Posts Tagged 'field'

Long-term ocean acidification trends in coastal waters around Japan

This study examines long-term ocean pH data to evaluate ocean acidification (OA) trends at two coastal research institutions located on the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. These laboratories are located away from the influences of large rivers and major industrial activity. Measurements were performed daily for the past 30 years (1980s–2010s). The average annual ocean pH for both sites showed generally negative trends. These trends were – 0.0032 and – 0.0068 year–1 (p < 0.001) at the Sea of Japan and Pacific Ocean sites, respectively. The trends were superimposed onto approximately 10-year oscillations, which appear to synchronize with the ocean current periodicity. At the Sea of Japan site, the ocean pH in the summer was higher, and the rate of OA was higher than during other seasons. Our results suggest that seasonality and ocean currents influence OA in the coastal areas of open oceans and can affect the coastal regions of marginal seas.

Continue reading ‘Long-term ocean acidification trends in coastal waters around Japan’

Characterising mean and extreme diurnal variability of ocean CO2 system variables across marine environments

Diurnal variability of ocean CO2 system variables is poorly constrained. Here this variability and its drivers are assessed using 3‐hourly observations collected over 8‐140 months at 37 stations located in diverse marine environments. Extreme diurnal variability, i.e. when the daily amplitude exceeds the 99th percentile of diurnal variability, is comparable in magnitude to the seasonal amplitude and can surpass projected changes in mean states of pCO2 and [H+] over the twenty‐first century. At coastal sites and near coral reefs, extremes in diurnal amplitudes reach 187±85 and 149±106 μatm for pCO2, 0.21±0.08 and 0.11±0.07 for pH, and 1.2±0.5 and 0.8±0.4 for Ωarag, respectively. Extreme diurnal variability is weaker in the open ocean, but still reaches 47±18 μatm for pCO2, 0.04±0.01 for pH, and 0.25±0.11 for Ωarag. Diurnal variability of the ocean CO2 system is considerable and likely to respond to increasing CO2. Therefore, it should be represented in Earth system models.

Continue reading ‘Characterising mean and extreme diurnal variability of ocean CO2 system variables across marine environments’

Effect of ocean acidification on bacterial metabolic activity and community composition in oligotrophic oceans, inferred from short-term bioassays

Increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions in recent decades cause ocean acidification (OA), affecting carbon cycling in oceans by regulating eco-physiological processes of plankton. Heterotrophic bacteria play an important role in carbon cycling in oceans. However, the effect of OA on bacteria in oceans, especially in oligotrophic regions, was not well understood. In our study, the response of bacterial metabolic activity and community composition to OA was assessed by determining bacterial production, respiration, and community composition at the low-pCO2 (400 ppm) and high-pCO2 (800 ppm) treatments over the short term at two oligotrophic stations in the northern South China Sea. Bacterial production decreased significantly by 17.1–37.1 % in response to OA, since bacteria with high nucleic acid content preferentially were repressed by OA, which was less abundant under high-pCO2 treatment. Correspondingly, shifts in bacterial community composition occurred in response to OA, with a high fraction of the small-sized bacteria and high bacterial species diversity in a high-pCO2 scenario at K11. Bacterial respiration responded to OA differently at both stations, most likely attributed to different physiological responses of the bacterial community to OA. OA mitigated bacterial growth efficiency, and consequently, a larger fraction of DOC entering microbial loops was transferred to CO2.

Continue reading ‘Effect of ocean acidification on bacterial metabolic activity and community composition in oligotrophic oceans, inferred from short-term bioassays’

The seasonal phases of an Arctic lagoon reveal the discontinuities of pH variability and CO2 flux at the air–sea interface

The western Arctic Ocean, including its shelves and coastal habitats, has become a focus in ocean acidification research over the past decade as the colder waters of the region and the reduction of sea ice appear to promote the uptake of excess atmospheric CO2. Due to seasonal sea ice coverage, high-frequency monitoring of pH or other carbonate chemistry parameters is typically limited to infrequent ship-based transects during ice-free summers. This approach has failed to capture year-round nearshore carbonate chemistry dynamics which is modulated by biological metabolism in response to abundant allochthonous organic matter to the narrow shelf of the Beaufort Sea and adjacent regions. The coastline of the Beaufort Sea comprises a series of lagoons that account for > 50 % of the land–sea interface. The lagoon ecosystems are novel features that cycle between “open” and “closed” phases (i.e., ice-free and ice-covered, respectively). In this study, we collected high-frequency pH, salinity, temperature, and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) measurements in association with the Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems – Long Term Ecological Research program – for an entire calendar year in Kaktovik Lagoon, Alaska, USA, capturing two open-water phases and one closed phase. Hourly pH variability during the open-water phases are some of the fastest rates reported, exceeding 0.4 units. Baseline pH varied substantially between the open phase in 2018 and open phase in 2019 from ∼ 7.85 to 8.05, respectively, despite similar hourly rates of change. Salinity–pH relationships were mixed during all three phases, displaying no correlation in the 2018 open phase, a negative correlation in the 2018/19 closed phase, and a positive correlation during the 2019 open phase. The high frequency of pH variability could partially be explained by photosynthesis–respiration cycles as correlation coefficients between daily average pH and PAR were 0.46 and 0.64 for 2018 and 2019 open phases, respectively. The estimated annual daily average CO2 efflux (from sea to atmosphere) was 5.9 ± 19.3 mmolm−2d−1, which is converse to the negative influx of CO2 estimated for the coastal Beaufort Sea despite exhibiting extreme variability. Considering the geomorphic differences such as depth and enclosure in Beaufort Sea lagoons, further investigation is needed to assess whether there are periods of the open phase in which lagoons are sources of carbon to the atmosphere, potentially offsetting the predicted sink capacity of the greater Beaufort Sea.

Continue reading ‘The seasonal phases of an Arctic lagoon reveal the discontinuities of pH variability and CO2 flux at the air–sea interface’

Extreme levels of ocean acidification restructure the plankton community and biogeochemistry of a temperate coastal ecosystem: a mesocosm study

The oceans’ uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) decreases seawater pH and alters the inorganic carbon speciation – summarized in the term ocean acidification (OA). Already today, coastal regions experience episodic pH events during which surface layer pH drops below values projected for the surface ocean at the end of the century. Future OA is expected to further enhance the intensity of these coastal extreme pH events. To evaluate the influence of such episodic OA events in coastal regions, we deployed eight pelagic mesocosms for 53 days in Raunefjord, Norway, and enclosed 56–61 m3 of local seawater containing a natural plankton community under nutrient limited post-bloom conditions. Four mesocosms were enriched with CO2 to simulate extreme pCO2 levels of 1978 – 2069 μatm while the other four served as untreated controls. Here, we present results from multivariate analyses on OA-induced changes in the phyto-, micro-, and mesozooplankton community structure. Pronounced differences in the plankton community emerged early in the experiment, and were amplified by enhanced top-down control throughout the study period. The plankton groups responding most profoundly to high CO2 conditions were cyanobacteria (negative), chlorophyceae (negative), auto- and heterotrophic microzooplankton (negative), and a variety of mesozooplanktonic taxa, including copepoda (mixed), appendicularia (positive), hydrozoa (positive), fish larvae (positive), and gastropoda (negative). The restructuring of the community coincided with significant changes in the concentration and elemental stoichiometry of particulate organic matter. Results imply that extreme CO2 events can lead to a substantial reorganization of the planktonic food web, affecting multiple trophic levels from phytoplankton to primary and secondary consumers.

Continue reading ‘Extreme levels of ocean acidification restructure the plankton community and biogeochemistry of a temperate coastal ecosystem: a mesocosm study’

Weekly reconstruction of pH and total alkalinity in an upwelling-dominated coastal ecosystem through neural networks (ATpH-NN): The case of Ría de Vigo (NW Spain) between 1992 and 2019

Short and long-term variability of seawater carbon dioxide (CO2) system shows large differences between different ecosystems which are derived from the characteristic processes of each area. The high variability of coastal ecosystems, their ecological and economic significance, the anthropogenic influence on them and their behavior as sources or sinks of atmospheric CO2, highlight the relevance to better understand the processes that underlie the variability and the alterations of the CO2 system at different spatiotemporal scales. To confidently achieve this purpose, it is necessary to have high-frequency data sustained over several years in different regions. In this work, we contribute to this need by configuring and training two neural networks with the capacity to model the weekly variability of pH and total alkalinity (AT) in the upper 50 m of the water column of the Ría de Vigo (NW Spain), with an error of 0.031 pH units and 10.9 µmol kg−1 respectively. With these networks, we generated weekly time series of pH and AT in seven locations of the Ría de Vigo in three depth ranges (0–5 m, 5–10 m and 10–15 m), which adequately represent independent discrete measurements. In a first analysis of the time series, a high short-term variability is observed, being larger for the inner stations of the Ría de Vigo. The lowest values of pH and AT were obtained for the inner zone, showing a progressive increase towards the outer/middle zone of the ría. The mean seasonal cycle also reflects the gradient between both zones, with a larger amplitude and variability for both variables in the inner zone. On the other hand, the long-term trends derived from the time series of pH show a higher acidification than that obtained for the open ocean, with surface trends ranging from −0.020 pH units per year in the outer/middle zone to −0.032 pH units per year in the inner zone. In addition, positive long-term trends of AT were obtained ranging from 0.39 µmol kg−1 per year in the outer/middle zone to 2.86 µmol kg−1 per year in the inner zone. The results presented in this study show the changing conditions both in the short and long-term variability as well as the spatial differentiation between the inner and outer/middle zone to which the organisms of the Ría de Vigo are subjected. The neural networks and the database provided in this study offer the opportunity to evaluate the CO2 system in an environment of high ecological and economic relevance, to validate high-resolution regional biogeochemical models and to evaluate the impacts on organisms of the Ría de Vigo by refining the ranges of the biogeochemical variables included in experiments.

Continue reading ‘Weekly reconstruction of pH and total alkalinity in an upwelling-dominated coastal ecosystem through neural networks (ATpH-NN): The case of Ría de Vigo (NW Spain) between 1992 and 2019’

Feedback mechanisms stabilise degraded turf algal systems at a CO2 seep site

Human activities are rapidly changing the structure and function of coastal marine ecosystems. Large-scale replacement of kelp forests and coral reefs with turf algal mats is resulting in homogenous habitats that have less ecological and human value. Ocean acidification has strong potential to substantially favour turf algae growth, which led us to examine the mechanisms that stabilise turf algal states. Here we show that ocean acidification promotes turf algae over corals and macroalgae, mediating new habitat conditions that create stabilising feedback loops (altered physicochemical environment and microbial community, and an inhibition of recruitment) capable of locking turf systems in place. Such feedbacks help explain why degraded coastal habitats persist after being initially pushed past the tipping point by global and local anthropogenic stressors. An understanding of the mechanisms that stabilise degraded coastal habitats can be incorporated into adaptive management to better protect the contribution of coastal systems to human wellbeing.

Continue reading ‘Feedback mechanisms stabilise degraded turf algal systems at a CO2 seep site’

CO2 fluxes in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean based on measurements from a surface ocean observation platform


  • The SST controls the seasonal and spatial variation of CO2 fugacity and fluxes.
  • The pH and fCO2 shows spatial variability associated with upwelling influence.
  • NCT variation was mainly governed by biological activity and slightly affected by air-sea fluxes.
  • During 2019, the Northeast Atlantic region behaved as an annual CO2 sink of -2.65 ± 0.44 Tg CO2 yr-1
  • VOS lines are a powerful tool to study de CO2 system and fluxes in the coastal surface area.


The seasonal and spatial variability of the CO2 system parameters and CO2 air-sea exchange were studied in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean between the northwest African coastal upwelling and the oligotrophic open-ocean waters of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. Data was collected aboard a volunteer observing ship from February 2019 to February 2020. The seasonal and spatial variability of CO2 fugacity in seawater (fCO2,sw) was strongly driven by the seasonal temperature variation, which increased with latitude and was lower throughout the year in coastal regions where the upwelling and offshore transport was more intense. The thermal to biological effect ratio (T/B) was approximately 2, with minimum values along the African coastline related to higher biological activity in the upwelled waters. The fCO2,sw increased from winter to summer by 11.84 ± 0.28 μatm°C-1 on the inter-island routes and by 11.71 ± 0.25 μatm°C-1 along the northwest African continental shelf. The seasonality of total inorganic carbon normalized to constant salinity of 36.7 (NCT) was studied throughout the region. The effect of biological processes and calcification/dissolution on NCT between February and October represented >90% of the reduction of inorganic carbon while air-sea exchange described <6%. The seasonality of air-sea CO2 exchange was controlled by temperature. The surface waters of the entire region acted as a CO2 sink during the cold months and as a CO2 source during the warm months. The Canary basin acted as a net sink of -0.26 ± 0.04 molC m-2 yr-1. The northwest African continental shelf behaved as a stronger sink at -0.48 ± 0.09 molC m-2 yr-1. The calculated average CO2 flux for the entire area was -2.65 ± 0.44 TgCO2 yr-1 (-0.72 ± 0.12 TgC yr-1).

Continue reading ‘CO2 fluxes in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean based on measurements from a surface ocean observation platform’

Synoptic assessment of coastal total alkalinity through community science

Comprehensive sampling of the carbonate system in estuaries and coastal waters can be difficult and expensive because of the complex and heterogeneous nature of near-shore environments. We show that sample collection by community science programs is a viable strategy for expanding estuarine carbonate system monitoring and prioritizing regions for more targeted assessment. ‘Shell Day’ was a single-day regional water monitoring event coordinating coastal carbonate chemistry observations by 59 community science programs and seven research institutions in the northeastern United States, in which 410 total alkalinity (TA) samples from 86 stations were collected. Field replicates collected at both low and high tides had a mean standard deviation between replicates of 3.6 ± 0.3 µmol kg−1 (σmean ± SE, n = 145) or 0.20 ± 0.02%. This level of precision demonstrates that with adequate protocols for sample collection, handling, storage, and analysis, community science programs are able to collect TA samples leading to high-quality analyses and data. Despite correlations between salinity, temperature, and TA observed at multiple spatial scales, empirical predictions of TA had relatively high root mean square error >48 µmol kg−1. Additionally, ten stations displayed tidal variability in TA that was not likely driven by low TA freshwater inputs. As such, TA cannot be predicted accurately from salinity using a single relationship across the northeastern US region, though predictions may be viable at more localized scales where consistent freshwater and seawater endmembers can be defined. There was a high degree of geographic heterogeneity in both mean and tidal variability in TA, and this single-day snapshot sampling identified three patterns driving variation in TA, with certain locations exhibiting increased risk of acidification. The success of Shell Day implies that similar community science based events could be conducted in other regions to not only expand understanding of the coastal carbonate system, but also provide a way to inventory monitoring assets, build partnerships with stakeholders, and expand education and outreach to a broader constituency.

Continue reading ‘Synoptic assessment of coastal total alkalinity through community science’

Seaweed farms provide refugia from ocean acidification

Seaweed farming has been proposed as a strategy for adaptation to ocean acidification, but evidence is largely lacking. Changes of pH and carbon system parameters in surface waters of three seaweed farms along a latitudinal range in China were compared, on the weeks preceding harvesting, with those of the surrounding seawaters. Results confirmed that seaweed farming is efficient in buffering acidification, with Saccharina japonica showing the highest capacity of 0.10 pH increase within the aquaculture area, followed by Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis (ΔpH = 0.04) and Porphyra haitanensis (ΔpH = 0.03). The ranges of pH variability within seaweed farms spanned 0.14-0.30 unit during the monitoring, showing intense fluctuations which may also help marine organisms adapt to enhanced pH temporal variations in the future ocean. Deficit in pCO2 in waters in seaweed farms relative to control waters averaged 58.7 ± 15.9 μatm, ranging from 27.3 to 113.9 μatm across farms. However, ΔpH did not significantly differ between day and night. Dissolved oxygen and Ωarag were also elevated in surface waters at all seaweed farms, which are benefit for the survival of calcifying organisms. Seaweed farming, which unlike natural seaweed forests, is scalable and is not dependent on suitable substrate or light availability, could serve as a low-cost adaptation strategy to ocean acidification and deoxygenation and provide important refugia from ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Seaweed farms provide refugia from ocean acidification’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book