Posts Tagged 'North Atlantic'

Seasonal variability of carbonate chemistry and decadal changes in waters of a marine sanctuary in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico


• Temperature dominated seawater carbonate system variations in FGBNMS.
• Subsurface acidification is caused by anthropogenic CO2 uptake and higher respiration.
• The FGBNMS is currently a negligible atmospheric CO2 sink.


We report seasonal water column carbonate chemistry data collected over a three-year period (late 2013 to 2016) at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) located on the subtropical shelf edge of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The FGBNMS hosts the northernmost tropical coral species in the contiguous United States, with over 50% living coral cover. Presented here are results from samples of the upper 25 m of the water column collected from September 2013 to November 2016. Additionally, following a localized mortality event likely associated with major continental flooding in summer 2016, water samples from up to ~250 m depth were collected in the broader FGBNMS area on a rapid response cruise to examine the seawater carbonate system. Both surface (<5 m) total alkalinity (TA) and total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) vary over small ranges (2391 ± 19 μmol kg−1 and 2060 ± 19 μmol kg−1, respectively) for all times-series samples. Temperature and salinity both played an important role in controlling the surface water carbonate system dynamics, although temperature was the sole significant factor when there was no flooding. The FGBNMS area acted as a sink for atmospheric CO2 in winter and a CO2 source in summer, while the time-integrated CO2 flux is close to zero (−0.14 ± 1.96 mmol-C m−2 yr−1). Results from three cruises, i.e., the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast Carbon Project (GOMECC-1) in 2007, the rapid response study, and the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cruise (GOMECC-3), revealed decreases in both pH and saturation state with respect to aragonitearag) in subsurface waters (~100–250 m) over time. These decreases are larger than those observed in other tropical and subtropical waters. Based on reaction stoichiometry, calculated anthropogenic CO2 contributed 30–41% of the overall DIC increase, while elevated respiration accounted for the rest.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal variability of carbonate chemistry and decadal changes in waters of a marine sanctuary in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico’

Susceptibility of two co-existing mytilid species to simulated predation under projected climate change conditions

Properties of the shells and byssus filaments secreted by marine mussels are affected by environmental and biotic factors. In this study, we investigated the effects of pH and temperature on shell and byssus in artificially created monospecific and mixed aggregations of the indigenous mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis and the invasive mussel Xenostrobus securis. The variability in the response of the mussels was mainly explained by species-specific interactions derived from the type of aggregation. In the mixed groups, acidic conditions caused a decrease in byssus strength in M. galloprovincialis, but an increase in byssus strength in X. securis. Increased temperature positively affected shell strength in X. securis, but only in mixed aggregations. Interactive effects of acidification and warming were only detected in the organic matter of shells, the strength of which decreased in M. galloprovincialis in mixed aggregations. Although the invasive mussel may be able to take advantage of changed conditions by enhancing byssal attachment, the effects that acidification has on shells may make this species more vulnerable to some predators. The study findings provide some insight into the responses of protective and attachment structures of mussels to biotic and abiotic stressors, highlighting how species interactions may shape the future of mytilid populations.

Continue reading ‘Susceptibility of two co-existing mytilid species to simulated predation under projected climate change conditions’

Variable metabolic responses of Skagerrak invertebrates to low O2 and high CO2 scenarios (update)

Coastal hypoxia is a problem that is predicted to increase rapidly in the future. At the same time, we are facing rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, which are increasing the pCO2 and acidity of coastal waters. These two drivers are well studied in isolation; however, the coupling of low O2 and pH is likely to provide a more significant respiratory challenge for slow moving and sessile invertebrates than is currently predicted. The Gullmar Fjord in Sweden is home to a range of habitats, such as sand and mud flats, seagrass beds, exposed and protected shorelines and rocky bottoms. Moreover, it has a history of both natural and anthropogenically enhanced hypoxia as well as North Sea upwelling, where salty water reaches the surface towards the end of summer and early autumn. A total of 11 species (Crustacean, Chordate, Echinoderm and Mollusc) of these ecosystems were exposed to four different treatments (high or low oxygen and low or high CO2; varying pCO2 of 450 and 1300 µatm and O2 concentrations of 2–3.5 and 9–10 mg L−1) and respiration measured after 3 and 6 days, respectively. This allowed us to evaluate respiration responses of species of contrasting habitats to single and multiple stressors. Results show that respiratory responses were highly species specific as we observed both synergetic as well as antagonistic responses, and neither phylum nor habitat explained trends in respiratory responses. Management plans should avoid the generalized assumption that combined stressors will result in multiplicative effects and focus attention on alleviating hypoxia in the region.

Continue reading ‘Variable metabolic responses of Skagerrak invertebrates to low O2 and high CO2 scenarios (update)’

Variability in sediment-water carbonate chemistry and bivalve abundance after bivalve settlement in Long Island Sound, Milford, Connecticut


  • Total bivalve community composition influenced by grain size, pH, alkalinity, and date
  • Short term drivers of bivalve community settlement influenced by carbonate chemistry parameters
  • Different bivalve species respond to different carbonate chemistry cues for settlement.


Cues that drive bivalve settlement and abundance in sediments are not well understood, but recent reports suggest that sediment carbonate chemistry may influence bivalve abundance. In 2013, we conducted field experiments to assess the relationship between porewater sediment carbonate chemistry (pH, alkalinity (At), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC)), grain size, and bivalve abundance throughout the July–September settlement period at two sites in Long Island Sound (LIS), CT. Two dominate bivalves species were present during the study period Mya arenaria and Nucula spp. Akaike’s linear information criterion models, indicated 29% of the total community abundance was predicted by grain size, salinity, and pH. When using 2 weeks of data during the period of peak bivalve settlement, pH and phosphate concentrations accounted 44% of total bivalve community composition and 71% of Nucula spp. abundance with pH, phosphate, and silica. These results suggest that sediment carbonate chemistry may influence bivalve abundance in LIS.

Continue reading ‘Variability in sediment-water carbonate chemistry and bivalve abundance after bivalve settlement in Long Island Sound, Milford, Connecticut’

Impact of ocean acidification and warming on the diversity and the functioning of macroalgal communities (full thesis in French)

Predicted ocean acidification and warming for the end of the century may have drastic consequences on the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. However, a lack of knowledge persists on the impact of future changes on the response of marine communities. This thesis aims to provide new understanding of the impact of ocean acidification and warming at the community level. For this, two ecosystems have been considered: rockpools, characterized by high physico-chemical variations, and maerl beds, with smaller variations. In the laboratory, artificial assemblages were created from the main calcareous and fleshy macroalgal and grazer species present in these two ecosystems. Created assemblages have been subjected to ambient and future temperature and pCO2 conditions. Ocean acidification and warming altered the structure and functioning of maerl bed assemblages, through an increase in the productivity of non-calcareous macroalgae and a decline in maërl calcification rates. The physiology of grazers is negatively impacted by future changes, which altered assemblages’ trophic structure. On the other hand, ocean acidification and warming had no effect on the productivity of rockpool assemblages. The highly variable environment may thus increase the resistance of rockpool communities to future changes, compared to communities from more stable environments, such as maerl beds.

Continue reading ‘Impact of ocean acidification and warming on the diversity and the functioning of macroalgal communities (full thesis in French)’

Short term CO2 enrichment increases carbon sequestration of air-exposed intertidal communities of a coastal lagoon

In situ production responses of air-exposed intertidal communities under CO2 enrichment are reported here for the first time. We assessed the short-term effects of CO2 on the light responses of the net community production (NCP) and community respiration (CR) of intertidal Z. noltei and unvegetated sediment communities of Ria Formosa lagoon, when exposed to air. NCP and CR were measured in situ in summer and winter, under present and CO2 enriched conditions using benthic chambers. Within chamber CO2 evolution measurements were carried out by a series of short-term incubations (30 min) using an infra-red gas analyser. Liner regression models fitted to the NCP-irradiance responses were used to estimate the seasonal budgets of air-exposed, intertidal production as determined by the daily and seasonal variation of incident photosynthetic active radiation. High CO2 resulted in higher CO2 sequestration by both communities in both summer and winter seasons. Lower respiration rates of both communities under high CO2 further contributed to a potential negative climate feedback, except in winter when the CR of sediment community was higher. The light compensation points (LCP) (light intensity where production equals respiration) of Z. noltei and sediment communities also decreased under CO2 enriched conditions in both seasons. The seasonal community production of Z. noltei was 115.54 ± 7.58 g C m−2 season−1 in summer and 29.45 ± 4.04 g C m−2 season−1 in winter and of unvegetated sediment was 91.28 ± 6.32 g C m−2 season−1 in summer and 25.83 ± 4.01 g C m−2 season−1 in winter under CO2 enriched conditions. Future CO2 conditions may increase air-exposed seagrass production by about 1.5-fold and unvegetated sediments by about 1.2-fold.

Continue reading ‘Short term CO2 enrichment increases carbon sequestration of air-exposed intertidal communities of a coastal lagoon’

Impact of carbonate saturation on large Caribbean benthic foraminifera assemblages

Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and its dissolution in seawater have reduced ocean pH and carbonate ion concentration with potential implications to calcifying organisms. To assess the response of Caribbean benthic foraminifera to low carbonate saturation conditions, we analyzed benthic foraminifera abundance and relative distribution in proximity to low carbonate saturation submarine springs and at adjacent control sites. Our results show that the total abundance of benthic foraminifera is significantly lower at the low pH low calcite saturation submarine springs than at control sites, despite higher concentrations of inorganic carbon at the spring sites. The relative abundance of symbiont-bearing foraminifera and agglutinated foraminifera was higher at the low pH low calcite saturation submarine springs compared to control sites. These differences indicate that non-symbiont bearing heterotrophic calcareous foraminifera are more sensitive to the effects of ocean acidification than non-calcifying and symbiont bearing foraminifera, suggesting that future ocean acidification may impact natural benthic foraminifera populations.

Continue reading ‘Impact of carbonate saturation on large Caribbean benthic foraminifera assemblages’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book