Posts Tagged 'modeling'

Implementing a finite-volume coupled physical-biogeochemical model to the coastal East China Sea

Several models for estuarine physical processes and biogeochemistry have been developed over last decades. One of the most comprehensive coupled model systems, Finite Volume Community Coastal Model (FVCOM) coupled with European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM) through the Framework for Aquatic Biogeochemical Models (FABM) has been implemented to a high resolution coastal East China Sea (ECS), which encompassed complex coastal zone and part of continental shelf. Physical model was assessed by traditional univariate comparisons, while a rigorous model skill assessment was conducted for coupled biological model. The model system’s ability to reproduce major characteristics both in physical and biological environments was evaluated. The roles of physical, chemical and environmental parameters on the biogeochemistry of the ECS were extensively studied. This work could form a significant basis for future work, e.g. the response of biogeochemical flux to physical mechanism.

Continue reading ‘Implementing a finite-volume coupled physical-biogeochemical model to the coastal East China Sea’

Mapping cumulative impacts to coastal ecosystem services in British Columbia

Ecosystem services are impacted through restricting service supply, through limiting people from accessing services, and by affecting the quality of services. We map cumulative impacts to 8 different ecosystem services in coastal British Columbia using InVEST models, spatial data, and expert elicitation to quantify risk to each service from anthropogenic activities. We find that impact to service access and quality as well as impact to service supply results in greater severity of impact and a greater diversity of causal processes of impact than only considering impact to service supply. This suggests that limiting access to services and impacts to service quality may be important and understanding these kinds of impacts may complement our knowledge of impacts to biophysical systems that produce services. Some ecosystem services are at greater risk from climate stressors while others face greater risk from local activities. Prominent causal pathways of impact include limiting access and affecting quality. Mapping cumulative impacts to ecosystem services can yield rich insights, including highlighting areas of high impact and understanding causes of impact, and should be an essential management tool to help maintain the flow of services we benefit from.

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Using the Health Belief Model to explore the impact of environmental empathy on behavioral intentions to protect ocean health

We examine psychological mediating mechanisms to promote ocean health among the U.S. public. Ocean acidification (OA) was chosen as the focus, as experts consider it as important as climate change with the same cause of humanity’s excessive carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but it is lesser known. Empathy is a multi-dimensional concept that includes cognitive and emotional aspects. Previous literature argues that environmental empathy can facilitate positive behaviors. We tested the hypothesis that empathy affects beliefs and behavioral intentions regarding ocean health using the Health Belief Model. We found that higher empathy toward ocean health led to higher perceived susceptibility and severity from OA, greater perceived benefits of CO2 emissions reduction, greater perceived barriers, and keener attention to the media. Beliefs and media attention positively influenced behavioral intentions (e.g., willingness to buy a fuel efficient car). Theoretical and practical implications regarding audience targeting and intervention design are discussed.

Continue reading ‘Using the Health Belief Model to explore the impact of environmental empathy on behavioral intentions to protect ocean health’

Sea-ice loss amplifies summertime decadal CO2 increase in the western Arctic Ocean

Rapid climate warming and sea-ice loss have induced major changes in the sea surface partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2pCO2). However, the long-term trends in the western Arctic Ocean are unknown. Here we show that in 1994–2017, summer pCO2pCO2 in the Canada Basin increased at twice the rate of atmospheric increase. Warming and ice loss in the basin have strengthened the pCO2pCO2 seasonal amplitude, resulting in the rapid decadal increase. Consequently, the summer air–sea CO2 gradient has reduced rapidly, and may become near zero within two decades. In contrast, there was no significant pCO2pCO2 increase on the Chukchi Shelf, where strong and increasing biological uptake has held pCO2pCO2 low, and thus the CO2 sink has increased and may increase further due to the atmospheric CO2 increase. Our findings elucidate the contrasting physical and biological drivers controlling sea surface pCO2pCO2 variations and trends in response to climate change in the Arctic Ocean.

Continue reading ‘Sea-ice loss amplifies summertime decadal CO2 increase in the western Arctic Ocean’

Effects of ocean acidification on Antarctic microbial communities

Antarctic waters are amongst the most vulnerable in the world to ocean acidification due to their cold temperatures, naturally low levels of calcium carbonate and upwelling that brings deep CO2-rich waters to the surface. A meta-analysis demonstrated groups of Antarctic marine biota in waters south of 60!S have a range of tolerances to ocean acidification. Invertebrates and phytoplankton showed negative effects above 500 μatm and 1000 μatm CO2 respectively, while bacteria appear tolerant to elevated CO2. Phytoplankton studied as part of a natural microbial community were found to be more
sensitive than those studied as a single species in culture. This highlights the importance of community and ecosystem level studies, which incorporate the interaction and competition among species and trophic levels, to accurately assess the effects of ocean acidification on the Antarctic ecosystem.

Antarctic marine microbes (comprising phytoplankton, protozoa and bacteria) drive ocean productivity, nutrient cycling and mediate trophodynamics and the biological pump. While they appear vulnerable to changes in ocean chemistry, little is known about the nature and magnitude of their responses to ocean acidification, especially for natural communities. To address this lack of information, a six level, dose-response ocean acidification experiment was conducted in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica, using 650 L incubation tanks (minicosms). The minicosms were filled with Antarctic nearshore water and adjusted to a gradient of carbon dioxide (CO2) from 343 to 1641 μatm. Microscopy
and phylogenetic marker gene sequence analysis found the microbial community
composition altered at CO2 levels above approximately 1000 μatm. The CO2-
induced responses of microeukaryotes (>20 μm) and nanoeukaryotes (2 to 20 μm) were taxon-specific. For diatoms the response of taxa was related to cell size with micro-sized diatoms (>20 μm) increasing in abundance with moderate CO2 (506 to 634 μatm), while above this level their abundance declined. In contrast, nano-size diatoms (<20 μm) tolerated elevated CO2. Like large diatoms, Phaeocystis antarctica increased in abundance between 343 to 634 μatm CO2 but fell at higher levels. 18S and 16S rDNA sequencing showed that picoeukaryotic and prokaryotic composition was unaffected by CO2, despite having higher abundances at CO2 levels !634 μatm. This was likely due to the lower abundance of heterotrophic nanoflagellates at CO2 levels exceeding 953 μatm, which reduced the top-down control of their pico- and nanoplanktonic prey. As a result of the differences in the tolerance of individual taxa/size categories, CO2 caused a
significant change in the microbial community structure to one dominated by nano-sized diatoms, picoeukaryotes and prokaryotes.

Based on the CO2-induced changes in the microbial community, modelling was performed to investigate the future effects of different levels of elevated CO2 on the structure and function of microbial communities in Antarctic coastal systems. These models indicate CO2 levels predicted toward the end of the century under a “business as usual scenario” elicit changes in microbial composition, significantly altering trophodynamic pathways, reducing energy transfer to higher trophic levels and favouring respiration of carbon within the microbial loop. Such responses would alter elemental cycles, jeopardise the productivity that underpins the wealth and diversity of life for which Antarctica is renowned. In addition, it would reduce carbon sequestration in coastal Antarctic waters thereby having a positive feedback on global climate change.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on Antarctic microbial communities’

Spatial risk assessment of global change impacts on Swedish seagrass ecosystems

Improved knowledge on the risk in ecologically important habitats on a regional scale from multiple stressors is critical for managing functioning and resilient ecosystems. This risk assessment aimed to identify seagrass ecosystems in southern Sweden that will be exposed to a high degree of change from multiple global change stressors in mid- and end-of-century climate change conditions. Risk scores were calculated from the expected overlap of three stressors: sea surface temperature increases, ocean acidification and wind driven turbid conditions. Three high-risk regions were identified as areas likely to be exposed to a particularly high level of pressure from the global stressors by the end of the century. In these areas it can be expected that there will be a large degree of stressor change from the current conditions. Given the ecological importance of seagrass meadows for maintaining high biodiversity and a range of other ecosystem services, these risk zones should be given high priority for incorporation into management strategies, which can attempt to reduce controllable stressors in order to mitigate the consequences of some of the impending pressures and manage for maintained ecosystem resilience.

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Emergent constraint on Arctic Ocean acidification in the twenty-first century

The ongoing uptake of anthropogenic carbon by the ocean leads to ocean acidification, a process that results in a reduction in pH and in the saturation state of biogenic calcium carbonate minerals aragonite (Ωarag) and calcite (Ωcalc)1,2. Because of its naturally low Ωarag and Ωcalc (refs. 2,3), the Arctic Ocean is considered the region most susceptible to future acidification and associated ecosystem impacts4,5,6,7. However, the magnitude of projected twenty-first century acidification differs strongly across Earth system models8. Here we identify an emergent multi-model relationship between the simulated present-day density of Arctic Ocean surface waters, used as a proxy for Arctic deep-water formation, and projections of the anthropogenic carbon inventory and coincident acidification. By applying observations of sea surface density, we constrain the end of twenty-first century Arctic Ocean anthropogenic carbon inventory to 9.0 ± 1.6 petagrams of carbon and the basin-averaged Ωarag and Ωcalc to 0.76 ± 0.06 and 1.19 ± 0.09, respectively, under the high-emissions Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 climate scenario. Our results indicate greater regional anthropogenic carbon storage and ocean acidification than previously projected3,8 and increase the probability that large parts of the mesopelagic Arctic Ocean will be undersaturated with respect to calcite by the end of the century. This increased rate of Arctic Ocean acidification, combined with rapidly changing physical and biogeochemical Arctic conditions9,10,11, is likely to exacerbate the impact of climate change on vulnerable Arctic marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Emergent constraint on Arctic Ocean acidification in the twenty-first century’

Abalone populations are most sensitive to environmental stress effects on adult individuals

Marine organisms are exposed to stressors associated with climate change throughout their life cycle, but a majority of studies focus on responses in single life stages, typically early ones. Here, we examined how negative impacts from stressors associated with climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution can act across multiple life stages to influence long-term population dynamics and decrease resilience to mass mortality events. We used a continuous-size-structured density-dependent model for abalone (Haliotis spp.), calcifying mollusks that support valuable fisheries, to explore the sensitivity of stock abundance and annual catch to potential changes in growth, survival, and fecundity across the organism’s lifespan. Our model predicts that decreased recruitment from lowered fertilization success or larval survival has small negative impacts on the population, and that stock size and fishery performance are much more sensitive to changes in parameters that affect the size or survival of adults. Sensitivity to impacts on subadults and juveniles is also important for the population, though less so than for adults. Importantly, likelihood of recovery following mortality events showed more pronounced sensitivity to most possible parameter impacts, greater than the effects on equilibrium density or catch. Our results suggest that future experiments on environmental stressors should focus on multiple life stages to capture effects on population structure and dynamics, particularly for species with size-dependent fecundity.

Continue reading ‘Abalone populations are most sensitive to environmental stress effects on adult individuals’

Risks of consuming cadmium-contaminated shellfish under seawater acidification scenario: estimates of PBPK and benchmark dose


•Seawater acidification (SA) increases 13%–67% of the Cd intake from shellfish.

•Urinary Cd among the female population was increased ~13% under the SA scenario.

•There is a potential impact of SA on renal dysfunction for males shellfish consumers.


We aim to assess the risks of renal dysfunction and osteoporosis that is attributed to the seawater acidification caused cadmium (Cd) level increase in human consumed shellfish. A physiology-based pharmacokinetic model was used to estimate Cd concentrations in urine and blood among shellfish-only consumers and among the general population. We used the benchmark dose (BMD) method to determine the threshold limits of Cd in urine for renal dysfunction and in blood for osteoporosis for assessing the human health risk. Our results revealed that seawater acidification could increase the Cd accumulation in shellfish by 10–13% compared to the situations under current pH levels. Under the lower seawater pH level, the daily intake of Cd could increase by 21%–67% among shellfish-only consumers, and by 13%–17% among the general population. Our findings indicated that seawater acidification would lead to a marginal increase in Cd intake among humans in shellfish-only consumers. The results of BMDs of urinary Cd showed that the threshold limits for renal dysfunction at 5% were 3.00 μg g−1 in males and 12.35 μg g−1 in females. For osteoporosis, the estimated BMDs of blood Cd were 7.95 μg L−1 in males and 1.23 μg L−1 in females. These results of the risk of Cd intake showed that the consumption of Cd-contaminated shellfish in the general population is largely unaffected by changes in seawater pH levels. Notably, the potential impact of seawater acidification on renal dysfunction for males in shellfish-only consumers face a 14% increase of risk.

Continue reading ‘Risks of consuming cadmium-contaminated shellfish under seawater acidification scenario: estimates of PBPK and benchmark dose’

A multistressor model of carbon acquisition regulation for macroalgae in a changing climate

It is widely hypothesized that noncalcifying macroalgae will be more productive and abundant in increasingly warm and acidified oceans. Macroalgae vary greatly in the magnitudes and interactions of responses of photosynthesis and growth to multiple stressors associated with climate change. A knowledge gap that exists between the qualitative “macroalgae will benefit” hypothesis and the variable outcomes observed is regulation of physiological mechanisms that cause variation in the magnitudes of change in primary productivity, growth, and their covariation. In this context, we developed a model to quantitatively describe physiological responses to coincident variation in temperature, carbonate chemistry and light supply in a representative bicarbonate‐using marine macroalga. The model is based on Ulva spp., the best understood dissolved inorganic carbon uptake mechanism among macroalgae, with data enabling synthesis across all parameters. At boundary layer pH < 8.7 most inorganic carbon is taken up through the external carbonic anhydrase (CAext) mechanism under all conditions of photosynthetic photon flux density, temperature, and boundary layer thickness. Each 0.1 unit decline in pH causes a 20% increase in the fraction of diffusive uptake of CO2 thereby lessening reliance on active transport of bicarbonate. Modeled downregulation of anion exchange‐mediated active bicarbonate transport associated with a 0.4 unit decline in pH under ocean acidification is consistent with enhanced growth up to 4% per day without increasing photosynthetic rate. The model provides a means to quantify magnitudes of change in productivity under factorial combinations of changing temperature, CO2, and light supply anticipated as climate changes.

Continue reading ‘A multistressor model of carbon acquisition regulation for macroalgae in a changing climate’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book