Posts Tagged 'primary production'

Combined effects of global climate change and nutrient enrichment on the physiology of three temperate maerl species

Made up of calcareous coralline algae, maerl beds play a major role as ecosystem engineers in coastal areas throughout the world. They undergo strong anthropogenic pressures, which may threaten their survival. The aim of this study was to gain insight into the future of maerl beds in the context of global and local changes. We examined the effects of rising temperatures (+3°C) and ocean acidification (−0.3 pH units) according to temperature and pH projections (i.e., the RCP 8.5 scenario), and nutrient (N and P) availability on three temperate maerl species (Lithothamnion corallioides, Phymatolithon calcareum, and Lithophyllum incrustans) in the laboratory in winter and summer conditions. Physiological rates of primary production, respiration, and calcification were measured on all three species in each treatment and season. The physiological response of maerl to global climate change was species‐specific and influenced by seawater nutrient concentrations. Future temperature–pH scenario enhanced maximal gross primary production rates in P. calcareum in winter and in L. corallioides in both seasons. Nevertheless, both species suffered an impairment of light harvesting and photoprotective mechanisms in winter. Calcification rates at ambient light intensity were negatively affected by the future temperature–pH scenario in winter, with net dissolution observed in the dark in L. corallioides and P. calcareum under low nutrient concentrations. Nutrient enrichment avoided dissolution under future scenarios in winter and had a positive effect on L. incrustans calcification rate in the dark in summer. In winter conditions, maximal calcification rates were enhanced by the future temperature–pH scenario on the three species, but P. calcareum suffered inhibition at high irradiances. In summer conditions, the maximal calcification rate dropped in L. corallioides under the future global climate change scenario, with a potential negative impact on CaCO3 budget for maerl beds in the Bay of Brest where this species is dominant. Our results highlight how local changes in nutrient availability or irradiance levels impact the response of maerl species to global climate change and thus point out how it is important to consider other abiotic parameters in order to develop management policies capable to increase the resilience of maerl beds under the future global climate change scenario.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of global climate change and nutrient enrichment on the physiology of three temperate maerl species’

The effect of elevated CO2 on the production and respiration of a Sargassum thunbergii community: a mesocosm study

Approximately one‐third of anthropogenic carbon dioxide is absorbed into the ocean and causes it to become more acidic. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested that the surface ocean pH, by the year 2100, would drop by a further 0.3 and 0.4 pH units under RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) 6.0 and 8.5 climate scenarios. The macroalgae communities that consisted of Sargassum thunbergii and naturally attached epibionts were exposed to fluctuations of ambient and manipulated pH (0.3–0.4 units below ambient pH). The production and respiration in S. thunbergii communities were calculated from dissolved oxygen time‐series recorded with optical dissolved oxygen sensors. The pH, irradiance, and dissolved oxygen occurred in parallel with diurnal (day/night) patterns. According to net mesocosm production – photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) model, the saturation and compensation PAR, the mean maximum gross mesocosm production (GMP), and daily mesocosm respiration were higher in the CO2 enrichment, than in the ambient condition, while the mean of photosynthetic coefficient was similar. In conclusion, elevated CO2 stimulated oxygen production and consumption of S. thunbergii communities in the mesocosm. Furthermore, the sensitivity of the GMP of the S. thunbergii community to irradiance was reduced, and achieved maximum production rate at higher PAR. These positive responses to CO2 enrichment suggest that S. thunbergii communities may thrive in under high CO2 conditions.

Continue reading ‘The effect of elevated CO2 on the production and respiration of a Sargassum thunbergii community: a mesocosm study’

Seasonal variability of calcium carbonate precipitation and dissolution in shallow coral reef sediments

Shallow, permeable calcium carbonate (CaCO3) sediments make up a large proportion of the benthic cover on coral reefs and account for a large fraction of the standing stock of CaCO3. There have been a number of laboratory, mesocosm, and in situ studies examining shallow sediment metabolism and dissolution, but none of these have considered seasonal variability. Advective benthic chambers were used to measure in situ net community calcification (NCC) rates of CaCO3 sediments on Heron Island, Australia (Great Barrier Reef) over an annual cycle. Sediments were, on average, net precipitating during the day and net dissolving at night throughout the year. Night dissolution rates (−NCCNIGHT) were highest in the austral autumn and lowest in the austral winter driven by changes in respiration (R) and to a lesser extent temperature and Ωarag/pH. Similarly, precipitation during the day (+NCCDAY) was highest in March and lowest in winter, driven primarily by benthic net primary production (NPP) and temperature. On average, sediments were net precipitating over a diel cycle (NCC24h) but shifted to net dissolving in July and December. This shift was largely caused by the differential effects of seasonal cycles in organic metabolism and carbonate chemistry on NCCDAY and NCCNIGHT. The results from this study highlight the large variability in sediment CaCO3 dynamics and the need to include repeated measurements over different months and seasons, particularly in shallow reef systems that can experience large swings in light, temperature, and carbonate chemistry.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal variability of calcium carbonate precipitation and dissolution in shallow coral reef sediments’

Net heterotrophy and carbonate dissolution in two subtropical seagrass meadows

The net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of two seagrass meadows within one of the largest seagrass ecosystems in the world, Florida Bay, was assessed using direct measurements over consecutive diel cycles during a short study in the fall of 2018. We report significant differences between NEP determined by dissolved inorganic carbon (NEPDIC) and by dissolved oxygen (NEPDO), likely driven by differences in air–water gas exchange and contrasting responses to variations in light intensity. We also acknowledge the impact of advective exchange on metabolic calculations of NEP and net ecosystem calcification (NEC) using the “open-water” approach and attempt to quantify this effect. In this first direct determination of NEPDIC in seagrass, we found that both seagrass ecosystems were net heterotrophic, on average, despite large differences in seagrass net above-ground primary productivity. NEC was also negative, indicating that both sites were net dissolving carbonate minerals. We suggest that a combination of carbonate dissolution and respiration in sediments exceeded seagrass primary production and calcification, supporting our negative NEP and NEC measurements. However, given the limited spatial (two sites) and temporal (8 d) extent of this study, our results may not be representative of Florida Bay as a whole and may be season-specific. The results of this study highlight the need for better temporal resolution, accurate carbonate chemistry accounting, and an improved understanding of physical mixing processes in future seagrass metabolism studies.

Continue reading ‘Net heterotrophy and carbonate dissolution in two subtropical seagrass meadows’

Influence of the seagrass Thalassia hemprichii on coral reef mesocosms exposed to ocean acidification and experimentally elevated temperatures

Highlights

• The combined effect of OA and rising temperatures stimulated the growth of macroalgae.

• OA resulted in higher coral calcification rates when corals were co-incubated with seagrass.

• Macroalgal growth was lower in seagrass-containing mesocosms.

• Coral and macroalgal, but not seagrass, growth suffered at 31°C under OA conditions.

• Seagrass helped to stabilize the system’s metabolism in response to projected climate change stressors.

Abstract

Ocean acidification (OA) and warming currently threaten coastal ecosystems across the globe. However, it is possible that the former process could actually benefit marine plants, such as seagrasses. The purpose of this study was to examine whether the effects of the seagrass Thalassia hemprichii can increase the resilience of OA-challenged coral reef mesocosms whose temperatures were gradually elevated. It was found that shoot density, photosynthetic efficiency, and leaf growth rate of the seagrass actually increased with rising temperatures under OA. Macroalgal growth rates were higher in the seagrass-free mesocosms, but the calcification rate of the model reef coral Pocillopora damicornis was higher in coral reef mesocosms featuring seagrasses under OA condition at 25 and 28°C. Both the macroalgal growth rate and the coral calcification rate decreased in all mesocosms when the temperature was raised to 31°C under OA conditions. However, the variation in gross primary production, ecosystem respiration, and net ecosystem production in the seagrass mesocosms was lower than in seagrass-free controls, suggesting that the presence of seagrass in the mesocosms helped to stabilize the metabolism of the system in response to simulated climate change.

Continue reading ‘Influence of the seagrass Thalassia hemprichii on coral reef mesocosms exposed to ocean acidification and experimentally elevated temperatures’

Low CO2 evasion rate from the mangrove surrounding waters of Sundarban

Globally, water bodies adjacent to mangroves are considered sources of atmospheric CO2. We directly measured the partial pressure of CO2 in water, pCO2(water), and other related biogeochemical parameters with very high (1-min) temporal resolution at Dhanchi Island in India’s Sundarbans during the post-monsoon season. We used elemental, stable isotopic, and optical signatures to investigate the sources of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and organic matter (OM) in these waters. Diel mean pCO2(water) was marginally oversaturated in creeks (efflux, 69 ± 180 µmol m−2 h−1) and undersaturated along the island boundary and in the main river (influx, −17 ± 53 and −31 ± 73 µmol m−2 h−1, respectively) compared to the atmospheric CO2 concentration. The possibility in earlier studies of over- or underestimating the CO2 flux because of an inability to capture tidal minima and maxima was minimized in the present study, which confirmed that the waters surrounding mangroves in this region can act as a sink or a very weak source of atmospheric CO2. δ13C values for DIC suggest a mixed DIC source, and a three-end-member stable isotope mixing model and optical signatures of OM suggest negligible riverine contribution of freshwater to OM. We conclude that the CO2 sink or weak source character was due to a reduced input of riverine freshwater [which usually has high pCO2(water)] and the predominance of pCO2-lean water from the coastal sea, which eventually increases the buffering capacity of the water as evidenced by the Revelle factor. Up-scaling the CO2 flux data for all seasons and the entire estuary, we propose that the CO2 evasion rate observed in this study is much lower than the recently estimated world average. Mangrove areas having such low emissions should be given due emphasis when up-scaling the global mangrove carbon budget from regional observations.

Continue reading ‘Low CO2 evasion rate from the mangrove surrounding waters of Sundarban’

Dynamics of benthic metabolism, O2, and pCO2 in a temperate seagrass meadow

Seagrass meadows play an important role in “blue carbon” sequestration and storage, but their dynamic metabolism is not fully understood. In a dense Zostera marina meadow, we measured benthic O2 fluxes by aquatic eddy covariance, water column concentrations of O2, and partial pressures of CO2 (pCO2) over 21 full days during peak growing season in April and June. Seagrass metabolism, derived from the O2 flux, varied markedly between the 2 months as biomass accumulated and water temperature increased from 16°C to 28°C, triggering a twofold increase in respiration and a trophic shift of the seagrass meadow from being a carbon sink to a carbon source. Seagrass metabolism was the major driver of diurnal fluctuations in water column O2 concentration and pCO2, ranging from 173 to 377 μmol L−1 and 193 to 859 ppmv, respectively. This 4.5‐fold variation in pCO2 was observed despite buffering by the carbonate system. Hysteresis in diurnal water column pCO2 vs. O2 concentration was attributed to storage of O2 and CO2 in seagrass tissue, air–water exchange of O2 and CO2, and CO2 storage in surface sediment. There was a ~ 1:1 mol‐to‐mol stoichiometric relationship between diurnal fluctuations in concentrations of O2 and dissolved inorganic carbon. Our measurements showed no stimulation of photosynthesis at high CO2 and low O2 concentrations, even though CO2 reached levels used in IPCC ocean acidification scenarios. This field study does not support the notion that seagrass meadows may be “winners” in future oceans with elevated CO2 concentrations and more frequent temperature extremes.

Continue reading ‘Dynamics of benthic metabolism, O2, and pCO2 in a temperate seagrass meadow’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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