Posts Tagged 'North Atlantic'

High resolution estimation of ocean dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity and pH based on deep learning

This study combines measurements of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TA), pH, earth observation (EO), and ocean model products with deep learning to provide a good step forward in detecting changes in the ocean carbonate system parameters at a high spatial and temporal resolution in the North Atlantic region (Long. −61.00° to −50.04° W; Lat. 24.99° to 34.96° N). The in situ reference dataset that was used for this study provided discrete underway measurements of DIC, TA, and pH collected by M/V Equinox in the North Atlantic Ocean. A unique list of co-temporal and co-located global daily environmental drivers derived from independent sources (using satellite remote sensing, model reanalyses, empirical algorithms, and depth soundings) were collected for this study at the highest possible spatial resolution (0.04° × 0.04°). The resulting ANN-estimated DIC, TA, and pH obtained by deep learning shows a high correspondence when verified against observations. This study demonstrates how a select number of geophysical information derived from EO and model reanalysis data can be used to estimate and understand the spatiotemporal variability of the oceanic carbonate system at a high spatiotemporal resolution. Further methodological improvements are being suggested.

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Long-term slowdown of ocean carbon uptake by alkalinity dynamics

Oceanic absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is expected to slow down under increasing anthropogenic emissions; however, the driving mechanisms and rates of change remain uncertain, limiting our ability to project long-term changes in climate. Using an Earth system simulation, we show that the uptake of anthropogenic carbon will slow in the next three centuries via reductions in surface alkalinity. Warming and associated changes in precipitation and evaporation intensify density stratification of the upper ocean, inhibiting the transport of alkaline water from the deep. The effect of these changes is amplified threefold by reduced carbonate buffering, making alkalinity a dominant control on CO2 uptake on multi-century timescales. Our simulation reveals a previously unknown alkalinity-climate feedback loop, amplifying multi-century warming under high emission trajectories.

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N2O production by mussels: quantifying rates and pathways in current and future climate settings

Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) are an abundant and economically important species across the North Sea. Partly because of their potent filter feeding and associated shell biofilm, they are able to influence and alter the surrounding marine ecosystem. As a result of proliferating offshore wind farms (OWFs), whose turbine foundations are rapidly colonised by suspension feeding artificial hard substrate communities dominated by M. edulis, as well as planned co-location strategies of these OWFs with mussel mariculture, their numbers will only increase towards the future. On top of these local stressors, global climate change is exerting additional pressure on the marine environment. This study focusses on the link between M. edulis, its microbial shell biofilm and the local nitrogen cycling by quantifying the magnitude and underlying pathways of mussel-associated nitrous oxide (N2O) production. A set of closed-core incubations established nitrifier denitrification as the main chemical pathway of M. edulis related N2O production, although ammonium, nitrite and nitrate all acted as possible precursors. Additional future-climate experiments revealed that blue mussel’s total N2O production, as well as its metabolic activity and the relative contribution of its shell biofilm, were affected by warming (+ 3°C), acidification (- 0.3 pH units), or the combination of both. Because the effects of temperature and acidity were often of an antagonistic nature, the results suggest a relatively small net effect on local N2O production in future-climate marine environments. However, N2O production rates were several orders of magnitude lower than other measured N species (NH+4NH4+, NO−2NO2− and NO−3NO3-), making substantial mussel-associated N2 production likely. This would greatly affect the local eutrophication levels or even bioavailable nitrogen concentrations.

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Two treatment methods on Ulva prolifera bloom result in distinctively different ecological effects in coastal environment

Green tides Ulva prolifera have broken out in the Yellow Sea for more than 10 years, becoming a periodic ecological disaster. The largest-ever green tide that occurred in 2021 promoted innovation in treatment methods. Different from the traditional harvest-disposal method, a microbial complex formulation was firstly sprayed on the harvest U. prolifera that promotes rapid degradation, and then fermented and disposed into the sea. At present, little was known about the ecological effects of those different treatment methods. In order to examine this hypothesis, we run an in-lab incubation of 60 days to simulate the two methods to degrade U. prolifera, with focuses on the degradation ensued impacts on water quality. The degradation process of fresh U. prolifera over two months was dominated by the continuous and slow release of DOM, and the concentration of DOM in the water column was hardly observed to decrease within two months. The pre-discomposed-disposal method also significantly altered microbial community structure. The pre-decomposing treatment with microbial complex formulations destroyed U. prolifera cell tissues and changed its physical state in seawater from floating to fast depositing, and increased the degradation rate by about 14 times. The rapid decomposition of the released bioactive organic matter consumed a substantial amount of dissolved oxygen in local seawater, which has the potential risk of causing local hypoxia and acidification in a short-term. The pre-decomposition treatment of U. prolifera could be a practical and efficient countermeasures to U. prolifera blooming. After the complete degradation of the pre-decomposed U. prolifera, the resulting dissolved organic matter could increase TA to resist acidification. Overall, compared with traditional harvest-packing-disposal method, the pre-decomposing-disposal treatment is an efficient and environmental-friendly disposal method to deal with the U. prolifera “green tide”, but it should be used cautiously.

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Paris Agreement could prevent regional mass extinctions of coral species

Coral reef ecosystems are expected to undergo significant declines over the coming decades as oceans become warmer and more acidic. We investigate the environmental tolerances of over 650 Scleractinian coral species based on the conditions found within their present-day ranges and in areas where they are currently absent but could potentially reach via larval dispersal. These “environmental envelopes” and connectivity constraints are then used to develop global forecasts for potential coral species richness under two emission scenarios, representing the Paris Agreement target (“SSP1-2.6”) and high levels of emissions (“SSP5-8.5”). Although we do not directly predict coral mortality or adaptation, the projected changes to environmental suitability suggest considerable potential declines in coral species richness for the majority of the world’s tropical coral reefs, with a net loss in average local richness of 73% (Paris Agreement) to 91% (High Emissions) by 2080-2090 and particularly large declines across sites in the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Western Indian Ocean and Caribbean. However, at the regional scale, we find that environmental suitability for the majority of coral species can be largely maintained under the Paris Agreement target, with 0-30% potential net species lost in most regions (increasing to 50% for the Great Barrier Reef) as opposed to 80-90% losses in most areas under High Emissions. Projections for sub-tropical areas suggest that range expansion will give rise to coral reefs with low species richness (typically 10-20 coral species per region) and will not meaningfully offset declines in the tropics. This work represents the first global projection of coral species richness under oceanic warming and acidification. Our results highlight the critical importance of mitigating climate change to avoid potentially massive extinctions of coral species.

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High taxonomic diversity and miniaturization in benthic communities under persistent natural CO2 disturbances

Metabarcoding techniques have revolutionized ecological research in recent years, facilitating the differentiation of cryptic species and revealing previously hidden diversity. In the current scenario of climate change and ocean acidification, biodiversity loss is one of the main threats to marine ecosystems. Here, we explored the effects of ocean acidification on marine benthic communities using DNA metabarcoding to assess the diversity of algae and metazoans. Specifically, we examined the natural pH gradient generated by the Fuencaliente CO2 vent system, located near La Palma Island (Canary Islands). High-resolution COI metabarcoding analyses revealed high levels of taxonomic diversity in an acidified natural area for the first time. This high number of species arises from the detection of small and cryptic species that were previously undetectable by other techniques. Such species are apparently tolerant to the acidification levels expected in future oceans. Hence and following our results, future subtropical communities are expected to keep high biodiversity values under an acidification scenario, although they will tend toward overall miniaturization due to the dominance of small algal and invertebrate species, leading to changes in ecosystem functions.


Electronic supplementary material is available online at

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Effects of ocean acidification on dopamine-mediated behavioral responses of a coral reef damselfish


  • CO2-induced ocean acidification (OA) altered dopamine-mediated fish behavior.
  • The dopamine D1-receptor agonist SKF 38393 increased anxiety in control fish.
  • OA-exposed fish exhibited maximally measurable anxiety levels.
  • CO2/pH measured in reef crevasses used as fish shelters were similar to OA tested here.
  • The implications of OA on fish fitness should be assessed through future studies.


We investigated whether CO2-induced ocean acidification (OA) affects dopamine receptor-dependent behavior in bicolor damselfish (Stegastes partitus). Damselfish were kept in aquaria receiving flow through control (pH ~ 8.03; pCO2 ~ 384 μatm) or OA (pH ~ 7.64; CO2 ~ 1100 μatm) seawater at a rate of 1 L min−1. Despite this relatively fast flow rate, fish respiration further acidified the seawater in both control (pH ~7.88; pCO2 ~ 595 μatm) and OA (pH ~7.55; pCO2 ~ 1450 μatm) fish-holding aquaria. After five days of exposure, damselfish locomotion, boldness, anxiety, and aggression were assessed using a battery of behavioral tests using automated video analysis. Two days later, these tests were repeated following application of the dopamine D1 receptor agonist SKF 38393. OA-exposure induced ceiling anxiety levels that were significantly higher than in control damselfish, and SKF 38393 increased anxiety in control damselfish to a level not significantly different than that of OA-exposed damselfish. Additionally, SKF 38393 decreased locomotion and increased boldness in control damselfish but had no effect in OA-exposed damselfish, suggesting an alteration in activity of dopaminergic pathways that regulate behavior under OA conditions. These results indicate that changes in dopamine D1 receptor function affects fish behavior during exposure to OA. However, subsequent measurements of seawater sampled using syringes during the daytime (~3–4 pm local time) from crevasses in coral reef colonies, which are used as shelter by damselfish, revealed an average pH of 7.73 ± 0.03 and pCO2 of 925.8 ± 62.2 μatm; levels which are comparable to Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 predicted end-of-century mean OA levels in the open ocean. Further studies considering the immediate environmental conditions experienced by fish as well as individual variability and effect size are required to understand potential implications of the observed OA-induced behavioral effects on damselfish fitness in the wild.

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Geographical and seasonal patterns in the carbonate chemistry of Narragansett Bay, RI


  • Examined spatial and temporal changes in carbonate chemistry in Narragansett Bay.
  • Carbonate chemistry calculated from alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon.
  • Sampling time and site location were partially confounded and addressed via model.
  • Found persistent differences in pH and dissolved oxygen between bay regions.
  • Characterized acidification events with potential to adversely affect aquatic life. 


This study examined geographical and seasonal patterns in carbonate chemistry and will facilitate assessment of acidification conditions and the current state of the seawater carbonate chemistry system in Narragansett Bay. Direct measurements of total alkalinity, dissolved inorganic carbon, dissolved oxygen percent saturation, water temperature, salinity and pressure were performed during monthly sampling cruises carried out over three years. These measurements were used to calculate the following biologically relevant carbonate system parameters: total pH (pHT), the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the gas phase (pCO2), and the aragonite saturation state (ΩA). The information provided by carbonate chemistry analysis allowed for the characterization of acidification events which have the potential to disrupt the species composition and ecological functioning of coastal biological communities and threaten commercially important aquatic life. We found very robust relationships between salinity and total alkalinity (R2adjusted=0.82) and between salinity and dissolved inorganic carbon (R2adjusted=0.81) that persisted through all regions, seasons, and depth-layers with mixing of coastal waters with freshwater entering in the upper bay being an important driver on alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon distributions. We compared the metabolically linked calculated carbonate system parameters with dissolved oxygen (DO) saturation and found high correlation, with DO percent saturation exhibiting robust correlation with the calculated carbonate system parameters total pH (r = 0.70) and with partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the gas phase (r = -0.71). Using a statistical model to correct for the confounded effects of time and space that are a common challenge in marine survey design, we found that acidification events occurred in the Northern Region of the bay, primarily during the Summer and Fall, and likely due to a combination of microbial respiration and stratification. These acidification events, especially in the Northern Region, have the potential to adversely impact aquatic life.

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Estimation of pH on total scale in coastal environments for the understanding of the variability of the carbonate system in the context of ocean acidification

Most of the theoretical and practical development of the ocean acidification (OA) phenomenon involves the open ocean, and not much is known of the significance of variation in pH and carbonate system in coastal environments and the effect, if any, of OA. Traditional potentiometric pH measurements are carried out on the NBS scale (pHNBS), developed for freshwaters, but for OA it is necessary to use the total scale (pHT), which includes the additional ions of seawater. Using a series of in-situ measurements of potential, carried out with a pHNBS electrode in the artificial coastal lagoon La Escollera in Santa Marta (Colombia), a methodology to calculate pHT was tested. For this, the equation pHT(X) = pHT(TRIS) – EX-ETRISR*T*ln10/F was used, which calculates pHT(X) of the sample from the pHT(TRIS) of the TRIS standard solution, the potentials E measured at temperature T, and the constants R and F. ETRIS was determined experimentally for the lagoon temperature range, and the linear regression showed a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.9977. In a first qualitative analysis, it was verified that pH variations during the day-night cycle are closely associated with those of oxygen, from the production and consumption of CO2 by photosynthesis and respiration. These high-frequency variations are of greater magnitude than those of the open ocean, raising questions about the real effect of OA on coastal ecosystems.

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Assessing the impact of ocean acidification: a methods comparison of SEM, CT and light microscopy on pteropod shells

Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the world’s oceans have absorbed approximately one third of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions and are experiencing acidification as a result. Pteropods are a marine group of snails that are vulnerable to acidification due to their thin shells composed of aragonite, which is 50% more soluble than calcite. Due to their vulnerability and ubiquity throughout the world’s oceans, pteropods are considered bioindicators of ocean acidification; their responses include decreased size, reduced shell thickness, and increased shell dissolution. Shell dissolution has been measured using a variety of metrics involving light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and computed tomography (CT). Assessing which method(s) effectively capture acidification’s impact on pteropod shells is still an active area of research. While CT and SEM metrics offer high resolution imaging, these analyses are cost- and time-intensive relative to light microscopy analyses and may be inaccessible for ocean monitoring projects and research. This research compares light microscopy, CT, and SEM shell dissolution metrics across three pteropod species: Limacina helicina, Limacina retroversa, and Heliconoides inflatus. Sourced from multiple localities, these taxa lived in tropical to subpolar environments and were exposed to varying aragonite saturations states due to stark oceanographic differences in these environments. Specimens were evaluated using light microscopy for the Limacina Dissolution Index (LDX), using SEM for average and maximum dissolution type, and using CT for shell thickness. Spearman correlation tests were run among the dissolution metrics within each species dataset and significance was assessed both before and viii after Bonferroni correction. Before Bonferroni correction, LDX and SEM average dissolution type were highly correlated for both the Limacina retroversa (rho = 0.81, p > 0.001) and Heliconoides inflatus (rho = 0.79, p > 0.001) datasets, and remained significant after Bonferroni correction. For Limacina retroversa, LDX was also significantly correlated to SEM maximum dissolution type (rho = 0.77, p > 0.001). The CT metrics for shell thickness were not significantly correlated to any other dissolution metrics for any species. However, severely dissolved (type 3) areas apparent in SEM were also visually discernible in CT thickness heatmaps. Although the genera Heliconoides and Limacina have different shell microstructures, the relationship between LDX and SEM average dissolution type did not vary by species. Additionally, the Heliconoides inflatus specimens were sourced from both the aragonite-undersaturated California Current and the aragonite-oversaturated Cariaco Basin; however, the differing localities and their respective oceanographic conditions did not have a significant influence on the relationship between LDX and SEM average dissolution. Overall, these findings show that the cheaper and faster LDX method, which needs only a light microscope, is a promising method for detecting dissolution resulting from ocean acidification across multiple species and oceanographic conditions.

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Projected increase in carbon dioxide drawdown and acidification in large estuaries under climate change

Most estuaries are substantial sources of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. The estimated estuarine CO2 degassing is about 17% of the total oceanic uptake, but the effect of rising atmospheric CO2 on estuarine carbon balance remains unclear. Here we use 3D hydrodynamic-biogeochemical models of a large eutrophic estuary and a box model of two generic, but contrasting estuaries to generalize how climate change affects estuarine carbonate chemistry and CO2 fluxes. We found that small estuaries with short flushing times remain a CO2 source to the atmosphere, but large estuaries with long flushing times may become a greater carbon sink and acidify. In particular, climate downscaling projections for Chesapeake Bay in the mid-21st century showed a near-doubling of CO2 uptake, a pH decline of 0.1–0.3, and >90% expansion of the acidic volume. Our findings suggest that large eutrophic estuaries will become carbon sinks and suffer from accelerated acidification in a changing climate.

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OrgAlkCalc: estimation of organic alkalinity quantities and acid-base properties with proof of concept in Dublin Bay


  • Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network TA titration apparatus can be modified to perform organic alkalinity titrations.
  • Open-source software can be used to estimate the concentrations and acid-base properties of organic alkalinity.
  • Organic alkalinity poses a significant fraction of TA in Dublin Bay.


The presence and influence of organic species is generally omitted in total alkalinity (TA) analysis. This has direct implications to calculated carbonate system parameters and to key descriptors of ocean acidification, especially in coastal waters where organic alkalinity (OrgAlk) can contribute significantly to TA. As titratable charge groups of OrgAlk can act as unknown seawater acid-base systems, the inclusion of the total concentration and apparent dissociation constants of OrgAlk in carbonate calculations involving TA is required to minimise uncertainty in computed speciation. Here we present OrgAlkCalc, an open-source Python based programme that can be used in conjunction with simply modified Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) TA titration apparatus to measure TA and OrgAlk, as well as return estimations of associated acid-base properties. The modified titration apparatus and OrgAlkCalc were tested using samples collected from the transitional waters of Dublin Bay, Ireland over a 8 month period (n = 100). TA values ranged from 2257 to 4692 μmol·kg−1 and indicated that freshwater inputs pose a significant source of carbonate alkalinity to Dublin Bay. OrgAlk values ranged from 46 to 234 μmol·kg−1 and were generally observed to be higher in more saline waters, with elevated levels in the Autumn/Winter period. The dissociation constants of two distinct OrgAlk charge groups were identified, with pK values in agreement with previously reported values for humic substances. The majority of OrgAlk charge group concentrations were associated with carboxyl-like charge groups.

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Ocean acidification impedes foraging behavior in the mud snail Ilyanassa obsoleta

Ocean acidification may diminish the response of many marine organisms to chemical cues that can be used to sense nearby food and predators, potentially altering community dynamics. We used a Y-maze choice experiment to investigate the impact of ocean acidification on the ability of mud snails (Ilyanassa obsoleta) to sense food cues in seawater. Mud snails have a well-adapted chemosensory system and play an important role in estuarine ecosystem functioning. Our results showed substantially diminished foraging success for the mud snail under acidified conditions, as snails typically moved towards the food cue in controls (pH 8.1) and away from it in acidified treatments (pH 7.6). These results, coupled with previous work, clearly demonstrate the magnitude at which ocean acidification may impair foraging efficiency, potentially resulting in severe alterations in future ecosystem dynamics.

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The carbonate system and air-sea CO2 fluxes in coastal and open-ocean waters of the Macaronesia

Graphical abstract

The CO2 system, anthropogenic carbon (Cant) inventory and air-sea CO2 fluxes (FCO2) were analysed in the archipelagic waters of the Macaronesian region. The (sub)surface data were collected during POS533 (February and March, 2019) in coastal areas leeward of Cape Verde (CV), Canary Islands (CA) and Madeira (MA) and through the vessel track. The CO2 variability was controlled by changes in temperature, biological activity and advection processes forced by spatial heterogeneities in the Canary Upwelling System, the mixed layer depth, the mesoscale activity and the circulation patterns. The surface fCO2,sw variability was driven by biological production and CO2-rich water injection in tropical waters and by temperature fluctuations in subtropical waters. The factors controlling the upper ocean changes in the total inorganic carbon normalized to a constant salinity (NCT) were assessed. The uptake and storage of anthropogenic carbon, calculated by using the TrOCA 2007 approach described, as an upper limit, > 60% (>90% above the MLD) of the NCT increase from preformed values. The organic carbon pump accounted 36.6-40.9% for tropical waters and lose importance for subtropical waters (7.5-11.6%), while the carbonate pump has a minimal contribution (<4.2%). The upper-ocean Cant inventory in coastal areas of CV (8,570 Km2), CA (7.960 Km2) and MA (1,250 Km2) was 7.57 x 103, 9.26 x 103 and 8.86 x 103 µmol kg-1, respectively (0.51, 0.58 and 0.09 Tg C, respectively). In terms of FCO2, the CV, CA and MA behaved as a winter CO2 sink (-4.74, -3.90 and -8.34 mmol m-2d-1, respectively) while a strong outgassing was detected over the Cape Blanc filament (20-25 mmol m-2d-1). The total average FCO2 for the ocean area of the three archipelagos (371,250 Km2) was -28.27 Gg CO2 d-1. The POS533 data were compared and compilated with SOCAT and GLODAP data and a new set of equations was provided to calculate the fCO2,sw, Cant and FCO2 in the Macaronesian region based on physical and biogeochemical properties.

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Ocean acidification and warming modify stimulatory benthos effects on sediment functioning: an experimental study on two ecosystem engineers

Many macrofauna have a stimulatory effect on sediment functioning through their burrowing, feeding and irrigation activities. Here, we investigated the single and combined effect of ocean acidification and warming on the stimulatory effect of two key-species inhabiting sandy seabeds in the Southern Bight of the North Sea; the bivalve Abra alba and the polychaete Lanice conchilega. The species were separately incubated in natural sediment in the laboratory under ambient, low pH (pH: -0.3), warm (T: + 3°C) and mimicked climate change (pH: -0.3, T: +3°C) conditions. After six weeks of incubation, nutrient and oxygen exchange were measured at the sediment-water interface to estimate aerobic sediment metabolism and nitrogen cycling. Both species facilitate sediment community oxygen consumption, nitrification and denitrification under ambient conditions. The stimulatory effect of A. alba disappeared in a low pH environment and decreased over time in the warmer treatments along with increased mortality. In contrast, L. conchilega stimulated sediment biogeochemical cycling more when seawater becomes acidified (+ 8 to 41%, depending on the function) but warming had no effect. We explain these species-specific climate change effects by different behavioral and physiological coping strategies that cascade on to sediment biogeochemical cycling, especially through altered oxygenation the sediment matrix.

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Deoxygenation, acidification and warming in Waquoit Bay, USA, and a shift to pelagic dominance

Coastal nutrient pollution, or eutrophication, is commonly linked to anthropogenic influences in terrestrial watersheds, where land-use changes often degrade water quality over time. Due to gradual changes, the management and monitoring of estuarine systems often lag environmental degradation. One example can be found at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, where we developed an analysis framework to standardize and analyze long-term trends in water quality and submerged vegetation data from monitoring programs that began in the 1990s. These programs started after the nearly complete loss of historically extensive Zostera marina (eelgrass) meadows throughout the estuary. Recently, eelgrass only persisted in small, undeveloped sub-embayments of the estuary, with conservative declines of over 97% in areal coverage. Over the past 2 decades, the average deoxygenation, acidification, and warming were −24.7 µmol O2 kg−1 (−11%), 0.006 µmol H+ kg−1 (+ 34%), and 1.0 °C (+ 4%), respectively. Along with the loss of eelgrass, there was also a decline in macroalgal biomass over 3 decades, resulting in a system dominated by pelagic metabolism, indicated by a 71% increase in water column chlorophyll a concentrations since 2009. This recent increase in phytoplankton biomass, which is highly mobile and transported throughout the estuary by tides, has resulted in recent degradation of isolated embayments despite their lower nutrient loads. This shift toward pelagic dominance in Waquoit Bay may indicate that other eutrophic and warming estuaries may also shift toward pelagic dominance in the future, as the Northeastern US is one of the fastest warming regions across the world.

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Understanding the dynamic response of Durafet-based sensors: a case study from the Murderkill Estuary-Delaware Bay system (Delaware, USA)


  • A SeapHOx sensor package was deployed in a dynamic estuarine environment.
  • The responses of the Durafet’s internal and external reference electrodes were assessed.
  • Previously unreported dynamic errors in their temperature and salinity responses were characterized.
  • A dynamic sensor response correction for the external reference electrode was developed.


The use of Durafet-based sensors has proliferated in recent years, but their performance in estuarine waters (salinity < 20) where rapid changes in temperature and salinity are frequently observed requires further scrutiny. Here, the responses of the Honeywell Durafet and its internal (pHINT) and external (pHEXT) reference electrodes integrated into a SeapHOx sensor at the confluence of the Murderkill Estuary and Delaware Bay (Delaware, USA) were assessed over extensive ranges of temperature (1.34–32.27°C), salinity (1.17–29.82), and rates of temperature (dT/dt; −1.46 to +1.53°C (0.5 h)−1) and salinity (dSalt/dt; −3.55 to +11.09 (0.5 h)−1) change. Empirical analyses indicated dynamic errors in the temperature and salinity responses of the internal and external reference electrodes, respectively, driven by tidal mixing were introduced into our pH time-series. These dynamic errors drove large anomalies between pHINT and pHEXT (denoted ΔpHINT−EXT) that reached >±0.8 pH in winter when the lowest temperatures and maximum tidal salinity variability occurred and >±0.15 pH in summer when the highest temperatures and minimum tidal salinity variability occurred. The ΔpHINT−EXT anomalies demonstrated a clear linear relationship with dSalt/dt thereby making dSalt/dt the strongest limiting factor of reference electrode response in our application. A dynamic sensor response correction for the external reference electrode (solid-state chloiride ion-selective electrode, Cl-ISE) was also developed and applied in the voltage domain. This correction reduced winter and summer ΔpHINT−EXT anomaly ranges by >40% and 68.7%, respectively. Summer anomalies were notably reduced to <±0.04 pH across all measurements. Further, this correction also removed the first-order salinity dependence of these anomalies. Consequently, dynamic errors in reference electrode response cannot be ignored and must be considered in future experimental designs. Further work to better understand the dynamic temperature and salinity responses of both reference electrodes is underway. Ultimately, we hope this work will stimulate further discussion around the role and treatment of large ΔpHINT−EXT anomalies as a part of future data quality control and data reporting as well as the dynamic errors in reference electrode response that drive them in the context of Sensor Best Practices.

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Wanted dead or alive: skeletal structure alteration of cold-water coral Desmophyllum pertusum (Lophelia pertusa) from anthropogenic stressors

Ocean acidification (OA) has provoked changes in the carbonate saturation state that may alter the formation and structural biomineralisation of calcium carbonate exoskeletons for marine organisms. Biomineral production in organisms such as cold-water corals (CWC) rely on available carbonate in the water column and the ability of the organism to sequester ions from seawater or nutrients for the formation and growth of a skeletal structure. As an important habitat structuring species, it is essential to examine the impact that anthropogenic stressors (i.e., OA and rising seawater temperatures) have on living corals and the structural properties of dead coral skeletons; these are important contributors to the entire reef structure and the stability of CWC mounds. In this study, dead coral skeletons in seawater were exposed to various levels of pCO2 and different temperatures over a 12-month period. Nanoindentation was subsequently conducted to assess the structural properties of coral samples’ elasticity (E) and hardness (H), whereas the amount of dissolution was assessed through scanning electron microscopy. Overall, CWC samples exposed to elevated pCO2 and temperature show changes in properties which leave them more susceptible to breakage and may in turn negatively impact the formation and stability of CWC mound development.

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Common sea star (Asterias rubens) coelomic fluid changes in response to short-term exposure to environmental stressors

Common sea stars (Asterias rubens) are at risk of physiological stress and decline with projected shifts in oceanic conditions. This study assessed changes in coelomic fluid (CF) blood gases, electrolytes, osmolality, and coelomocyte counts in adult common sea stars after exposure to stressors mimicking effects from climate change for 14 days, including decreased pH (−0.4 units, mean: 7.37), hypoxia (target dissolved oxygen ~1.75 mg O2/L, mean: 1.80 mg O2/L), or increased temperature (+10 °C, mean: 17.2 °C) and compared sea star CF electrolytes and osmolality to tank water. Changes in CF blood gases, electrolytes, and/or coelomocyte counts occurred in all treatment groups after stressor exposures, indicating adverse systemic effects with evidence of increased energy expenditure, respiratory or metabolic derangements, and immunosuppression or inflammation. At baseline, CF potassium and osmolality of all groups combined were significantly higher than tank water, and, after exposures, CF potassium was significantly higher in the hypoxia group as compared to tank water. These findings indicate physiological challenges for A. rubens after stressor exposures and, given increased observations of sea star wasting events globally, this provides evidence that sea stars as a broad group are particularly vulnerable to changing oceans.

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Spatiotemporal variability of pH and carbonate parameters on the Canadian Atlantic Continental Shelf between 2014 and 2020

The Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program (AZMP) was established by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in 1998 with the aim of monitoring physical and biological ocean conditions in Atlantic Canada in support of fisheries management. Since 2014, at least two of the carbonate parameters (pH, Total Alkalinity – TA, Dissolved Inorganic Carbon – DIC) have also been systematically measured as part of the AZMP, enabling the calculation of derived parameters (e.g., carbonate saturation states – Ω, partial pressure of CO2 – pCO2, etc.). The present study gives an overview of the spatiotemporal variability of these parameters between 2014 and 2020. Results show that the variability of carbonate parameters reflects changes in both physical (e.g., temperature, salinity) and biological (e.g., plankton photosynthesis and respiration) parameters. For example, most of the region undergoes a seasonal warming and freshening. While the former will tend to increase Ω, the latter will decrease both TA and Ω. Spring and summer plankton blooms decrease DIC near the surface and then remineralize and increase DIC at depth in the fall. The lowest pCO2 values are located in the cold Coastal Labrador Current and the highest in the fresh waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence Estuary. The latter is also the host of the lowest pH values of the zone. Finally, most of the bottom waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence are undersaturated with respect to aragonite (Ωarg<1). In addition to providing a baseline of carbonate parameters of the Atlantic Zone as a whole, this comprehensive overview is a necessary and useful contribution for the modeling community and for more in-depth studies. The full data set of measured and derived parameters is available in the Federated Research Data Repository at

Continue reading ‘Spatiotemporal variability of pH and carbonate parameters on the Canadian Atlantic Continental Shelf between 2014 and 2020’

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