Posts Tagged 'sediment'

Retrodiction of secular variations in deep-sea CaCO3 burial during the Cenozoic

Deep-sea sediments record changes in oceanic carbonate chemistry and CaCO3sedimentation rate through temporal variations in the total burial of CaCO3 and the position of the carbonate snowline, i.e., the ocean depth at which CaCO3-free sediments are first recorded. This paper links mathematically secular changes in snowline to those in the burial rate through a set of relatively simple equations. When the available Cenozoic deep-sea burial records are employed to predict secular variations in snowline, the process fails at some time in the past, indicating that these records are not consistent with each other. The burial records are more likely the source of this problem, as they involve far more uncertainties than the snowline records. As a consequence, we introduce a method for estimating carbonate burial through the use of a canonical CaCO3-depth profile, which can respond dynamically to secular changes in carbonate sedimentation and the positions of both the snowline and the carbonate saturation horizon. The resulting synthetic CaCO3burial record is consistent with snowline records and indicates that the burial rates offered by Davies and Worsley (1981) are generally too high, with highly questionable maxima at 25 and 47 Ma BP. Our estimates of burial are more consistent with the range advanced by Mackenzie and Morse (1992); nevertheless, our results differ from the latter with respect to timing and magnitude of the variations. Our approach allows simultaneous calculation of the mean carbonate ion concentration of the deep sea. We find that carbonate-ion levels fell through the Cenozoic and are similar to those calculated by Tyrrell and Zeebe (2004), using a different model. Secular variations in CaCO3 burial are found to be primarily driven by changes in the Ca2+–CO32 ion product within the bottom-waters, with an increase in the sedimentation rate of CaCO3 of secondary importance over the Cenozoic.

Continue reading ‘Retrodiction of secular variations in deep-sea CaCO3 burial during the Cenozoic’

Assessment of the environmental impacts of ocean acidification (OA) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) leaks using the amphipod Hyale youngi

This study aims to ascertain the effects of CO2 induced water acidification and leaks from Carbon Capture and Storage activities on the South American amphipod Hyale youngi. A 10-day acute toxicity test was performed using sediments from two sites located inside the Santos Estuarine System. They were subjected to five pH treatments (8.1, 7.6, 7.0, 6.5, and 6.0). Metals (Cd, Cu, Cr, Pb, Ni and Zn) and the metalloid As were analyzed to determine the influence of their acidification-related mobility on the amphipods mortality. The results showed that mortality becomes significant when compared to control in pH 6.5 in the Canal de Piaçaguerasediment (contaminated) and at pH 6.0 in Ilha das Palmas sediment (reference).

Continue reading ‘Assessment of the environmental impacts of ocean acidification (OA) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) leaks using the amphipod Hyale youngi’

Short-term CO2 exposure and temperature rise effects on metazoan meiofauna and free-living nematodes in sandy and muddy sediments: Results from a flume experiment

Global concern over increasing CO2 emissions, and the resultant CO2 driven temperature rises and changes in seawater chemistry, necessitates the advancement of understanding into how these changes will affect marine life now and in the future. Here we report on an experimental investigation into the effects of increased CO2concentration and elevated temperature on sedimentary meiofaunal communities. Cohesive (muddy) and non-cohesive (sandy) sediments were collected from the Eden Estuary in St. Andrews, Scotland, UK, placed within a flume setup and exposed to 2 levels of CO2 concentration (380 and 750 ppmv, current at the time of the experiment, and predicted CO2 concentration by 2100, respectively) and 2 temperature levels (12 °C and 16 °C, current in-situ and predicted temperature by 2100, respectively). We investigated the metazoan meiofauna and nematode communities before and after 28 days of exposure under these experimental conditions. The most determinative factor for abundance, diversity and community structure of meiofauna and nematodes was sediment type: on all levels, communities were significantly different between sand and mud sediments which agrees with what is generally known about the influence of sediment structure on meiofaunal organisms. Few CO2 and temperature effects were observed, suggesting that meiofauna and nematodes are generally much less responsive than, for instance, microbial communities and macrofauna to these environmental changes in estuarine environments, where organisms are naturally exposed to a fluctuating environment. This was corroborated by the observed effects related to the different seasons in which the samples were taken from the field to run the experiment. After 28 days, meiofauna and nematode communities in muddy sediments showed a greater response to increased CO2 concentration and temperature rise than in sandy sediments. However, further study is needed to investigate the underlying mechanisms and meiofauna species-specific resilience and responses to ocean acidification and warming, and their interactions with other biota, to understand what such changes may mean for meiofauna communities and the ecosystem processes and functions they contribute to.

Continue reading ‘Short-term CO2 exposure and temperature rise effects on metazoan meiofauna and free-living nematodes in sandy and muddy sediments: Results from a flume experiment’

Marine microbial gene abundance and community composition in response to ocean acidification and elevated temperature in two contrasting coastal marine sediments

Marine ecosystems are exposed to a range of human-induced climate stressors, in particular changing carbonate chemistry and elevated sea surface temperatures as a consequence of climate change. More research effort is needed to reduce uncertainties about the effects of global-scale warming and acidification for benthic microbial communities, which drive sedimentary biogeochemical cycles. In this research, mesocosm experiments were set up using muddy and sandy coastal sediments to investigate the independent and interactive effects of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations (750 ppm CO2) and elevated temperature (ambient + 4 °C) on the abundance of taxonomic and functional microbial genes. Specific q-PCR primers were used to target archaeal, bacterial and cyanobacterial/chloroplast 16S rRNA in both sediment types. Nitrogen cycling genes archaeal and bacterial ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) and bacterial nitrite reductase (nirS) were specifically targeted to identify changes in microbial gene abundance and potential impacts on nitrogen cycling. In muddy sediment, microbial gene abundance, including amoA and nirS genes, increased under elevated temperature and reduced under elevated CO2 after 28 days, accompanied by shifts in community composition. In contrast, the combined stressor treatment showed a non-additive effect with lower microbial gene abundance throughout the experiment. The response of microbial communities in the sandy sediment was less pronounced, with the most noticeable response seen in the archaeal gene abundances in response to environmental stressors over time. 16S rRNA genes (amoA and nirS) were lower in abundance in the combined stressor treatments in sandy sediments. Our results indicated that marine benthic microorganisms, especially in muddy sediments, are susceptible to changes in ocean carbonate chemistry and seawater temperature, which ultimately may have an impact upon key benthic biogeochemical cycles.

Continue reading ‘Marine microbial gene abundance and community composition in response to ocean acidification and elevated temperature in two contrasting coastal marine sediments’

Anthropogenic forcing of carbonate and organic carbon preservation in marine sediments

Carbon preservation in marine sediments, supplemented by that in large lakes, is the primary mechanism that moves carbon from the active surficial carbon cycle to the slower geologic carbon cycle. Preservation rates are low relative to the rates at which carbon moves between surface pools, which has led to the preservation term largely being ignored when evaluating anthropogenic forcing of the global carbon cycle. However, a variety of anthropogenic drivers—including ocean warming, deoxygenation, and acidification, as well as human-induced changes in sediment delivery to the ocean and mixing and irrigation of continental margin sediments—all work to decrease the already small carbon preservation term. These drivers affect the cycling of both carbonate and organic carbon in the ocean. The overall effect of anthropogenic forcing in the modern ocean is to decrease delivery of carbon to sediments, increase sedimentary dissolution and remineralization, and subsequently decrease overall carbon preservation.

Continue reading ‘Anthropogenic forcing of carbonate and organic carbon preservation in marine sediments’

Vulnerability of macronutrients to the concurrent effects of enhanced temperature and atmospheric pCO2 in representative shelf sea sediment habitats

Fundamental changes in seawater carbonate chemistry and sea surface temperatures associated with the ocean uptake of anthropogenic CO2 are accelerating, but investigations of the susceptibility of biogeochemical processes to the simultaneous occurrence of multiple components of climate change are uncommon. Here, we quantify how concurrent changes in enhanced temperature and atmospheric pCO2, coupled with an associated shift in macrofaunal community structure and behavior (sediment particle reworking and bioirrigation), modify net carbon and nutrient concentrations (NH4-N, NOx-N, PO4-P) in representative shelf sea sediment habitats (mud, sandy-mud, muddy-sand and sand) of the Celtic Sea. We show that net concentrations of organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphate are, irrespective of sediment type, largely unaffected by a simultaneous increase in temperature and atmospheric pCO2. However, our analyses also reveal that a reduction in macrofaunal species richness and total abundance occurs under future environmental conditions, varies across a gradient of cohesive to non-cohesive sediments, and negatively moderates biogeochemical processes, in particular nitrification. Our findings indicate that future environmental conditions are unlikely to have strong direct effects on biogeochemical processes but, particularly in muddy sands, the abundance, activity, composition and functional role of invertebrate communities are likely to be altered in ways that will be sufficient to regulate the function of the microbial community and the availability of nutrients in shelf sea waters.

Continue reading ‘Vulnerability of macronutrients to the concurrent effects of enhanced temperature and atmospheric pCO2 in representative shelf sea sediment habitats’

Calibration of the carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of benthic foraminifera

The carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of seawater provides valuable insight on ocean circulation, air-sea exchange, the biological pump, and the global carbon cycle and is reflected by the δ13C of foraminifera tests. Here more than 1700 δ13C observations of the benthic foraminifera genus Cibicides from late Holocene sediments (δ13CCibnat) are compiled and compared with newly updated estimates of the natural (preindustrial) water column δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon (δ13CDICnat) as part of the international Ocean Circulation and Carbon Cycling (OC3) project. Using selection criteria based on the spatial distance between samples, we find high correlation between δ13CCibnat and δ13CDICnat, confirming earlier work. Regression analyses indicate significant carbonate ion (−2.6 ± 0.4) × 10−3‰/(μmol kg−1) [CO32−] and pressure (−4.9 ± 1.7) × 10−5‰ m−1 (depth) effects, which we use to propose a new global calibration for predicting δ13CDICnat from δ13CCibnat. This calibration is shown to remove some systematic regional biases and decrease errors compared with the one-to-one relationship (δ13CDICnat = δ13CCibnat). However, these effects and the error reductions are relatively small, which suggests that most conclusions from previous studies using a one-to-one relationship remain robust. The remaining standard error of the regression is generally σ ≅ 0.25‰, with larger values found in the southeast Atlantic and Antarctic (σ ≅ 0.4‰) and for species other than Cibicides wuellerstorfi. Discussion of species effects and possible sources of the remaining errors may aid future attempts to improve the use of the benthic δ13C record.

Continue reading ‘Calibration of the carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of benthic foraminifera’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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