Posts Tagged 'Indian'

The effects of ocean acidification on microbial nutrient cycling and productivity in coastal marine sediments

Ocean Acidification (OA), commonly referred to as the “other CO₂ problem,” illustrates the current rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels, precipitated in large by human-related activity (e.g., fossil fuel combustion and mass deforestation). The dissolution of atmospheric CO₂ into the surface of the ocean over time has reduced oceanic pH levels by 0.1 units since the start of the pre-industrial era and has resulted in wholesale shifts in seawater carbonate chemistry on a planetary scale. The chemical processes of ocean acidification are increasingly well documented, demonstrating clear rates of increase for global CO₂ emissions predicted by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) under the business-as-usual CO₂ emissions scenario. The ecological impact of ocean acidification alters seawater chemical speciation and disrupts vital biogeochemical cycling processes for various chemicals and compounds. Whereby the unidentified potential fallout of this is the cascading effects on the microbial communities within the benthic sediments. These microorganisms drive the marine ecosystem through a network of vast biogeochemical cycling processes aiding in the moderation of ecosystem-wide primary productivity and fundamentally regulating the global climate. The benthic sediments are determinably one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Marine sediments are also conceivably one of the most productive in terms of microbial activity and nutrient flux between the water-sediment interface (i.e., boundary layer). The absorption and sequestering of CO₂ from the atmosphere have demonstrated significant impacts on various marine taxa and their associated ecological processes. This is commonly observed in the reduction in calcium carbonate saturation states in most shell-forming organisms (i.e., plankton, benthic mollusks, echinoderms, and Scleractinia corals). However, the response of benthic sediment microbial communities to a reduction in global ocean pH remains considerably less well characterized. As these microorganisms operate as the lifeblood of the marine ecosystem, understanding their response and physiological plasticity to increased levels of CO₂ is of critical importance when it comes to investigating regional and global implications for the effects of ocean acidification.

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Seasonal quantification of carbonate dissolution and CO2 emission dynamics in the Indian Sundarbans estuaries

Shifts in carbonate dissolution can help understand the exchange of carbon dioxide between the air and water of estuarine systems. Adequate spatial coverage is required to understand these emission dynamics. Hence, the distribution of carbonate parameters in three estuaries covering a vast expanse of the Indian Sundarbans is described from total alkalinity (TA), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and pH data collected between 2016 and 2020. The seasonal impacts on inorganic carbon parameters were also studied by comparing pre-monsoon, monsoon, and post-monsoon data compiled from the study period. The estuaries showed the highest TA (up to 2506μmol kg −1) and DIC (up to 2203μmol kg −1) in the pre-monsoon. Both the parameters overall were positively associated with salinity. TA and DIC decreased by 369 and 208μmol kg −1, respectively, in the monsoon compared to pre-monsoon. From the monsoon to the post-monsoon, TA and DIC increased by 121 and 85μmol kg −1, respectively. Both showed strong positive associations with high chlorophyll- a and high dissolved oxygen in the post-monsoon suggesting an important role of primary production in the estuaries in raising the concentrations of inorganic carbon parameters. The carbonate mineral saturation states (ΩCa and ΩAr) followed the same pattern as that of TA and DIC. The pair was always supersaturated although freshwater influence caused the values to drop to close to saturation. While pCO2 was mostly supersaturated in the system relative to atmospheric concentration, it became minimal in the post-monsoon corresponding to heightened primary production. Despite high organic carbon recycling in mangroves, the system showed less expression in terms of CO2 emission in a seasonal cycle. Overall, the Indian Sundarbans estuarine system emitted low amounts of CO2 with its estimated water-to-air flux densities varying from 0.40 ± 0.61 (pre-monsoon) to 1.62 ± 1.74 mmol m−2h−1(monsoon).

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A framework for assessing harvest strategy choice when considering multiple interacting fisheries and a changing environment: the example of eastern Bering Sea crab stocks

Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management aims to broaden the set of factors included in assessments and management decision making but progress with implementation remains limited. We developed a framework that examines the consequences of temporal changes in temperature and ocean pH on yield and profit of multiple interacting stocks including eastern Bering Sea (EBS) snow, southern Tanner, and red king crab. Our analyses integrate experimental work on the effects of temperature and ocean pH on growth and survival of larval and juvenile crab and monitoring data from surveys, fishery landings, and at-sea observer programs. The impacts of future changes in temperature and ocean pH on early life history have effects that differ markedly among stocks, being most pessimistic for Bristol Bay red king crab and most optimistic for EBS snow crab. Our results highlight that harvest control rules that aim to maximize yield lead to lower profits than those that aim to maximize profit. Similarly, harvest control rules that aim to maximize profit lead to lower yields than those that aim to maximize yield, but differences are less pronounced. Maximizing profits has conservation benefits, especially when the implemented harvest control rule reduces fishing mortality if population biomass is below a threshold level.

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Comprehending the role of different mechanisms and drivers affecting the sea-surface pCO2 and the air-sea CO2 fluxes in the Bay of Bengal: a modeling study

We apply a coupled physical and biogeochemical (ROMS+PISCES) to understand the influence of distinct drivers and mechanisms on the sea-surface pCO2 and the air-sea CO2 flux of the Bay of Bengal (BoB). The model evaluation suggests that the model simulated sea-surface pCO2 is in accord with the observations. The north of BoB is found to be a sink for the atmospheric CO2, whereas the rest of the region acts as a source. The effect of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and the total alkalinity (TALK) is found to be predominant but is contrasting in nature. Mixing-induced changes in DIC and TALK results in high pCO2 (+570μatm) and, consequently, the positive CO2 flux. The biological activity does draw down the surface pCO2 (−120μatm) but is insufficient in completely opposing the effect of mixing. The uptake of CO2 in the north is due to the CO2 solubility, which is a function of salinity and temperature. The northern rivers, having a high discharge rate, reduce the salinity and temperatures in the north, which possibly aids in this region to be a sink. In the northeast monsoon season, the impact of temperature and DIC is high and opposing. The TALK reduces the pCO2 in the northeast monsoon, but the magnitude is low. The pCO2 in the southwest monsoon is influenced primarily by temperature, whereas in the postmonsoon monsoon, the freshwater dominates. The pre-monsoon season experiences the TALK, temperature, and freshwater increase the pCO2 anomalies, and only the DIC reduces pCO2 anomalies.

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Understanding the seasonality, trends and controlling factors of Indian ocean acidification over distinctive bio-provinces

The Indian Ocean (IO) is witnessing acidification as a direct consequence of the continuous rising of atmospheric CO2 concentration and indirectly due to the rapid ocean warming, which disrupts the pH of the surface waters. This study investigates the pH seasonality and trends over various bio-provinces of the IO and regionally assesses the contribution of each of its controlling factors. Simulations from a global and a regional ocean model coupled with biogeochemical modules were validated with pH measurements over the basin, and used to discern the regional response of pH seasonality (1990-2010) and trend (1961-2010) in response to changes in Sea Surface Temperature (SST), Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC), Total Alkalinity (ALK) and Salinity (S). DIC and SST are significant contributors to the seasonal variability of pH in almost all bio-provinces. Total acidification in the IO basin was 0.0675 units from 1961 to 2010, with 69.3% contribution from DIC followed by 13.8% contribution from SST. For most of the bio-provinces, DIC remains a dominant contributor to changing trends in pH except for the Northern Bay of Bengal and Around India (NBoB-AI) region, wherein the pH trend is dominated by ALK (55.6%) and SST (16.8%). Interdependence of SST and S over ALK is significant in modifying the carbonate chemistry and biogeochemical dynamics of NBoB-AI and a part of tropical, subtropical IO bio-provinces. A strong correlation between SST and pH trends infers an increasing risk of acidification in the bio-provinces with rising SST and points out the need for sustained monitoring of IO pH in such hotspots.

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Monsoon-driven biogeochemical dynamics in an equatorial shelf sea: time-series observations in the Singapore Strait


  • Multi-year time-series data show strong monsoonal seasonality.
  • River input from regional peatlands is a major driver of seasonal variation.
  • Light limitation likely modulates phytoplankton response to nutrient input.
  • Lower buffer capacity from peatland carbon remineralisation raises diel pH variation.


Coastal tropical waters are experiencing rapid increases in anthropogenic pressures, yet coastal biogeochemical dynamics in the tropics are poorly studied. We present a multi-year biogeochemical time series from the Singapore Strait in Southeast Asia’s Sunda Shelf Sea. Despite being highly urbanised and a major shipping port, the strait harbours numerous biologically diverse habitats and is a valuable system for understanding how tropical marine ecosystems respond to anthropogenic pressures. We observed strong seasonality driven by the semi-annual reversal of ocean currents: dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and phosphorus varied from ≤0.05 μmol l−1 during the intermonsoons to ≥4 μmol l−1 and ≥0.25 μmol l−1, respectively, during the southwest monsoon. Si(OH)4 exceeded DIN year-round. Based on nutrient concentrations, their relationships to salinity and coloured dissolved organic matter, and the isotopic composition of NOx, we infer that terrestrial input from peatlands is the main nutrient source. This input delivered dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrogen, but was notably depleted in dissolved organic phosphorus. In contrast, particulate organic matter showed little seasonality, and the δ13C of particulate organic carbon (−21.0 ± 1.5‰) is consistent with a primarily autochthonous origin. The seasonal pattern of the diel changes in dissolved O2 suggests that light availability controls primary productivity more than nutrient concentrations. However, diel changes in pH were greater during the southwest monsoon, when remineralisation of terrestrial DOC lowers the seawater buffer capacity. We conclude that terrestrial input results in mesotrophic conditions, and that the strait might undergo further eutrophication if nutrient inputs increase during seasons when light availability is high. Moreover, the remineralisation of terrestrial DOC within the Sunda Shelf may enhance future ocean acidification.

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Ocean acidification alters sperm responses to egg-derived chemicals in a broadcast spawning mussel

The continued emissions of anthropogenic carbon dioxide are causing progressive ocean acidification (OA). While deleterious effects of OA on biological systems are well documented in the growth of calcifying organisms, lesser studied impacts of OA include potential effects on gamete interactions that determine fertilization, which are likely to influence the many marine species that spawn gametes externally. Here, we explore the effects of OA on the signalling mechanisms that enable sperm to track egg-derived chemicals (sperm chemotaxis). We focus on the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, where sperm chemotaxis enables eggs to bias fertilization in favour of genetically compatible males. Using an experimental design based on the North Carolina II factorial breeding design, we test whether the experimental manipulation of seawater pH (comparing ambient conditions to predicted end-of-century scenarios) alters patterns of differential sperm chemotaxis. While we find no evidence that male–female gametic compatibility is impacted by OA, we do find that individual males exhibit consistent variation in how their sperm perform in lowered pH levels. This finding of individual variability in the capacity of ejaculates to respond to chemoattractants under acidified conditions suggests that climate change will exert considerable pressure on male genotypes that can withstand an increasingly hostile fertilization environment.

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Phenotypic responses in fish behaviour narrow as climate ramps up

Natural selection alters the distribution of phenotypes as animals adjust their behaviour and physiology to environmental change. We have little understanding of the magnitude and direction of environmental filtering of phenotypes, and therefore how species might adapt to future climate, as trait selection under future conditions is challenging to study. Here, we test whether climate stressors drive shifts in the frequency distribution of behavioural and physiological phenotypic traits (17 fish species) at natural analogues of climate change (CO2 vents and warming hotspots) and controlled laboratory analogues (mesocosms and aquaria). We discovered that fish from natural populations (4 out of 6 species) narrowed their phenotypic distribution towards behaviourally bolder individuals as oceans acidify, representing loss of shyer phenotypes. In contrast, ocean warming drove both a loss (2/11 species) and gain (2/11 species) of bolder phenotypes in natural and laboratory conditions. The phenotypic variance within populations was reduced at CO2 vents and warming hotspots compared to control conditions, but this pattern was absent from laboratory systems. Fishes that experienced bolder behaviour generally showed increased densities in the wild. Yet, phenotypic alterations did not affect body condition, as all 17 species generally maintained their physiological homeostasis (measured across 5 different traits). Boldness is a highly heritable trait that is related to both loss (increased mortality risk) and gain (increased growth, reproduction) of fitness. Hence, climate conditions that mediate the relative occurrence of shy and bold phenotypes may reshape the strength of species interactions and consequently alter fish population and community dynamics in a future ocean.

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Editorial: acidification and hypoxia in marginal seas

Editorial on the Research Topic
Acidification and Hypoxia in Marginal Seas

Ocean acidification and hypoxia (dissolved oxygen <2 mg L−1 or <62 μmol L−1) are universal environmental concerns that can impact ecological and biogeochemical processes, including element cycling, carbon sequestration, community shifts, contributing to biodiversity reduction, and reducing marine ecosystem services (Riebesell et al., 2000Feely et al., 20042009Andersson et al., 2005Doney, 2006Cohen and Holcomb, 2009Doney et al., 20092020Kleypas and Yates, 2009Ekstrom et al., 2015Gattuso et al., 2015). While the stressors are global in their occurrence, local and regional impacts might be enhanced and even more accelerated, thus requiring even greater and faster consideration (Doney et al., 2020).

The driving mechanisms of acidification and hypoxia are inextricably linked in near-shore and coastal habitats. Along coastal shelf and its adjacent marginal seas, where the natural variability of multiple stressors is high, human-induced eutrophication is additionally enhancing both local acidification and hypoxia. For example, the well-known eutrophication of surface waters in the northern Gulf of Mexico caused hypoxic conditions that result in a pH decrease by 0.34 in the oxygen-depleted bottom water, which is significantly more than the pH decrease via atmospheric CO2 sequestration alone (pH decrease by 0.11; Cai et al., 2011). Similar changes in coastal conditions involving biological respiration and atmospheric CO2 invasion have also been observed in other marginal seas, urbanized estuaries, salt marshes and mangroves (Feely et al., 200820102018Cai et al., 2011Howarth et al., 2011). Other natural and anthropogenic processes, such as increased wind intensity and coastal upwelling, enhanced stratification due to global warming, along with more intense benthic respiration, more frequent extreme events, oscillation of water circulations, and variations in the terrestrial carbon and/or alkalinity fluxes, etc., all influence the onset and maintenance of acidification and/or hypoxia. For example, coastal upwelling brings both low pH and hypoxic water from below and enhances acidification and hypoxia in the coastal regions (Feely et al., 2008). Although acidification and hypoxia in the open oceans have received considerable attention already, the advances in our understanding of the driving mechanisms and the temporal evolution under global climate change is still poorly understood, particularly with respect to the region-specific differences, various scales of temporal and spatial variability, predictability patterns, and interactive multiple stressor impacts. Therefore, coastal ecosystems have a much broader range of rates of change in pH than the open ocean does (Carstensen and Duarte, 2019). The importance of understanding acidification and hypoxia for the biogeochemical and ecosystem implications in marginal seas is essential for climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy implementations in the future.

The scope of this Research Topic is to cover the most recent advances related to the status of acidification and hypoxia in marginal seas, the coupling mechanisms of multi-drivers and human impacts, ecosystem responses, prediction of their evolution over space and time, and under future climate change scenarios. The authors of this Research Topic contributed a total of 35 papers covering a wide variety of subjects spanning from acidification and/or hypoxia (OAH) status, the carbonate chemistry baseline and trends, the impacts of OAH on the habitat suitability and ecosystem implications, and the long-term changes and variability of OAH in marginal seas.

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Coral calcification mechanisms in a warming ocean and the interactive effects of temperature and light

Ocean warming is transforming the world’s coral reefs, which are governed by the growth of marine calcifiers, most notably branching corals. Critical to skeletal growth is the corals’ regulation of their internal chemistry to promote calcification. Here we investigate the effects of temperature and light on the calcifying fluid chemistry (using boron isotope systematics), calcification rates, metabolic rates and photo-physiology of Acropora nasuta during two mesocosm experiments simulating seasonal and static temperature and light regimes. Under the seasonal regime, coral calcification rates, calcifying fluid carbonate chemistry, photo-physiology and metabolic productivity responded to both changes in temperature and light. However, under static conditions the artificially prolonged exposure to summer temperatures resulted in heat stress and a heightened sensitivity to light. Our results indicate that temperature and light effects on coral physiology and calcification mechanisms are interactive and context-specific, making it essential to conduct realistic multi-variate dynamic experiments in order to predict how coral calcification will respond to ocean warming.

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Impact of coastal upwelling dynamics on the pCO2 variability in the southeastern Arabian Sea


  • Upwelling-driven DIC enhancement is more in the near-surface waters than its removal by net biological processes in SEAS.
  • Biology-driven changes are notable only in the southern part of SEAS but not significant in controlling pCO2 variability.
  • Difference between the annual mean depth of DIC-cline and nitracline does not significantly vary in SEAS.
  • Upwelling-driven physical changes dominate over the enhanced biology-driven changes in inducing pCO2 seasonality in SEAS.


The southeastern Arabian Sea (SEAS) experiences moderate to weak upwelling along the southwest coast of India during the southwest monsoon (SM). The coastal upwelling initiates from mid-May along the southern-most tip of India, and with the advancement of SM, it propagates towards the northern latitude. This study examines the impact of coastal upwelling dynamics on the spatio-temporal variability of pCO2 in SEAS. It aims to identify the factors controlling the variability of pCO2 using high-resolution, regional ocean-ecosystem model-simulated outputs while available in situ and ship-based observations are used to establish the capability of the model. The cold deeper water that rises to the surface during upwelling decreases surface ocean pCO2 by 50 ± 2.4 µatm, whereas the presence of carbon-rich upwelling waters to a significantly shallower depth increases pCO2 by 52 ± 1.5 µatm of SEAS during SM. The salinity component increases surface ocean pCO2 by 2.0 ± 1.6 µatm. It has relatively less impact when compared with the individual effects of temperature and dissolved inorganic carbon components in controlling surface ocean pCO2 variability. The biological activities are profound only in the southern part of SEAS where biology-driven changes decrease surface ocean pCO2 by 4.0 ± 0.4 µatm during SM. The total biology-driven changes consist of both soft and hard tissues decrease the pCO2 level of SEAS by 2.0 ± 0.2 µatm during SM. Therefore, the upwelling-driven physical dynamics dominate the biological processes in controlling the spatio-temporal variability of surface ocean pCO2 in SEAS during SM, which contrasts the physical-biological dynamics of the sea east of Sri Lanka, where the biological processes dominate over physical dynamics in controlling surface ocean pCO2 variability.

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Artificial intelligence as a tool to study the 3D skeletal architecture in newly settled coral recruits: insights into the effects of ocean acidification on coral biomineralization

Understanding the formation of the coral skeleton has been a common subject uniting various marine and materials study fields. Two main regions dominate coral skeleton growth: Rapid Accretion Deposits (RADs) and Thickening Deposits (TDs). These have been extensively characterized at the 2D level, but their 3D characteristics are still poorly described. Here, we present an innovative approach to combine synchrotron phase contrast-enhanced microCT (PCE-CT) with artificial intelligence (AI) to explore the 3D architecture of RADs and TDs within the coral skeleton. As a reference study system, we used recruits of the stony coral Stylophora pistillata from the Red Sea, grown under both natural and simulated ocean acidification conditions. We thus studied the recruit’s skeleton under both regular and morphologically-altered acidic conditions. By imaging the corals with PCE-CT, we revealed the interwoven morphologies of RADs and TDs. Deep-learning neural networks were invoked to explore AI segmentation of these regions, to overcome limitations of common segmentation techniques. This analysis yielded highly-detailed 3D information about the RAD’s and TD’s architecture. Our results demonstrate how AI can be used as a powerful tool to obtain 3D data essential for studying coral biomineralization and for exploring the effects of environmental change on coral growth.

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Abrupt upwelling and CO2 outgassing episodes in the north-eastern Arabian Sea since mid-Holocene

Identifying the causes and consequences of natural variations in ocean acidification and atmospheric CO2 due to complex earth processes has been a major challenge for climate scientists in the past few decades. Recent developments in the boron isotope (δ11B) based seawater pH and pCO2 (or pCO2sw) proxy have been pivotal in understanding the various oceanic processes involved in air-sea CO2 exchange. Here we present the first foraminifera-based δ11B record from the north-eastern Arabian Sea (NEAS) covering the mid-late Holocene (~ 8–1 ka). Our record suggests that the region was overall a moderate to strong CO2 sink during the last 7.7 kyr. The region behaved as a significant CO2 source during two short intervals around 5.5–4 ka and 2.8–2.5 ka. The decreased pH and increased CO2 outgassing during those abrupt episodes are associated with the increased upwelling in the area. The upwelled waters may have increased the nutrient content of the surface water through either increased supply or weaker export production. This new dataset from the coastal NEAS suggests that, as a potential result of changes in the strength of the El-Nino Southern Oscillation, the region experienced short episodes of high CO2 outgassing and pre-industrial ocean acidification comparable to or even greater than that experienced during the last ~ 200 years.

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Influence of ocean warming and acidification on habitat-forming coralline algae and their associated molluscan assemblages


  • We assessed whether ocean warming and acidification impacts habitat-forming coralline algal turfs and their associated molluscan assemblages.
  • Ocean warming negatively impacted the cover and photosynthetic efficiency of coralline fronds.
  • Ocean acidification caused a 56% and a 59% reduction in the biomass and frond density of coralline turfs, respectively.
  • Ocean acidification caused a decrease in the richness and abundance of molluscs in coralline turfs by 43% and 61%, respectively.


When ocean warming and acidification impact habitat-forming species, substantial alterations to the supported ecological communities and associated ecosystems are likely to follow. Here, we used experimental manipulations to test the hypotheses that ocean warming and acidification would negatively affect habitat-forming coralline algal turfs and the diverse molluscan assemblages they support. Boulders covered in a turf of Amphiroa anceps with intact faunal assemblages were subjected to an orthogonal combination of current (~ 23 °C) and future (~ 26 °C) ocean temperatures, and current (~ 430 µatm) and future (~ 880 µatm) seawater pCO2. Ocean warming negatively impacted the cover and photosynthetic efficiency of Amphiroa fronds, whereas ocean acidification caused the biomass per unit area and the frond density of Amphiroa turf to be 56% and 59% less than current ocean conditions, respectively. Ocean acidification also caused a significant change in the structure of molluscan assemblages associated with Amphiroa turf, which included a 43% and a 61% reduction in the species richness and overall abundance of molluscs, respectively. The results demonstrate that coralline algal turfs are particularly vulnerable to ocean climate change, which has implications for the biodiversity and ecosystem functions supported by these globally distributed foundation species.

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The impact of the South-East Madagascar Bloom on the oceanic CO2 sink (update)

We described new sea surface CO2 observations in the south-western Indian Ocean obtained in January 2020 when a strong bloom event occurred south-east of Madagascar and extended eastward in the oligotrophic Indian Ocean subtropical domain. Compared to previous years (1991–2019) we observed very low fCO2 and dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations (CT) in austral summer 2020, indicative of a biologically driven process. In the bloom, the anomaly of fCO2 and CT reached respectively −33 µatm and −42 µmol kg−1, whereas no change is observed for alkalinity (AT). In January 2020 we estimated a local maximum of air–sea CO2 flux at 27 S of −6.9 mmol m−2 d−1 (ocean sink) and −4.3 mmol m−2 d−1 when averaging the flux in the band 26–30 S. In the domain 25–30 S, 50–60 E we estimated that the bloom led to a regional carbon uptake of about −1 TgC per month in January 2020, whereas this region was previously recognized as an ocean CO2 source or near equilibrium during this season. Using a neural network approach that reconstructs the monthly fCO2 fields, we estimated that when the bloom was at peak in December 2019 the CO2 sink reached −3.1 (±1.0) mmol m−2 d−1 in the band 25–30 S; i.e. the model captured the impact of the bloom. Integrated in the domain restricted to 25–30 S, 50–60 E, the region was a CO2 sink in December 2019 of −0.8 TgC per month compared to a CO2 source of +0.12 (±0.10) TgC per month in December when averaged over the period 1996–2018. Consequently in 2019 this region was a stronger CO2 annual sink of −8.8 TgC yr−1 compared to −7.0 (±0.5) TgC yr−1 averaged over 1996–2018. In austral summer 2019–2020, the bloom was likely controlled by a relatively deep mixed-layer depth during the preceding winter (July–September 2019) that would supply macro- and/or micro-nutrients such as iron to the surface layer to promote the bloom that started in November 2019 in two large rings in the Madagascar Basin. Based on measurements in January 2020, we observed relatively high N2 fixation rates (up to 18 nmol N L−1 d−1), suggesting that diazotrophs could play a role in the bloom in the nutrient-depleted waters. The bloom event in austral summer 2020, along with the new carbonate system observations, represents a benchmark case for complex biogeochemical model sensitivity studies (including the N2 fixation process and iron supplies) for a better understanding of the origin and termination of this still “mysterious” sporadic bloom and its impact on ocean carbon uptake in the future.

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Effects of elevated pCO2 on the photosynthetic performance of the sea ice diatoms Navicula directa and Navicula glaciei

Sea ice algal communities are generally dominated by pennate diatoms, which commonly occur at the ice-water interface and in brine channels. They also make a significant contribution to higher trophic levels associated with sea ice habitats. Here, the photosynthetic responses of two sea ice diatom species, Navicula directa and Navicula glaciei, to changes in pCO2 under controlled laboratory conditions were compared. pCO2 (390 ppm and 750 ppm) was manipulated to simulate a shift from present levels (1990) to predicted “IPCC year 2100 worst-case scenario” levels. To investigate these effects, a pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM) fluorometer was used to measure the photosynthetic performance. The ability of the sea ice algae to grow and photosynthesize within physio-chemical gradients in the sea ice suggests that both sea ice species are likely to be well adapted to cope with changes in pCO2 concentrations. Lower pH and higher pCO2 for 7 days resulted in increased biomass, especially for N. directa. However, a decline in photosynthetic capacity (rETRmax) was observed for both species (highest value 11.375 ± 0.163, control; and 8.322 ± 1.282, treatment). Navicula glaciei showed significant effects of elevated pCO2 (p < 0.05) on its photosynthetic response, while N. directa did not. Future changes in CO2 and pH may thus not significantly affect all diatoms but may lead to changes in the photosynthetic activities in some species.

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Marginal reefs under stress: physiological limits render Galápagos corals susceptible to ocean acidification and thermal stress


Ocean acidification (OA) and thermal stress may undermine corals’ ability to calcify and support diverse reef communities, particularly in marginal environments. Coral calcification depends on aragonite supersaturation (Ω » 1) of the calcifying fluid (cf) from which the skeleton precipitates. Corals actively upregulate pHcf relative to seawater to buffer against changes in temperature and dissolved inorganic carbon, which together control Ωcf. Here we assess the buffering capacity of modern and fossil corals from the Galápagos Islands that have been exposed to sub-optimal conditions, extreme thermal stress, and OA. We demonstrate a significant decline in pHcf and Ωcf since the pre-industrial era, trends which are exacerbated during extreme warm years. These results suggest that there are likely physiological limits to corals’ pH buffering capacity, and that these constraints render marginal reefs particularly susceptible to OA.

Plain Language Summary

Reef-building corals regulate their internal environment to permit rapid growth, which is critical for creating the structure and function of coral reefs. However, we demonstrate that there are finite limits to the ability of corals to regulate their internal chemistry to optimize growth. This limitation will leave corals susceptible to ocean warming and acidification, particularly in sub-optimal environments. Galápagos corals already display signs of stress and an inability to maintain an optimal internal growth environment from the eighteenth century to today.

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Rapid evolution fuels transcriptional plasticity to ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) is postulated to affect the physiology, behavior, and life-history of marine species, but potential for acclimation or adaptation to elevated pCO2 in wild populations remains largely untested. We measured brain transcriptomes of six coral reef fish species at a natural volcanic CO2 seep and an adjacent control reef in Papua New Guinea. We show that elevated pCO2 induced common molecular responses related to circadian rhythm and immune system but different magnitudes of molecular response across the six species. Notably, elevated transcriptional plasticity was associated with core circadian genes affecting the regulation of intracellular pH and neural activity in Acanthochromis polyacanthus. Gene expression patterns were reversible in this species as evidenced upon reduction of CO2 following a natural storm-event. Compared with other species, Acpolyacanthus has a more rapid evolutionary rate and more positively selected genes in key functions under the influence of elevated CO2, thus fueling increased transcriptional plasticity. Our study reveals the basis to variable gene expression changes across species, with some species possessing evolved molecular toolkits to cope with future OA.

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A seamless ensemble-based reconstruction of surface ocean pCO2 and air–sea CO2 fluxes over the global coastal and open oceans

We have estimated global air–sea CO2 fluxes (fgCO2) from the open ocean to coastal seas. Fluxes and associated uncertainty are computed from an ensemble-based reconstruction of CO2 sea surface partial pressure (pCO2) maps trained with gridded data from the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas v2020 database. The ensemble mean (which is the best estimate provided by the approach) fits independent data well, and a broad agreement between the spatial distribution of model–data differences and the ensemble standard deviation (which is our model uncertainty estimate) is seen. Ensemble-based uncertainty estimates are denoted by ±1σ. The space–time-varying uncertainty fields identify oceanic regions where improvements in data reconstruction and extensions of the observational network are needed. Poor reconstructions of pCO2 are primarily found over the coasts and/or in regions with sparse observations, while fgCO2 estimates with the largest uncertainty are observed over the open Southern Ocean (44 S southward), the subpolar regions, the Indian Ocean gyre, and upwelling systems.

Our estimate of the global net sink for the period 1985–2019 is 1.643±0.125 PgC yr−1 including 0.150±0.010 PgC yr−1 for the coastal net sink. Among the ocean basins, the Subtropical Pacific (18–49 N) and the Subpolar Atlantic (49–76 N) appear to be the strongest CO2 sinks for the open ocean and the coastal ocean, respectively. Based on mean flux density per unit area, the most intense CO2 drawdown is, however, observed over the Arctic (76 N poleward) followed by the Subpolar Atlantic and Subtropical Pacific for both open-ocean and coastal sectors. Reconstruction results also show significant changes in the global annual integral of all open- and coastal-ocean CO2 fluxes with a growth rate of  PgC yr−2 and a temporal standard deviation of 0.526±0.022 PgC yr−1 over the 35-year period. The link between the large interannual to multi-year variations of the global net sink and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation climate variability is reconfirmed.

Continue reading ‘A seamless ensemble-based reconstruction of surface ocean pCO2 and air–sea CO2 fluxes over the global coastal and open oceans’

Impact of 2nd wave of COVID-19-related lockdown on coastal water quality at Diu, western coast of India and role of total alkalinity on bacterial loads

A detailed coastal water monitoring near Diu coast, western part of India was performed from October, 2020 to May, 2021 covering the 2nd lockdown time. Average monthly fluctuation from 7 different sampling stations of total 9 physico-chemical parameters such as pH, salinity, turbidity, nitrite (NO2), nitrate (NO3), ammonia (NH3), phosphate (PO4), total alkalinity and silicate were recorded. Initially, Mann–Kendall trend test for all the 9 parameters showed non-zero trend, which may be either linear or non-linear. During 2nd lockdown period, there was a fluctuation of value for parameters like pH, salinity, nitrate, nitrite and phosphate. Average total bacterial count and differential bacterial count also gradually decreased from March, 2021 sampling. Principal component analysis (PCA) plot covering all the physico-chemical parameters as well as the differential bacterial count showed a distinct cluster of all bacterial count with total alkalinity value. Subsequently, mathematical equation was formulated between total alkalinity value and all differential bacterial count. Upto our knowledge, this is the first report where mathematical equation was formulated to obtain value of different bacterial load based on the derived total alkalinity value of the coastal water samples near Diu, India.

Continue reading ‘Impact of 2nd wave of COVID-19-related lockdown on coastal water quality at Diu, western coast of India and role of total alkalinity on bacterial loads’

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