Posts Tagged 'sediment'



CO2 leakage simulation: effects of the pH decrease on fertilisation and larval development of Paracentrotus lividus and sediment metals toxicity

Carbon capture and storage has become a new mitigation option to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The effects of the CO2-related acidification, associated with unpredictable leaks of CO2 during the operational phases were studied using the Paracentrotus lividus sea urchin-liquid-phase-assays (fertilisation and embryo-larval development tests). Besides to the direct effects of the CO2-associated pH decrease, the possible effects on marine sediment toxicity were studied by exposing the urchin larvae to elutriate of sediments with different metals concentration, which were subjected to various pH treatments. The resulted median toxic effect pH ranged from 6.33 ± 0.02 and 6.91 ± 0.01 for the egg fertilisation, and between 6.66 ± 0.03 and 7.16 ± 0.01 for the larval development assays. Concentrations of Co, Zn, As, Cu, and Fe were detected in the sediment elutriates. For all the sediment elutriates tested the amount of the dissolved Zn increased in parallel with the pH reductions. Correlated effects of acidification, biological response, and the presence of dissolved metals were observed in this work evidencing that the most important factor controlling the reduction of egg fertilisation and larval development success was the combined effects of the reduction of pH and the presence of the contaminants (mainly Zn, Co, and As).

Continue reading ‘CO2 leakage simulation: effects of the pH decrease on fertilisation and larval development of Paracentrotus lividus and sediment metals toxicity’

Effects of CO2 enrichment on benthic primary production and inorganic nitrogen fluxes in two coastal sediments

Ocean acidification may alter the cycling of nitrogen in coastal sediment and so the sediment–seawater nitrogen flux, an important driver of pelagic productivity. To investigate how this perturbation affects the fluxes of NOX (nitrite/nitrate), NH4+ and O2, we incubated estuarine sand and subtidal silt in recirculating seawater with a CO2-adjusted pH of 8.1 and 7.9. During a 41-day incubation, the seawater kept at pH 8.1 lost 97% of its NOX content but the seawater kept at pH 7.9 lost only 18%. Excess CO2 increased benthic photosynthesis. In the silt, this was accompanied by a reversal of the initial NOX efflux into influx. The estuarine sand sustained its initial NOX influx but, by the end of the incubation, released more NH4+ at pH 7.9 than at pH 8.1. We hypothesise that these effects share a common cause; excess CO2 increased the growth of benthic microalgae and so nutrient competition with ammonia oxidising bacteria (AOB). In the silt, diatoms likely outcompeted AOB for NH4+ and photosynthesis increased the dark/light fluctuations in the pore water oxygenation inhibiting nitrification and coupled nitrification/denitrification. If this is correct, then excess CO2 may lead to retention of inorganic nitrogen adding to the pressures of increasing coastal eutrophication.

Continue reading ‘Effects of CO2 enrichment on benthic primary production and inorganic nitrogen fluxes in two coastal sediments’

Short-term spatial and temporal carbonate chemistry variability in two contrasting seagrass meadows: implications for pH buffering capacities

It has been hypothesized that highly productive coastal ecosystems, such as seagrass meadows, could lead to the establishment of ocean acidification (OA) refugia, or areas of elevated pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωa) compared to source seawater. However, seagrass ecosystems experience extreme variability in carbonate chemistry across short temporal and small spatial scales, which could impact the pH buffering capacity of these potential refugia. Herein, short-term (hourly to diel) and small-scale (across 0.01–0.14 km2) spatiotemporal carbonate chemistry variability was assessed within two seagrass meadows in order to determine their short-term potential to elevate seawater pH relative to source seawater. Two locations at similar latitudes were chosen in order to compare systems dominated by coarse calcium carbonate (Bailey’s Bay, Bermuda) and muddy silicate (Mission Bay, CA, USA) sediments. In both systems, spatial variability of pH across the seagrass meadow at any given time was often greater than diel variability (e.g., the average range over 24 h) at any one site, with greater spatial variability occurring at low tide in Mission Bay. Mission Bay (spatial ΔpH = 0.08 ± 0.08; diel ΔpH = 0.12 ± 0.01; mean ± SD) had a greater average range in both temporal and spatial seawater chemistry than Bailey’s Bay (spatial ΔpH = 0.02 ± 0.01; diel ΔpH = 0.03 ± 0.00; mean ± SD). These differences were most likely due to a combination of slower currents, a larger tidal range, and more favorable weather conditions for photosynthesis (e.g., sunny with no rain) in Mission Bay. In both systems, there was a substantial amount of time (usually at night) when seawater pH within the seagrass beds was lower relative to the source seawater. Future studies aimed at assessing the potential of seagrass ecosystems to act as OA refugia for marine organisms need to account for the small-scale, high-frequency carbonate chemistry variability in both space and time, as this variability will impact where and when OA will be buffered or intensified.

Continue reading ‘Short-term spatial and temporal carbonate chemistry variability in two contrasting seagrass meadows: implications for pH buffering capacities’

The distribution of benthic foraminifera in Bel Torrente submarine cave (Sardinia, Italy) and their environmental significance

Highlights

• Benthic foraminifera in Mediterranean submarine caves were studied for the first time.
• Ecological zones were recognized in the cave environment.
• Change of environmental parameters influence species diversity and distribution.
• Species in the cave are not common in the Sardinian marine coastal area.
• An effective dispersal mechanism is supposed for cave colonization.

Abstract

The use of benthic foraminifera as ecological indicators in submarine caves of temperate seas have never been studied before and it represents a new approach, verified by this research. The Bel Torrente submarine cave (Gulf of Orosei, Sardinia, Italy) was surveyed by GUE (Global Underwater Explorers) scuba divers in order to georeferencing the cave before positioning the sampling stations, from the entrance to 430 m inside the cave. A total of 15 water samples were collected to investigate abiotic parameters (temperature, salinity, pH) while 15 sediment samples were collected to analyze grain size and benthic foraminifera. Benthic foraminifera, investigated for the first time in a submarine cave of temperate areas, were exclusively found from the entrance to 300 m inside the cave. Species distribution and assemblage diversity have been found to be correlated to the environmental gradient towards the inner cave, mainly due to the decreasing of temperature and salinity and the increasing of the flow energy. Water acidification seems responsible for the transition from a calcareous hyaline-dominated assemblage to an agglutinant-dominated one, occurring between 120 and 150 m from the entrance. Common taxa of the Sardinian coastal marine area are present only close to the entrance of the cave, while species found in the inner part are nearly exclusively epifaunal clinging/attached or infaunal taxa, with tolerance for wide variability of environmental parameters, such as Gavelinopsis praegeri, and opportunist infaunal taxa such as Eggerella advena. The agglutinant taxa found in the cave are conversely very rare in coastal marine assemblages of the area. This suggests a very efficient dispersal mechanism for the colonization of the caves, involving probably juvenile foraminifera at a “propagule” stage.

Continue reading ‘The distribution of benthic foraminifera in Bel Torrente submarine cave (Sardinia, Italy) and their environmental significance’

Elevated toxic effect of sediments on growth of the harmful dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides under high CO2

Ocean acidification will likely have significant impacts on phytoplankton growth in marine ecosystems over the course of this century. Coastal waters, which can be strongly influenced by suspended sediments, can also be particularly sensitive to ocean acidification. While the individual effects of trace metal inputs and ocean acidification have each been well documented, the combined effects of high trace metal concentrations due to mobilization from sediments and high dissolved CO2 concentrations (low seawater pH) on the growth of marine phytoplankton are not known. In this study, a batch culture experiment was performed using the model organism Cochlodinium polykrikoides over 35 d under a range of CO2 concentrations (400, 800, and 1200 ppmv) following sediment additions. At high CO2, dissolved iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni) concentrations increased over time. Dissolved Ni concentrations were significantly higher after 35 d at 1200 ppmv CO2 compared to the other treatments and corresponded to significant decreases in C. polykrikoides growth rates. In addition, a toxicity bioassay experiment was performed over 29 d under a range of Ni or cadmium (Cd) concentrations at ambient CO2. The growth responses of C. polykrikoides were dose-dependent and were significantly lower under increasing Ni or Cd concentrations. The findings suggest that a combination of elevated total dissolved Ni supplied from sediments and high CO2 conditions could suppress the growth rates and photosynthesis of C. polykrikoides in coastal marine ecosystems. This is the first study to examine the synergistic, toxic effects of lithogenic trace metals and CO2 on phytoplankton growth.

Continue reading ‘Elevated toxic effect of sediments on growth of the harmful dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides under high CO2’

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’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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