Posts Tagged 'field'

Physical and biological controls on ocean acidification in the Southampton Island region, Hudson Bay

Located in northwestern Hudson Bay, the Southampton Island region was identified as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and most recently distinguished as an Area of Interest in 2019 to become a Marine Protected Area. The region is undergoing climate-related changes; however, its oceanography has received little attention until recently. The main goal of this thesis was to provide a baseline evaluation of the state of ocean acidification of these waters, and to identify key factors driving changes in both pH and calcium carbonate saturation state. Twenty-two stations were sampled around the Island in August of 2019 for salinity, stable oxygen isotope ratio of seawater, total alkalinity, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and stable carbon isotope ratio of DIC (δ13CDIC), providing comprehensive water column coverage. High fractions of sea-ice melt were found in surface waters in Foxe Basin/Channel, which had experienced the most recent loss of sea ice. High fractions of meteoric water were found in near-surface waters in Roes Welcome Sound, likely from Wager Bay outflow, and south of the Island, likely from both rivers local to the Island and from Hudson Bay’s northwestern rivers. Regionally high pH, low pCO2, dissolved oxygen (O2) oversaturation, and enriched values of δ13CDIC, and thus likely areas of net primary production, were generally observed in the top ~50 m in Foxe Basin/Channel and Roes Welcome Sound, and near surface in Repulse Bay and Frozen Strait. More acidic and aragonite-undersaturated waters, potentially corrosive to marine calcifying organisms, were found below ~60 to 250 m at stations in Foxe Basin/Channel, and in bottom waters of South Bay and Evans Strait. These areas were high in pCO2 and undersaturated in O2, signifying net respiration had likely produced the observed values. It was concluded that while primary production and respiration appeared to be the dominant processes controlling the concentration of DIC in the Southampton Island region, the data could not be explained by any single process alone, highlighting the importance of metabolic processes, freshwater inputs, and air-sea gas exchange in governing the DIC pool in the region.

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Acidification scenario of Cox’s Bazar coast of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh and its influence on fish larvae abundance

Ocean acidification is caused mainly by atmospheric carbon dioxide stored in the ocean. Ocean acidification is considered a major threat to aquatic life, and how it influences the abundance of marine fish larvae is still unclear. This research was designed to measure the current ocean acidification scenario of the Cox’s Bazar coast of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, and its probable influence on the abundance of fish larvae. Three research stations were selected: Bakkhali river estuary, Naf river estuary, and Rezu Khal. Monthly sampling was done, and larvae sample was collected from the surface water column (depth: 0.5 m) using a bongo net. Water parameters such as temperature, salinity, total alkalinity, and pH were determined using laboratory protocol. The seacarb package of the R programming language was used to determine ocean acidification factors. The Bakkhali river estuary showed the highest partial carbon dioxide (143.99 ± 102.27 μatm) and the lowest pH (8.27 ± 0.21). A total of 19 larvae families were identified, and the highest larval count was found in Rezu Khal (390 larvae/1000 m3), while the lowest was found in the Bakkhali river (3 larvae/1000 m3). ClupeidaeMyctophidae, and Engraulidae comprised more than 50% of the identified larvae. BlenniidaeCarangidae, Clupeidae, Engraulidae, and Gobiidae were found in all three seasons. Most of the larvae families showed the highest mean abundance under less pCO2. A negative correlation was observed between larvae and acidification factors such as pCO2, HCO3, and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The study revealed that acidification parameters of the Cox’s Bazar coast were not in an acute state for the aquatic organisms’ survival, but fish larvae abundance could be declined with raises in the partial carbon dioxide. The results of this study may aid in developing a management plan for conserving Bangladesh’s marine and coastal fish.

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Calcification response of planktic foraminifera to environmental change in the western Mediterranean Sea during the industrial era (update)

The Mediterranean Sea sustains a rich and fragile ecosystem currently threatened by multiple anthropogenic impacts that include, among others, warming, pollution, and changes in seawater carbonate speciation associated to increasing uptake of atmospheric CO2. This environmental change represents a major risk for marine calcifiers such as planktonic foraminifera, key components of pelagic Mediterranean ecosystems and major exporters of calcium carbonate to the sea floor, thereby playing a major role in the marine carbon cycle. In this study, we investigate the response of planktic foraminifera calcification in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea on different timescales across the industrial era. This study is based on data from a 12-year-long sediment trap record retrieved in the in the Gulf of Lions and seabed sediment samples from the Gulf of Lions and the promontory of Menorca. Three different planktic foraminifera species were selected based on their different ecology and abundance: Globigerina bulloidesNeogloboquadrina incompta, and Globorotalia truncatulinoides. A total of 273 samples were weighted in both sediment trap and seabed samples.

The results of our study suggest substantial different seasonal calcification patterns across species: G. bulloides shows a slight calcification increase during the high productivity period, while both N. incompta and G. truncatulinoides display a higher calcification during the low productivity period. The comparison of these patterns with environmental parameters indicate that controls on seasonal calcification are species-specific. Interannual analysis suggests that both G. bulloides and N. incompta did not significantly reduce their calcification between 1994 and 2005, while G. truncatulinoides exhibited a constant and pronounced increase in its calcification that translated in an increase of 20 % of its shell weight. The comparison of these patterns with environmental data reveals that optimum growth conditions affect positively and negatively G. bulloides and G. truncatulinoides calcification, respectively. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) have a positive influence on N. incompta and G. truncatulinoides calcification, while carbonate system parameters appear to affect positively the calcification of three species in the Gulf of Lions throughout the 12-year time series.

Finally, comparison between sediment trap data and seabed sediments allowed us to assess the changes of planktic foraminifera calcification during the late Holocene, including the pre-industrial era. Several lines of evidence indicate that selective dissolution did not bias the results in any of our data sets. Our results showed a weight reduction between pre-industrial and post-industrial Holocene and recent data, with G. truncatulinoides experiencing the largest weight loss (32 %–40 %) followed by G. bulloides (18 %–24 %) and N. incompta (9 %–18 %). Overall, our results provide evidence of a decrease in planktic foraminifera calcification in the western Mediterranean, most likely associated with ongoing ocean acidification and regional SST trends, a feature consistent with previous observations in other settings of the world’s oceans.

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A rapid onset of ocean acidification associated with the end-Permian mass extinction

The end-Permian mass extinction (EPME) resulted in the most severe biodiversity loss in Earth’s history, the cause(s) of which are still heavily debated. Recent studies have emphasized the role of ocean acidification on marine ecosystem collapse during the EPME, but the timing of the onset of ocean acidification and its relationship to contemporaneous large igneous province (LIP) magmatism remain ambiguous. Here, we present the first in-situ secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) sulfur isotope data for pyrite and marcasite from the Meishan section, which hosts the Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB). We found a sharp increase in marcasite abundance and a concurrent decrease in marcasite δ34S to highly negative values (ca. –50‰) within the EPME interval (i.e., Beds 25–28). Combined with the morphology of marcasite, we infer that the formation of 34S-depleted anhedral marcasite occurred in a sulfate-unlimited porewater environment that was likely well connected to the overlying water column. A similar negative shift in δ34Smarcasite was observed in the EPME interval of the Penglaitan section. Given that marcasite forms only in acidic conditions and low δ34Smarcasite values suggest an open porewater system, the sharp negative shift in the δ34S of syndepositional marcasite records a sudden acidification of Late Permian seawater. This conclusion is broadly consistent with previously reported boron isotope data of brachiopod-shell which witnessed a negative shift at the same stratigraphic horizons. While the ocean acidification event started after the starting point (base of Bed 25) of EPME, it occurred broadly within the extinction interval (Beds 25 to 28), supporting the hypothesis that ocean acidification may have been a major environmental factor contributing to the end-Permian marine ecosystem collapse.

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Assessing the impacts of simulated ocean alkalinity enhancement on viability and growth of cultures of near-shore species of phytoplankton

Over the past 250 years, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have risen steadily from 277 ppm to 405 ppm, leading to the exacerbation of the effects of climate change. As a result, new technologies are being developed to remove carbon from the atmosphere, such as negative emission technologies (NETs). One proposed NET is Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE), which would mimic the ocean’s natural weathering processes and sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. An analysis of published data investigating the effects of elevated pH on phytoplankton growth rate and experimental assessment of pH dependence of viability and growth rate was used to assess the potential impacts of OAE. Viability was assessed with a modified Serial Dilution Culture – Most Probable Number assay. Chlorophyll a fluorescence was used to test for changes in growth rates and photosynthetic competence. The results from this study suggest that there will be no significant impact on the viability or growth rates of Thalassiosira pseudonana or Pavlova lutheri with short-term (10 minute) exposure to elevated pH. However, when long-term (days) exposure occurs there is a significant decrease in growth rates with elevated pH. Short-term exposure is anticipated to more closely mirror the natural systems in which OAE will be implemented because of system flushing and replenishment of nutrients. These preliminary findings suggest that there will be little to no impact on a variety of taxonomic groups of phytoplankton when OAE occurs in naturally flushed systems.

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Seasonal upwelling conditions modulate the calcification response of a tropical scleractinian coral

Natural processes such as upwelling of deeper-water masses change the physical-chemical conditions of the water column creating localized ocean acidification events that can have an impact on the natural communities. This study was performed in a coral reef system of an archetypical bay within the Tayrona National Natural Park (PNNT) (Colombia), and aimed to quantify net calcification rates of a foundational coral species within a temporal context (6 months) taking into account the dynamics of seasonal upwelling that influence the study area. Net calcification rates of coral fragments were obtained in situ by the alkalinity anomaly technique in short-term incubations (~2.5 h). We found a significant effect of the upwelling on net calcification rates (Gnet) (p < 0.05) with an 42% increase in CaCO3 accretion compared to non-upwelling season. We found an increase in total alkalinity (AT) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) with decreased aragonite saturation (Ωara) for the upwelling months, indicating an influence of the Subtropical Under Water mass (SAW) in the PNNT coral community. Significant negative correlations between net calcification with temperature and Ωara, which indicates a positive response of M. auretenra with the upwelling conditions, thus, acting as “enhancer” of resilience for coral calcification.

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Morpho-anatomical, and chemical characterization of some calcareous Mediterranean red algae species

Climatic changes are anticipated to have a detrimental effect on calcifying marine species. Calcareous red algae may be especially vulnerable to seasonal variations since they are common and essential biologically, but there is little research on the morpho-anatomical, and chemical characterization of such species. This study conducted the seasonal investigation of the three dominant Mediterranean calcified red algae. Morphological and 18S rRNA analysis confirmed the identification of collected species as Corallina officinalis, Jania rubens, and Amphiroa rigida. In general, C. officinalis was represented in the four seasons and flourishing maximum in autumn (70% of total species individuals). While J. rubens species was represented in winter, autumn, and spring and completely absent in summer. A. rigida was abundant only in the summer season by 40%. A full morphological and anatomical description of these species were examined, and their chemical compositions (carbohydrate, protein, lipid, pigments, and elements content) were assessed in different seasons, where carbohydrates were the dominant accumulates followed by proteins and lipids. Pearson correlation analysis confirmed a positive correlation between salinity level and nitrogenous nutrients of the seawater with the pigment contents (phycobiliproteins, carotenoids, and chlorophyll a) of the studied seaweeds. The results proved that calcified red algae were able to deposit a mixture of calcium carbonates such as calcite, vaterite, calcium oxalate, calcite-III I calcium carbonate, and aragonite in variable forms depending on the species.

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Climate change and the sea: a major disruption in steady state and the master variables

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, humans have burned enormous quantities of coal, oil, and natural gas, rivaling nature’s elemental cycles of C, N, and S. The result has been a disruption in a steady state of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, a warming of the planet, and changes in master variables (temperature, pH, and pε) of the sea affecting critical physical, chemical, and biological reactions. Humans have also produced copious quantities of N and P fertilizers producing widespread coastal hypoxia and low dissolved oxygen conditions, which now threaten even the open ocean. Consequently, our massive alteration of state variables diminishes coral reefs, fisheries, and marine ecosystems, which are the foundation of life on Earth. We point to a myriad of actions and alternatives which will help to stem the tide of climate change and its effects on the sea while, at the same time, creating a more sustainable future for humans and ecosystems alike.

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Ocean acidification has a strong effect on communities living on plastic in mesocosms

We conducted a mesocosm experiment to examine how ocean acidification (OA) affects communities of prokaryotes and eukaryotes growing on single-use drinking bottles in subtropical eutrophic waters of the East China Sea. Based on 16S rDNA gene sequencing, simulated high CO2 significantly altered the prokaryotic community, with the relative abundance of the phylum Planctomycetota increasing by 49%. Under high CO2, prokaryotes in the plastisphere had enhanced nitrogen dissimilation and ureolysis, raising the possibility that OA may modify nutrient cycling in subtropical eutrophic waters. The relative abundance of pathogenic and animal parasite bacteria also increased under simulated high CO2. Our results show that elevated CO2 levels significantly affected several animal taxa based on 18S rDNA gene sequencing. For example, Mayorella amoebae were highly resistant, whereas Labyrinthula were sensitive to OA. Thus, OA may alter plastisphere food chains in subtropical eutrophic waters.

Scientific Significance Statement

Plastic waste in the ocean is an urgent environmental concern and has given rise to a novel habitat, known as the “plastisphere.” Under ocean acidification (OA), changes in plastisphere community composition may alter plastic degradation, deposition, and passage through food webs, but these have not been studied yet. This is the first study about the effects of simulated high CO2 on the plastisphere using a mesocosm. We discovered that after 1 month the beta diversity of prokaryotic communities living on single-use plastic drinking bottles was significantly different under different carbon dioxide concentrations, with more pathogens at high CO2. Based on function prediction analysis, the relative abundance of bacterial taxa involved in nitrogen and nitrate respiration and ureolysis was significantly higher under simulated high CO2. We conclude that OA has significant effects on the plastisphere and its predicted functions.

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Benthic foraminiferal turnover and trait changes across the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) at ODP site 1265A, Walvis Ridge, SE Atlantic Ocean

Benthic foraminiferal turnover during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) has been extensively studied but numerous questions remained unresolved, question such as why some foraminiferal species went into extinction at a particular location but survive in another or why some species survive in extremely low oxygen environment. Because foraminiferal community interaction with the environment is driven by biological traits instead of taxonomic composition, this study has adopted trait-based approach to provide insight into the life strategies of foraminifera that enables them to survive in extreme environmental conditions. The result from this study shows that traits such as test composition, perforation, ornamentation and living habits play an important role in the ecological functioning and adaptability of foraminifera in the environment. The faunal assemblage in the studied site is dominantly cosmopolitan taxa suggesting the environment was perturbed during the PETM. Foraminiferal composition is characterised by faunal turnover indicated in extensive mortalities and extinction of both planktonic and benthic fauna. The ordination (non-metric dimensional scaling) of faunal composition also indicated ecological disturbance. The planktonic community was relatively stable before and after PETM but experienced a high level of ecological perturbation during the carbon isotopic excursion (CIE). The benthic community showed higher evidence of perturbation as the fauna assemblage ordination indicated that ecological stress started before the PETM with the disarray of samples in the ordination diagram. Only the recovery interval experienced some level of ecological stability. The environmental disturbance noticed in the fauna composition reflected on the trait. Benthic foraminiferal traits indicated instability throughout the studied section. The evidence of environmental disturbance in the benthic community suggests that the source of the light carbon that caused the PETM may have originated beneath sea floor in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Abundance and size structure of Patella spp. (Mollusca, Gastropoda) under ocean acidification conditions at CO2 vents (Ischia Island, Italy)

Abundance and size structure of Patella spp. were studied at Ischia Island (Tyrrhenian Sea) in two populations living at CO2 vents off Castello Aragonese, under natural ocean acidification (OA) conditions (pH 7.4-7.9), and three control populations in sites characterized by normal pH conditions (pH 8.1). Both CO2 vent populations had 95% of heavily corroded shells and significant lower abundances than control populations, while the size structure showed individuals of higher dimensions (>2 cm), fewer small specimens (0-1 cm) and lack of new recruits in the vent’s populations subjected to OA conditions. These results confirm that, although with low densities, limpets thrive under OA conditions, and exhibit larger sizes, than in control areas, but a reduced recruitment of juveniles. This fact suggests a habitat selection only by adult specimens likely more robust to OA then juveniles, and the potential influence of other indirect factors, such as the amount and quality of the plant food (higher N content), which seems higher under OA conditions, or a reduced predation, that can explain the larger limpet’s size.

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Ocean acidification as a governance challenge in the Mediterranean Sea: impacts from aquaculture and fisheries

Despite the progress in the international and regional governance efforts at the level of climate change, ocean acidification (OA) remains a global problem with profoundly negative environmental, social, and economical consequences. This requires extensive mitigation and adaptation effective strategies that are hindered by current shortcomings of governance. This multidisciplinary chapter investigates the risks of ocean acidification (OA) for aquaculture and fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea and its sub-basins and the role of regional adaptive governance to tackle the problem. The identified risks are based on the biological sensitivities of the most important aquaculture species and biogenic habitats and their exposure to the current and future predicted (2100) RCP 8.5 conditions. To link OA exposure and biological sensitivity, we produced spatially resolved and depth-related pH and aragonite saturation state exposure maps and overlaid these with the existing aquaculture industry in the coastal waters of the Mediterranean basin to demonstrate potential risk for the aquaculture in the future. We also identified fisheries’ vulnerability through the indirect effects of OA on highly sensitive biogenic habitats that serve as nursery and spawning areas, showing that some of the biogenic habitats are already affected locally under existing OA conditions and will be more severely impacted across the entire Mediterranean basin under 2100 scenarios. This provided a regional vulnerability assessment of OA hotspots, risks and gaps that created the baseline for discussing the importance of adaptive governance and recommendations for future OA mitigation/adaptation strategies. By understanding the risks under future OA scenarios and reinforcing the adaptability of the governance system at the science-policy interface, best informed, “situated” management response capability can be optimised to sustain ecosystem services.

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Carbonate system in the Cabo Frio upwelling

The quantitative assessment of the carbonate system represents one of the biggest challenges toward the “Sustainable Development Goals” defined by the United Nations in 2015. In this sense, the present study investigated the Spatio-temporal dynamics of the carbonate system and the effects of the El Niño and La Niña phenomena over the Cabo Frio upwelling area. The physical characterization of the site was carried out through data on wind speed and sea surface temperature. Water samples were also collected during the oceanographic cruise onboard the Diadorim R/V (Research Vessel). From these samples, the parameters of absolute and practical salinity, density, pH, total alkalinity, carbonate, calcite, aragonite, bicarbonate dissolved inorganic carbon, carbon dioxide, partial pressure of carbon, calcium, and total boron were obtained. The highest average concentration of bicarbonate in S1 (2018 µmol/kg) seems to contribute to the dissolved inorganic carbon values (2203 µmol/kg). The values of calcite saturation state, aragonite saturation state, and carbonate were higher on the surface of each station (calcite saturation state = 4.80–5.48; aragonite saturation state = 3.10–3.63, and carbonate = 189–216 µmol/kg). The mean values of pH were similar in the day/night samples (7.96/7.97). The whole carbonate system was calculated through thermodynamic modeling with the Marine Chemical Analysis (AQM) program loaded with the results of the following parameters: temperature, salinity, total alkalinity, and pH parameters. This manuscript presents original data on the carbonate system and the “acidification” process influenced by the Cabo Frio upwelling, which directly depends on the El Niño and La Niña phenomena oscillations in the sea surface temperature.

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High abundances of zooxanthellate zoantharians (Palythoa and Zoanthus) at multiple natural analogues: potential model anthozoans?

Whilst natural analogues for future ocean conditions such as CO2 seeps and enclosed lagoons in coral reef regions have received much recent research attention, most efforts in such locations have focused on the effects of prolonged high CO2 levels on scleractinian corals and fishes. Here, we demonstrate that the three species of zooxanthellate zoantharians, hexacorallian non-calcifying “cousins” of scleractinians, are common across five coral reef natural analogue sites with high CO2 levels in the western Pacific Ocean, in Japan (n = 2), Palau, Papua New Guinea, and New Caledonia (n = 1 each). These current observations support previously reported cases of high Palythoa and Zoanthus abundance and dominance on various impacted coral reefs worldwide. The results demonstrate the need for more research on the ecological roles of zooxanthellate zoantharians in coral reef systems, as well as examining other “understudied” taxa that may become increasingly important in the near future under climate change scenarios. Given their abundance in these sites combined with ease in sampling and non-CITES status, some zoantharian species should make excellent hexacoral models for examining potential resilience or resistance mechanisms of anthozoans to future high pCO2 conditions.

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High-frequency, year-round time series of the carbonate chemistry in a high-Arctic fjord (Svalbard)

The Arctic Ocean is subject to high rates of ocean warming and acidification, with critical implications for marine organisms as well as ecosystems and the services they provide. Carbonate system data in the Arctic realm are spotty in space and time and, until recently, there was no time-series station measuring the carbonate chemistry at high frequency in this region, particularly in coastal waters. We report here on the first high-frequency (1 h), multi-year (5 years) dataset of salinity, temperature, dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity, CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) and pH at a coastal site (11 m) in a high-Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard). We show that (1) the choice of formulations for calculating the dissociation constants of the carbonic acid remains unsettled for Arctic waters, (2) the water column is generally somewhat stratified despite the shallow depth, (3) the saturation state of calcium carbonate is subject to large seasonal changes but never reaches undersaturation (Ωa ranges between 1.4 and 3.0) and (4) pCO2 is lower than atmospheric CO2 at all seasons, making this site a sink for atmospheric CO2 (16.8 mol CO2 m−2 yr−1).

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Multiple factors driving carbonate system in subtropical coral community environments along Dapeng Peninsula, South China Sea

Coral reef ecosystems have extremely high primary productivity and play an important role in the marine carbon cycle. However, due to the high carbon metabolism efficiency of coral communities, little is known about the carbon sink–source properties of coral reefs. In November 2022, in situ field investigations coupled with incubation experiments were conducted in typical subtropical coral reef waters, i.e., Yangmeikeng Sea Area (Area I) and Dalu Bay (Area Ⅱ), to explore the dynamics of the carbonate system and its controlling factors. The results revealed that the carbonate parameters had high variability, comprehensively forced by various physical and biochemical processes. Overall, Areas I and Ⅱ were net sinks of atmospheric CO2, with net uptake fluxes of 1.66 ± 0.40 and 0.99 ± 0.08 mmol C m−2 day−1, respectively. The aragonite saturation state (ΩA), 3.04–3.87, was within the range adequate for growth of tropical shallow-water scleractinian corals. Inorganic carbon budget results indicated that photosynthesis and microbial respiration were the main factors affecting the dynamics of carbonate systems in the whole study area. However, focusing on the reef areas, coral metabolism was also a key factor affecting the carbonate system in seawater (especially in Area I) and its contribution accounted for 28.9–153.3% of the microbial respiration. This study highlighted that metabolism of coral communities could significantly affect the seawater carbonate system, which is of great significance in the context of the current process of ocean acidification.

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High resolution estimation of ocean dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity and pH based on deep learning

This study combines measurements of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TA), pH, earth observation (EO), and ocean model products with deep learning to provide a good step forward in detecting changes in the ocean carbonate system parameters at a high spatial and temporal resolution in the North Atlantic region (Long. −61.00° to −50.04° W; Lat. 24.99° to 34.96° N). The in situ reference dataset that was used for this study provided discrete underway measurements of DIC, TA, and pH collected by M/V Equinox in the North Atlantic Ocean. A unique list of co-temporal and co-located global daily environmental drivers derived from independent sources (using satellite remote sensing, model reanalyses, empirical algorithms, and depth soundings) were collected for this study at the highest possible spatial resolution (0.04° × 0.04°). The resulting ANN-estimated DIC, TA, and pH obtained by deep learning shows a high correspondence when verified against observations. This study demonstrates how a select number of geophysical information derived from EO and model reanalysis data can be used to estimate and understand the spatiotemporal variability of the oceanic carbonate system at a high spatiotemporal resolution. Further methodological improvements are being suggested.

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Macroalgal cover on coral reefs: spatial and environmental predictors, and decadal trends in the Great Barrier Reef

Macroalgae are an important component of coral reef ecosystems. We identified spatial patterns, environmental drivers and long-term trends of total cover of upright fleshy and calcareous coral reef inhabiting macroalgae in the Great Barrier Reef. The spatial study comprised of one-off surveys of 1257 sites (latitude 11–24°S, coastal to offshore, 0–18 m depth), while the temporal trends analysis was based on 26 years of long-term monitoring data from 93 reefs. Environmental predictors were obtained from in situ data and from the coupled hydrodynamic-biochemical model eReefs. Macroalgae dominated the benthos (≥50% cover) on at least one site of 40.4% of surveyed inshore reefs. Spatially, macroalgal cover increased steeply towards the coast, with latitude away from the equator, and towards shallow (≤3 m) depth. Environmental conditions associated with macroalgal dominance were: high tidal range, wave exposure and irradiance, and low aragonite saturation state, Secchi depth, total alkalinity and temperature. Evidence of space competition between macroalgal cover and hard coral cover was restricted to shallow inshore sites. Temporally, macroalgal cover on inshore and mid-shelf reefs showed some fluctuations, but unlike hard corals they showed no systematic trends. Our extensive empirical data may serve to parameterize ecosystem models, and to refine reef condition indices based on macroalgal data for Pacific coral reefs.

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Sponge organic matter recycling: reduced detritus production under extreme environmental conditions


  • Sponge metabolism was measured at the natural laboratory of Bouraké where sponges are naturally exposed to extreme conditions associated with tidal phase.
  • The photosymbiotic HMA sponge Rhabdastrella globostellata was able to cope with extreme acidification and deoxygenation seawater.
  • Photosynthetic activity of sponge symbionts was negatively affected during extreme environmental conditions.
  • The sponge loop pathway was disrupted during low tide, which correlated with extreme acidification, deoxygenation and warming seawater.


Sponges are a key component of coral reef ecosystems and play an important role in carbon and nutrient cycles. Many sponges are known to consume dissolved organic carbon and transform this into detritus, which moves through detrital food chains and eventually to higher trophic levels via what is known as the sponge loop. Despite the importance of this loop, little is known about how these cycles will be impacted by future environmental conditions. During two years (2018 and 2020), we measured the organic carbon, nutrient recycling, and photosynthetic activity of the massive HMA, photosymbiotic sponge Rhabdastrella globostellata at the natural laboratory of Bouraké in New Caledonia, where the physical and chemical composition of seawater regularly change according to the tide. We found that while sponges experienced acidification and low dissolved oxygen at low tide in both sampling years, a change in organic carbon recycling whereby sponges stopped producing detritus (i.e., the sponge loop) was only found when sponges also experienced higher temperature in 2020. Our findings provide new insights into how important trophic pathways may be affected by changing ocean conditions.

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Nutrient diversity over Gujarat coastal water, the Northeast Arabian Sea

The Gujarat coast has a variety of topographical factors that influence the spectrum of nutrients. Over various periods, the team of researchers analyzed the nutrients in seawater from over 75 stations in a total of 5 places across the northeast Arabian sea. Nitrate, Silicate, Orthophosphate, and Ammonia concentrations (µmol/L) of surface seawater were measured in situ. The result shows that southern Gujarat had a considerably higher range of nitrate, silicate, and orthophosphate concentrations which may be due to nitrification and eutrophication because of the gulf, estuary zone, heavy sedimentation, and industrial fluxes. A total of 43 stations/part A near the Gulf of Khambhat compared to 32 stations/part B from the northwest Gujarat coast, shows remarkably different results. Southern Gujarat supports different kinds of water with lower pH and high TSM range and muddy seawater color, remote sensing reflectance also supports the same. Satellite-based chlorophyll concentration supports the high range of Chl in southern Gujarat. The range of Nitrate, Ammonia, Silicate, and Orthophosphate for all stations is 3.9–62.5 µmol/L, 2.8-63.65 µmol/L, 0.5–160 µmol/L, 0.4-5 µmol/L respectively. Nitrate, Phosphate, and Silicate concentration follow the polynomial trend from the southern to the northern coast of Gujarat. The publication recommends researchers conduct more research on eutrophication in the southern Gujarat coastal region since it is linked to primary production and other elements of the marine ecosystem.

Continue reading ‘Nutrient diversity over Gujarat coastal water, the Northeast Arabian Sea’

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