trends of warming and ocean acidification, yet few studies have investigated the relative importance of different processes for coastal acidification. We describe long-term (1972-2016) and seasonal trends in the carbonate system of three Danish coastal systems demonstrating that hydrological modification, changes in nutrient inputs from land, and presence/absence of calcifiers can drastically alter carbonate chemistry. Total alkalinity was mainly governed by conservative mixing of freshwater (0.73-5.17 mmol kg-1) with outer boundary concentrations (~2-2.4 mmol kg-1), modulated seasonally and spatially (~0.1-0.2 mmol kg-1) by calcifiers. Nitrate assimilation by primary production, denitrification, and sulfate reduction increased total alkalinity by almost 0.6 mmol kg-1 in the most eutrophic system during a period without calcifiers. Trends in pH ranged from -0.0088 yr-1 to 0.021 yr-1, the more extreme of these mainly driven by salinity changes in a sluice-controlled lagoon. Temperature increased 0.05 °C yr-1 across all three systems, which directly accounted for a pH decrease of 0.0008 yr-1. Accounting for mixing, salinity and temperature effects on dissociation and solubility constants, the resulting pH decline (0.0040 yr-1) was about twice the ocean trend, emphasizing the effect of nutrient management on primary production and coastal acidification. Coastal pCO2 increased ~4 times more rapidly than ocean rates, enhancing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Indeed, coastal systems undergo more drastic changes than the ocean and coastal acidification trends are substantially enhanced from nutrient reductions to address coastal eutrophication.

Continue reading ‘Long-term and seasonal trends in estuarine and coastal carbonate systems’

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,066,623 hits


Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book