Posts Tagged 'modelling'

Potential of maritime transport for ocean liming and atmospheric CO2 removal

Proposals to increase ocean alkalinity may make an important contribution to meeting climate change net emission targets, while also helping to ameliorate the effects of ocean acidification. However, the practical feasibility of spreading large amounts of alkaline materials in the seawater is poorly understood. In this study, the potential of discharging calcium hydroxide (slaked lime, SL) using existing maritime transport is evaluated, at the global scale and for the Mediterranean Sea. The potential discharge of SL from existing vessels depends on many factors, mainly their number and load capacity, the distance traveled along the route, the frequency of reloading, and the discharge rate. The latter may be constrained by the localized pH increase in the wake of the ship, which could be detrimental for marine ecosystems. Based on maritime traffic data from the International Maritime Organization for bulk carriers and container ships, and assuming low discharge rates and 15% of the deadweight capacity dedicated for SL transport, the maximum SL potential discharge from all active vessels worldwide is estimated to be between 1.7 and 4.0 Gt/year. For the Mediterranean Sea, based on detailed maritime traffic data, a potential discharge of about 186 Mt/year is estimated. The discharge using a fleet of 1,000 new dedicated ships has also been discussed, with a potential distribution of 1.3 Gt/year. Using average literature values of CO2 removal per unit of SL added to the sea, the global potential of CO2 removal from SL discharge by existing or new ships is estimated at several Gt/year, depending on the discharge rate. Since the potential impacts of SL discharge on the marine environment in the ships’ wake limits the rate at which SL can be applied, an overview of methodologies for the assessment of SL concentration in the wake of the ships is presented. A first assessment performed with a three-dimensional non-reactive and a one-dimensional reactive fluid dynamic model simulating the shrinking of particle radii, shows that low discharge rates of a SL slurry lead to pH variations of about 1 unit for a duration of just a few minutes.

Continue reading ‘Potential of maritime transport for ocean liming and atmospheric CO2 removal’

Risk assessment for key socio-economic and ecological species in a sub-arctic marine ecosystem under combined ocean acidification and warming

The Arctic may be particularly vulnerable to the consequences of both ocean acidification (OA) and global warming, given the faster pace of warming and acidification. Here, we use the Atlantis ecosystem model to assess how the trophic network of marine fishes and invertebrates in the Icelandic waters is responding to the combined pressures of OA and warming. We develop an approach which allows us to focus on species of economic (catch-value), social (number of participants in fisheries), or ecological (keystone species) importance. We parameterize the model with literature-determined ranges of sensitivity to OA and warming for different species and functional groups in the Icelandic waters. We found divergent species responses to warming and acidification levels; (mainly) planktonic groups and forage fish benefited while (mainly) benthic groups and predatory fish decreased under warming and acidification scenarios. Assuming conservative harvest rates for the largest catch-value species, Atlantic cod, we see that the population is projected to remain stable under even the harshest acidification and warming scenario. Further, for the scenarios where the model projects reductions in biomass of Atlantic cod, other species in the ecosystem increase, likely due to a reduction in competition and predation. These results highlight the interdependencies of multiple global change drivers and their cascading effects on trophic organization, and the supply of an important species from a socio-economic perspective in the Icelandic fisheries.

Continue reading ‘Risk assessment for key socio-economic and ecological species in a sub-arctic marine ecosystem under combined ocean acidification and warming’

Implementation and assessment of a carbonate system model (Eco3M-CarbOx v1.1) in a highly dynamic Mediterranean coastal site (Bay of Marseille, France)

A carbonate chemistry balance module was implemented into a biogeochemical model of the planktonic food web. The model, named Eco3M-CarbOx, includes 22 state variables that are dispatched into 5 compartments: phytoplankton, heterotrophic bacteria, detrital particulate organic matter, labile dissolved organic, and inorganic matter. This model is applied to and evaluated in the Bay of Marseille (BoM, France), which is a coastal zone impacted by the urbanized and industrialized Aix–Marseille Metropolis, and subject to significant increases in anthropogenic emissions of CO2. The model was evaluated over the year 2017, for which in situ data of the carbonate system are available in the study site. The biogeochemical state variables of the model only change with time, to represent the time evolution of a sea surface water cell in response to the implemented realistic forcing conditions. The model correctly simulates the value ranges and seasonal dynamics of most of the variables of the carbonate system except for the total alkalinity. Several numerical experiments were conducted to test the response of carbonate system to (i) a seawater temperature increase, (ii) wind events, (iii) Rhône River plume intrusions, and (iv) different levels of atmospheric CO2 contents. This set of numerical experiments shows that the Eco3M-CarbOx model provides expected responses in the alteration of the marine carbonate balance regarding each of the considered perturbation. When the seawater temperature changes quickly, the behavior of the BoM waters alters within a few days from a source of CO2 to the atmosphere to a sink into the ocean. Moreover, the higher the wind speed is, the higher the air–sea CO2 gas exchange fluxes are. The river intrusions with nitrate supplies lead to a decrease in the p CO2 value, favoring the conditions of a sink for atmospheric CO2 into the BoM. A scenario of high atmospheric concentrations of CO2 also favors the conditions of a sink for atmospheric CO2 into the waters of the BoM. Thus the model results suggest that external forcings have an important impact on the carbonate equilibrium in this coastal area.

Continue reading ‘Implementation and assessment of a carbonate system model (Eco3M-CarbOx v1.1) in a highly dynamic Mediterranean coastal site (Bay of Marseille, France)’

Impact of ocean acidification on ecosystem functioning and services in habitat-forming species and marine ecosystems

Ocean acidification (OA) is expected to impact habitat-forming species (HFS), with cascading effects on the whole marine ecosystem and related services that are seldom quantified. Here, the changes in HFSs biomass due to OA are modeled using a food web ecosystem model, and the trophic and non-trophic cascading effects on the marine community are investigated. The food web model represents a well-studied coastal marine protected area in the NW Mediterranean Sea where coralligenous reefs and Posidonia oceanica meadows constitute important HFS. The model is used to implement 5 scenarios of habitat degradation, that is, reduction of HFS biomass, induced by increasing OA and to quantify the potential changes in ecosystem properties and indicators of ecosystem services over the next 100 years. The changes in ecosystem indicators highlight a decrease in the size of the system and a reorganization of energy flows suggesting a high degree of ecosystem development. All the proxies for ecosystem services show significant decreases in their values. Although representing only a portion of the possible impacts of OA, the findings are consistent with the idea that ecological systems can react to OA effects to maintain the level of ecosystem development, but the new organization might not be optimal from an anthropocentric viewpoint.

Continue reading ‘Impact of ocean acidification on ecosystem functioning and services in habitat-forming species and marine ecosystems’

Technical note: interpreting pH changes

The number and quality of ocean pH measurements have increased substantially over the past few decades such that trends, variability, and spatial patterns of change are now being evaluated. However, comparing pH changes across domains with different initial pH values can be misleading because a pH change reflects a relative change in the hydrogen ion concentration ([H+], expressed in mol kg−1) rather than an absolute change in [H+]. We recommend that [H+] be used in addition to pH when describing such changes and provide three examples illustrating why.

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Forecasting future recruitment success for Atlantic cod in the warming and acidifying Barents Sea

Productivity of marine fish stocks is known to be affected by environmental and ecological drivers, and global climate change is anticipated to alter recruitment success of many stocks. While the direct effects of environmental drivers on fish early life stage survival can be quantified experimentally, indirect effects in marine ecosystems and the role of adaptation are still highly uncertain.

We developed an integrative model for the effects of ocean warming and acidification on the early life stages of Atlantic cod in the Barents Sea, termed SCREI (Simulator of Cod Recruitment under Environmental Influences). Experimental results on temperature and CO2 effects on egg fertilization, egg and larval survival and development times are incorporated. Calibration using empirical time series of egg production, temperature, food and predator abundance reproduces age-0 recruitment over three decades. We project trajectories of recruitment success under different scenarios and quantify confidence limits based on variation in experiments. A publicly accessible web version of the SCREI model can be run under www.oceanchange.uni-bremen.de/SCREI.

Severe reductions in average age-0 recruitment success of Barents Sea cod are projected under uncompensated warming and acidification towards the middle to end of this century. Although high population stochasticity was found, considerable rates of evolutionary adaptation to acidification and shifts in organismal thermal windows would be needed to buffer impacts on recruitment. While increases in food availability may mitigate short-term impacts, an increase in egg production achieved by stock management could provide more long-term safety for cod recruitment success.

The SCREI model provides a novel integration of multiple driver effects in different life stages and enables an estimation of uncertainty associated with inter-individual and ecological variation. The model thus helps to advance towards an improved empirical foundation for quantifying climate change impacts on marine fish recruitment, relevant for ecosystem-based assessments of marine systems under climate change.

Continue reading ‘Forecasting future recruitment success for Atlantic cod in the warming and acidifying Barents Sea’

Remote effects of mixed layer development on ocean acidification in the subsurface layers of the North Pacific

Using the outputs of projections under the highest emission scenario of the representative concentration pathways performed by Earth system models (ESMs), we evaluate the ocean acidification rates of subsurface layers of the western North Pacific, where the strongest sink of atmospheric CO2 is found in the mid-latitudes. The low potential vorticity water mass called the North Pacific Subtropical Mode Water (STMW) shows large dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration increase, and is advected southwestward, so that, in the sea to the south of Japan, DIC concentration increases and ocean acidification occurs faster than in adjacent regions. In the STMW of the Izu-Ogasawara region, the ocean acidification occurs with a pH decrease of ~0.004 year−1 , a much higher rate than the previously estimated global average (0.0023 year−1), so that the pH decreases by 0.3–0.4 during the twenty-first century and the saturation state of calcite (ΩCa) decreases from ~4.8 down to ~2.4. We find that the ESMs with a deeper mixed layer in the Kuroshio Extension region show a larger increase in DIC concentration within the Izu-Ogasawara region and within the Ryukyu Islands region. Comparing model results with the mixed layer depth obtained from the Argo dataset, we estimate that DIC concentration at a depth of ~200 m increases by 1.4–1.6 μmol kg−1 year−1 in the Izu-Ogasawara region and by 1.1–1.4 μmol kg−1 year−1 in the Ryukyu Islands region toward the end of this century.

Continue reading ‘Remote effects of mixed layer development on ocean acidification in the subsurface layers of the North Pacific’

Climate change and tropical sponges: The effect of elevated pCO₂ and temperature on the sponge holobiont

As atmospheric CO₂ concentrations rise, associated ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) are predicted to cause declines in reef-building corals globally, shifting reefs from coral-dominated systems to those dominated by less sensitive species. Sponges are important structural and functional components of coral reef ecosystems, but despite increasing field-based evidence that sponges may be ‘winners’ in response to environmental degradation, our understanding of how they respond to the combined effects of OW and OA is limited. This PhD thesis explores the response of four abundant Great Barrier Reef species – the phototrophic Carteriospongia foliascens and Cymbastela coralliophila and the heterotrophic Stylissa flabelliformis and Rhopaloeides odorabile to OW and OA levels predicted for 2100, under two CO₂ Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). The overall aim of this research is to bridge gaps in our understanding of how these important coral reef organisms will respond to projected climate change, to begin to explore whether a sponge dominated state is a possible future trajectory for coral reefs.

To determine the tolerance of adult sponges to climate change, these four species were exposed to OW and OA in the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s (AIMS) National Sea Simulator (SeaSim) in a 3-month experimental study. The first data chapter explores the physiological responses of these sponges to OW and OA to gain a broad understanding of sponge holobiont survival and functioning under these conditions. In this chapter I also address the hypothesis that phototrophic and heterotrophic sponges will exhibit differential responses to climate change. In the second and third data chapters I explore the cellular lipid and fatty acid composition of sponges, and how these biochemical constituents vary with OW and OA. Lipids and fatty acids are not only vital energy stores, they form the major components of cell membranes, and the structure and composition of these biochemical constituents ultimately determines the integrity and physiological competency of a cell. Therefore through these analyses I aimed to determine how OW and OA affects the metabolic balance of sponges, and to understand mechanisms underpinning observed systemic sponge responses. Finally, to provide greater insight into the population level impacts of climate change on tropical sponges, in the last data chapter I explore the response of the phototrophic species Carteriospongia foliascens to OW/OA throughout its developmental stages.

I found that while sponges can generally tolerate climate change scenarios predicted under the RCP6.0 conditions for 2100 (30ºC/ pH 7.8), environmental projections for the end of this century under the RCP8.5 (31.5ºC/ pH 7.6) will have significant implications for their survival. Temperature effects were much stronger than OA effects for all species; however, phototrophic and heterotrophic species responded differently to OA. Elevated pCO₂ exacerbated temperature stress in heterotrophic sponges but somewhat ameliorated thermal stress in phototrophic species. Furthermore, sponges with siliceous spiculated skeletons resisted the RCP 8.5 conditions for longer than the aspiculate species. Biochemical analysis revealed that spiculated species also have greater cell membrane support features, which is likely to contribute to the observed stress tolerance. I also found that the additional energy available to phototrophic sponges under OA conditions may be used for investment into cell membrane support, providing protection against thermal stress. Finally, larval survival and settlement success of C. foliascens was unaffected by OW and OA treatments, and juvenile sponges exhibited greater tolerance than their adult counterparts, again with evidence that OA reduces OW stress for some of these life stages.

Based on the species studied here, this thesis confirms that sponges are better able to deal with OW and OA levels predicted for 2100 under RCP6.0, compared to many corals for which survival in a high CO₂ world requires OW to remain below 1.5°C. This suggests sponges may be future ‘winners’ on coral reefs under global climate change. However, if CO₂ atm concentrations reach levels predicted under RCP8.5, the prognosis for sponge survival by the end of this century changes as inter-species sponge tolerances to OW and OA differ. Under this projection it is likely we will also start to see a shift in sponge populations to those dominated by phototrophic sponges with siliceous spiculated skeletons. Overall, this thesis gives a holistic view of OW and OA impacts on tropical sponges and provides the basis from which to explore the potential for a sponge-coral regime shift in a high CO₂ world.

Continue reading ‘Climate change and tropical sponges: The effect of elevated pCO₂ and temperature on the sponge holobiont’

Independence of nutrient limitation and carbon dioxide impacts on the Southern Ocean coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

Future oceanic conditions induced by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions include warming, acidification and reduced nutrient supply due to increased stratification. Some parts of the Southern Ocean are expected to show rapid changes, especially for carbonate mineral saturation. Here we compare the physiological response of the model coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (strain EHSO 5.14, originating from 50oS, 149oE) with pH/CO2 gradients (mimicking ocean acidification ranging from 1 to 4 × current pCO2 levels) under nutrient-limited (nitrogen and phosphorus) and -replete conditions. Both nutrient limitations decreased per cell photosynthesis (particulate organic carbon (POC) production) and calcification (particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) production) rates for all pCO2 levels, with more than 50% reductions under nitrogen limitation. These impacts, however, became indistinguishable from nutrient-replete conditions when normalized to cell volume. Calcification decreased three-fold and linearly with increasing pCO2 under all nutrient conditions, and was accompanied by a smaller ~30% nonlinear reduction in POC production, manifested mainly above 3 × current pCO2. Our results suggest that normalization to cell volume allows the major impacts of nutrient limitation (changed cell sizes and reduced PIC and POC production rates) to be treated independently of the major impacts of increasing pCO2 and, additionally, stresses the importance of including cell volume measurements to the toolbox of standard physiological analysis of coccolithophores in field and laboratory studies.

Continue reading ‘Independence of nutrient limitation and carbon dioxide impacts on the Southern Ocean coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi’

Mediterranean versus Red sea corals facing climate change, a transcriptome analysis

The anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 that drives global warming and ocean acidification raises serious concerns regarding the future of corals, the main carbonate biomineralizers. Here we used transcriptome analysis to study the effect of long-term gradual temperature increase (annual rate), combined with lowered pH values, on a sub-tropical Red Sea coral, Stylophora pistillata, and on a temperate Mediterranean symbiotic coral Balanophyllia europaea. The gene expression profiles revealed a strong effect of both temperature increase and pH decrease implying for synergism response. The temperate coral, exposed to a twice as high range of seasonal temperature fluctuations than the Red Sea species, faced stress more effectively. The compensatory strategy for coping apparently involves deviating cellular resources into a massive up-regulation of genes in general, and specifically of genes involved in the generation of metabolic energy. Our results imply that sub-lethal, prolonged exposure to stress can stimulate evolutionary increase in stress resilience.

Continue reading ‘Mediterranean versus Red sea corals facing climate change, a transcriptome analysis’


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