Posts Tagged 'methods'

Observing changes in ocean carbonate chemistry: our autonomous future

Our developing network of autonomous carbonate observations is currently targeted at surface ocean CO2 fluxes and compact ecosystem observatories. New integration of developed sensors on gliders and surface vehicles will increase our coastal and regional observational capability. Most autonomous platforms observe a single carbonate parameter, which leaves us reliant on the use of empirical relationships to constrain the rest of the carbonate system. Sensors now in development promise the ability to observe multiple carbonate system parameters from a range of vehicles in the near future.

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Investigating marine bio‐calcification mechanisms in a changing ocean with in vivo and high‐resolution ex vivo Raman spectroscopy

Ocean acidification poses a serious threat to marine calcifying organisms, yet experimental and field studies have found highly diverse responses among species and environments. Our understanding of the underlying drivers of differential responses to ocean acidification is currently limited by difficulties in directly observing and quantifying the mechanisms of bio‐calcification. Here, we present Raman spectroscopy techniques for characterizing the skeletal mineralogy and calcifying fluid chemistry of marine calcifying organisms such as corals, coralline algae, foraminifera, and fish (carbonate otoliths). First, our in vivo Raman technique is the ideal tool for investigating non‐classical mineralization pathways. This includes calcification by amorphous particle attachment, which has recently been controversially suggested as a mechanism by which corals resist the negative effects of ocean acidification. Second, high‐resolution ex vivo Raman mapping reveals complex banding structures in the mineralogy of marine calcifiers, and provides a tool to quantify calcification responses to environmental variability on various timescales from days to years. We describe the new insights into marine bio‐calcification that our techniques have already uncovered, and we consider the wide range of questions regarding calcifier responses to global change that can now be proposed and addressed with these new Raman spectroscopy tools.

Continue reading ‘Investigating marine bio‐calcification mechanisms in a changing ocean with in vivo and high‐resolution ex vivo Raman spectroscopy’

Remote monitoring of seawater temperature and pH by low cost sensors


• Autonomous system for the remote monitoring of pH and temperature in seawater

• Potentiometric pH sensor based on functionalized reduced graphene oxide

• pH and temperature data published in a database accessible on the web


Monitoring chemical and physical properties of seawater is important to assess the status and predict future changes of marine environment. Among possible parameters, pH and temperature are frequently measured since they directly affect chemical and biological systems. Seawater assessment, conventionally performed in situ, is labour intensive and time consuming, but now remote sensor networks promise to become a viable tool to obtain spatial and temporal information over a wide range. Here we describe the development and validation of an autonomous system for the remote monitoring of pH and temperature in seawater. The device consists of a graphene-based pH sensor, a thermistor, an electronic readout, a smartphone and a power unit. After deployment in a marine testing site at the Livorno harbour in Italy, the system published on the web pH and temperature data for more than a week, whose accuracy was confirmed by comparison with a reference system.

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The measurement of ocean acidity using the depth-dependence of ambient noise

The absorption of sound in seawater is due to the viscous and chemical relaxation of different compounds. Over the wind noise band of 1–10 kHz, the frequency dependence of the absorption is due to the mechanisms of chemical relaxation for magnesium sulfate (f > 3 kHz) and for boric acid (f 10 m/s), the ambient noise field is dominated by locally generated surface noise and has a depth-independent directionality and a weakly frequency and depth-dependent intensity, due to sound absorption. By comparing measurements with theory, estimates of ocean acidity can be made from the depth profiles of ambient noise.

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The dynamic ocean acidification manipulation experimental system: Separating carbonate variables and simulating natural variability in laboratory flow‐through experiments

Carbonate chemistry variables such as PCO2, pH, and mineral saturation state (Ω) are commonly thought of as covarying in open‐ocean settings but have decoupled over geologic time‐scales and among modern dynamic coastal margins and estuaries. Predicting responses of vulnerable coastal organisms to past, present, and future ocean acidification (OA) scenarios requires the empirical identification of organismal sensitivity thresholds to individual carbonate chemistry parameters. Conversely, most OA experiments involve chemistry manipulations that result in covariance of carbonate system variables. We developed the Dynamic Ocean Acidification Manipulation Experimental System (DOAMES)—a feed‐forward, flow‐through carbonate chemistry control system capable of decoupling PCO2, pH, or Ω by independently manipulating total alkalinity (TAlk) and total inorganic carbon (TCO2). DOAMES proof‐of‐concept can manipulate source seawater with stable or variable carbonate chemistry and produce experimental treatments with constant and dynamic carbonate chemistry regimes. The combination of dynamic input and output allows for offset treatments that impose a ΔPCO2 on naturally variable conditions. After overcoming several operational challenges, DOAMES is capable of simultaneously generating three different experimental treatments within 1% ± 1% of TCO2 and TAlk targets. The achieved precision and accuracy resulted in the successful decoupling of pH and ΩAr in five trials. We tested the viability of sensitive bivalve embryos raised in DOAMES‐manipulated seawater and found no difference in development when compared to the control, demonstrating DOAMES suitability for organismal studies. DOAMES provides a novel tool to evaluate organismal effects of exposure to decoupled carbonate system variables and to past, current, and future carbonate chemistry scenarios.

Continue reading ‘The dynamic ocean acidification manipulation experimental system: Separating carbonate variables and simulating natural variability in laboratory flow‐through experiments’

Experimenting with multistressors

Understanding climate change impacts on species and ecosystems is complex, as individual systems will be exposed to different effects. Ocean acidification is one example stressor (or driver), but it is unlikely to occur in isolation; climate change will result in multiple stressors to organisms, such as warming, nutrient changes and stratification of the water column. All of these will affect and interact with each other in different ways. To date, most research has considered a single stressor. To understand what the future ocean may look like, there is a need to consider many possible permutations of stressors, and their synergies and antagonistic effects.

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In situ response of Antarctic under-ice primary producers to experimentally altered pH

Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations are contributing to ocean acidification (reduced seawater pH and carbonate concentrations), with potentially major ramifications for marine ecosystems and their functioning. Using a novel in situ experiment we examined impacts of reduced seawater pH on Antarctic sea ice-associated microalgal communities, key primary producers and contributors to food webs. pH levels projected for the following decades-to-end of century (7.86, 7.75, 7.61), and ambient levels (7.99), were maintained for 15 d in under-ice incubation chambers. Light, temperature and dissolved oxygen within the chambers were logged to track diurnal variation, with pH, O2, salinity and nutrients assessed daily. Uptake of CO2 occurred in all treatments, with pH levels significantly elevated in the two extreme treatments. At the lowest pH, despite the utilisation of CO2 by the productive microalgae, pH did not return to ambient levels and carbonate saturation states remained low; a potential concern for organisms utilising this under-ice habitat. However, microalgal community biomass and composition were not significantly affected and only modest productivity increases were noted, suggesting subtle or slightly positive effects on under-ice algae. This in situ information enables assessment of the influence of future ocean acidification on under-ice community characteristics in a key coastal Antarctic habitat.

Continue reading ‘In situ response of Antarctic under-ice primary producers to experimentally altered pH’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book