Posts Tagged 'review'

The impacts of ocean acidification on marine trace gases and the implications for atmospheric chemistry and climate

Surface ocean biogeochemistry and photochemistry regulate ocean–atmosphere fluxes of trace gases critical for Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and climate. The oceanic processes governing these fluxes are often sensitive to the changes in ocean pH (or pCO2) accompanying ocean acidification (OA), with potential for future climate feedbacks. Here, we review current understanding (from observational, experimental and model studies) on the impact of OA on marine sources of key climate-active trace gases, including dimethyl sulfide (DMS), nitrous oxide (N2O), ammonia and halocarbons. We focus on DMS, for which available information is considerably greater than for other trace gases. We highlight OA-sensitive regions such as polar oceans and upwelling systems, and discuss the combined effect of multiple climate stressors (ocean warming and deoxygenation) on trace gas fluxes. To unravel the biological mechanisms responsible for trace gas production, and to detect adaptation, we propose combining process rate measurements of trace gases with longer term experiments using both model organisms in the laboratory and natural planktonic communities in the field. Future ocean observations of trace gases should be routinely accompanied by measurements of two components of the carbonate system to improve our understanding of how in situ carbonate chemistry influences trace gas production. Together, this will lead to improvements in current process model capabilities and more reliable predictions of future global marine trace gas fluxes.

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Photosynthetic performances of marine microalgae under influences of rising CO2 and solar UV radiation

Marine photosynthesis contributes approximately half of the global primary productivity. Ocean climate changes, such as increasing dissolved CO2 in seawater and consequently declining pH (known as ocean acidification, OA), may alter marine photosynthetic performance. There are numerous studies on the effects of OA on photosynthetic organisms, but controversial findings indicate positive, neutral, and negative influences. Most of the studies so far have been conducted under controlled conditions that ignored the presence of solar UV radiation. Increased CO2 availability may play a fertilizing role, while the concurrent pH drop may exert pressure on microalgal cells, especially during the night period. It is known that elevated CO2 concentrations downregulate CO2-concentrating mechanisms (CCMs), and intracellular concentrations of dissolved inorganic carbon in diatoms grown under elevated CO2 levels can be much lower than that in low CO2-grown ones. Such a reduced CO2 availability within cells in response to increased CO2 in the water can lead to enhanced photorespiration due to an increased O2 to CO2 ratio around the carboxylating and oxygenating enzyme, RuBisCO. Therefore, negative and positive effects of OA may depend on light levels, since the saved energy due to downregulation of CCMs can benefit growth under light-limited conditions but enhance photoinhibition under light-excessive conditions. OA affects metabolic pathways in phytoplankton. It augments ß-oxidation and the citric acid cycle, which accumulates toxic phenolic compounds. In the upper mixed layer, phytoplankton are exposed to excessive PAR and UV radiation (UVR). The calcareous incrustations of calcified microalgae, known to shield the organisms from UVR, are thinned due to OA, exposing the cells to increased solar UV and further inhibiting their calcification and photosynthesis, reflecting a compounded impact. Such UV and OA interactive effects are expected to reduce primary productivity in oligotrophic pelagic surface waters. In this chapter, we review and analyze recent results on effects of OA and UV and their combined effects on marine photosynthesis of microalgae, which falls in the context of marine photosynthesis under changing ocean environments and multiple stressors.

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European policies and legislation targeting ocean acidification in European waters – current state

Ocean acidification (OA) is a global problem with profoundly negative environmental, social and economic consequences. From a governance perspective, there is a need to ensure a coordinated effort to directly address it. This study reviews 90 legislative documents from 17 countries from the European Economic Area (EEA) and the UK that primarily border the sea. The primary finding from this study is that the European national policies and legislation addressing OA is at best uncoordinated. Although OA is acknowledged at the higher levels of governance, its status as an environmental challenge is greatly diluted at the European Union Member State level. As a notable exception within the EEA, Norway seems to have a proactive approach towards legislative frameworks and research aimed towards further understanding OA. On the other hand, there was a complete lack of, or inadequate reporting in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive by the majority of the EU Member States, with the exception of Italy and the Netherlands. We argue that the problems associated with OA and the solutions needed to address it are unique and cannot be bundled together with traditional climate change responses and measures. Therefore, European OA-related policy and legislation must reflect this and tailor their actions to mitigate OA to safeguard marine ecosystems and societies. A stronger and more coordinated approach is needed to build environmental, economic and social resilience of the observed and anticipated changes to the coastal marine systems.

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Climate change increases the risk of fisheries conflict

The effects of climate change on the ocean environment – especially ocean warming, acidification, and sea level rise – will impact fish stocks and fishers in important ways. Likely impacts include changes in fish stocks’ productivity and distribution, human migration to and away from coastal areas, stresses on coastal fisheries infrastructure, and challenges to prevailing maritime boundaries. In this paper, we explore these and other related phenomena, in order to assess whether and how the impacts of climate change on fisheries will contribute to the risk of fisheries conflict. We argue that climate change will entail an increase in the conditions that may precipitate fisheries conflict, and thereby create new challenges for existing fisheries management institutions. Several potential changes in fisheries management policy are recommended to avert the growing risk of fisheries-related conflicts.

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Influence of water masses on the biodiversity and biogeography of deep-sea benthic ecosystems in the North Atlantic

Circulation patterns in the North Atlantic Ocean have changed and re-organized multiple times over millions of years, influencing the biodiversity, distribution, and connectivity patterns of deep-sea species and ecosystems. In this study, we review the effects of the water mass properties (temperature, salinity, food supply, carbonate chemistry, and oxygen) on deep-sea benthic megafauna (from species to community level) and discussed in future scenarios of climate change. We focus on the key oceanic controls on deep-sea megafauna biodiversity and biogeography patterns. We place particular attention on cold-water corals and sponges, as these are ecosystem-engineering organisms that constitute vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME) with high associated biodiversity. Besides documenting the current state of the knowledge on this topic, a future scenario for water mass properties in the deep North Atlantic basin was predicted. The pace and severity of climate change in the deep-sea will vary across regions. However, predicted water mass properties showed that all regions in the North Atlantic will be exposed to multiple stressors by 2100, experiencing at least one critical change in water temperature (+2°C), organic carbon fluxes (reduced up to 50%), ocean acidification (pH reduced up to 0.3), aragonite saturation horizon (shoaling above 1000 m) and/or reduction in dissolved oxygen (>5%). The northernmost regions of the North Atlantic will suffer the greatest impacts. Warmer and more acidic oceans will drastically reduce the suitable habitat for ecosystem-engineers, with severe consequences such as declines in population densities, even compromising their long-term survival, loss of biodiversity and reduced biogeographic distribution that might compromise connectivity at large scales. These effects can be aggravated by reductions in carbon fluxes, particularly in areas where food availability is already limited. Declines in benthic biomass and biodiversity will diminish ecosystem services such as habitat provision, nutrient cycling, etc. This study shows that the deep-sea VME affected by contemporary anthropogenic impacts and with the ongoing climate change impacts are unlikely to withstand additional pressures from more intrusive human activities. This study serves also as a warning to protect these ecosystems through regulations and by tempering the ongoing socio-political drivers for increasing exploitation of marine resources.

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Ocean change within shoreline communities: from biomechanics to behaviour and beyond

Humans are changing the physical properties of Earth. In marine systems, elevated carbon dioxide concentrations are driving notable shifts in temperature and seawater chemistry. Here, we consider consequences of such perturbations for organism biomechanics and linkages amongst species within communities. In particular, we examine case examples of altered morphologies and material properties, disrupted consumer–prey behaviours, and the potential for modulated positive (i.e. facilitative) interactions amongst taxa, as incurred through increasing ocean acidity and rising temperatures. We focus on intertidal rocky shores of temperate seas as model systems, acknowledging the longstanding role of these communities in deciphering ecological principles. Our survey illustrates the broad capacity for biomechanical and behavioural shifts in organisms to influence the ecology of a transforming world.

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The effect of climate change on the escape kinematics and performance of fishes: implications for future predator–prey interactions

Climate change can have a pronounced impact on the physiology and behaviour of fishes. Notably, many climate change stressors, such as global warming, hypoxia and ocean acidification (OA), have been shown to alter the kinematics of predator–prey interactions in fishes, with potential effects at ecological levels. Here, we review the main effects of each of these stressors on fish escape responses using an integrative approach that encompasses behavioural and kinematic variables. Elevated temperature was shown to affect many components of the escape response, including escape latencies, kinematics and maximum swimming performance, while the main effect of hypoxia was on escape responsiveness and directionality. OA had a negative effect on the escape response of juvenile fish by decreasing their directionality, responsiveness and locomotor performance, although some studies show no effect of acidification. The few studies that have explored the effects of multiple stressors show that temperature tends to have a stronger effect on escape performance than OA. Overall, the effects of climate change on escape responses may occur through decreased muscle performance and/or an interference with brain and sensory functions. In all of these cases, since the escape response is a behaviour directly related to survival, these effects are likely to be fundamental drivers of changes in marine communities. The overall future impact of these stressors is discussed by including their potential effects on predator attack behaviour, thereby allowing the development of potential future scenarios for predator–prey interactions.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book