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2019
Sutton, AJ, Feely RA, Maenner-Jones S, Musielwicz S, Osborne J, Dietrich C, Monacci N, Cross J, Bott R, Kozyr A, Andersson AJ, Bates NR, Cai WJ, Cronin MF, DeCarlo EH, Hales B, Howden SD, Lee CM, Manzello DP, McPhaden MJ, Melendez M, Mickett JB, Newton JA, Noakes SE, Noh JH, Olafsdottir SR, Salisbury JE, Send U, Trull TW, Vandemark DC, Weller RA.  2019.  Autonomous seawater pCO(2) and pH time series from 40 surface buoys and the emergence of anthropogenic trends. Earth System Science Data. 11:421-439.   10.5194/essd-11-421-2019   AbstractWebsite

Ship-based time series, some now approaching over 3 decades long, are critical climate records that have dramatically improved our ability to characterize natural and anthropogenic drivers of ocean carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake and biogeochemical processes. Advancements in autonomous marine carbon sensors and technologies over the last 2 decades have led to the expansion of observations at fixed time series sites, thereby improving the capability of characterizing sub-seasonal variability in the ocean. Here, we present a data product of 40 individual autonomous moored surface ocean pCO(2) (partial pressure of CO2) time series established between 2004 and 2013, 17 also include autonomous pH measurements. These time series characterize a wide range of surface ocean carbonate conditions in different oceanic (17 sites), coastal (13 sites), and coral reef (10 sites) regimes. A time of trend emergence (ToE) methodology applied to the time series that exhibit well-constrained daily to interannual variability and an estimate of decadal variability indicates that the length of sustained observations necessary to detect statistically significant anthropogenic trends varies by marine environment. The ToE estimates for seawater pCO(2) and pH range from 8 to 15 years at the open ocean sites, 16 to 41 years at the coastal sites, and 9 to 22 years at the coral reef sites. Only two open ocean pCO(2) time series, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Hawaii Ocean Time-series Station (WHOTS) in the subtropical North Pacific and Stratus in the South Pacific gyre, have been deployed longer than the estimated trend detection time and, for these, deseasoned monthly means show estimated anthropogenic trends of 1.9 +/- 0.3 and 1.6 +/- 0.3 mu atm yr(-1), respectively. In the future, it is possible that updates to this product will allow for the estimation of anthropogenic trends at more sites; however, the product currently provides a valuable tool in an accessible format for evaluating climatology and natural variability of surface ocean carbonate chemistry in a variety of regions. Data are available at https.//doi. org/10.7289/V5DB8043 and https.//www.nodc.noaa.gov/ocads/oceans/Moorings/ndp097.html (Sutton et al., 2018).

2018
Guest, JR, Edmunds PJ, Gates RD, Kuffner IB, Andersson AJ, Barnes BB, Chollett I, Courtney TA, Elahi R, Gross K, Lenz EA, Mitarai S, Mumby PJ, Nelson HR, Parker BA, Putnam HM, Rogers CS, Toth LT.  2018.  A framework for identifying and characterising coral reef "oases" against a backdrop of degradation. Journal of Applied Ecology. 55:2865-2875.   10.1111/1365-2664.13179   AbstractWebsite

1. Human activities have led to widespread ecological decline; however, the severity of degradation is spatially heterogeneous due to some locations resisting, escaping, or rebounding from disturbances. 2. We developed a framework for identifying oases within coral reef regions using long-term monitoring data. We calculated standardised estimates of coral cover (z-scores) to distinguish sites that deviated positively from regional means. We also used the coefficient of variation (CV) of coral cover to quantify how oases varied temporally, and to distinguish among types of oases. We estimated "coral calcification capacity" (CCC), a measure of the coral community's ability to produce calcium carbonate structures and tested for an association between this metric and z-scores of coral cover. 3. We illustrated our z-score approach within a modelling framework by extracting z-scores and CVs from simulated data based on four generalized trajectories of coral cover. We then applied the approach to time-series data from long-term reef monitoring programmes in four focal regions in the Pacific (the main Hawaiian Islands and Mo'orea, French Polynesia) and western Atlantic (the Florida Keys and St. John, US Virgin Islands). Among the 123 sites analysed, 38 had positive z-scores for median coral cover and were categorised as oases. 4. Synthesis and applications. Our framework provides ecosystem managers with a valuable tool for conservation by identifying "oases" within degraded areas. By evaluating trajectories of change in state (e.g., coral cover) among oases, our approach may help in identifying the mechanisms responsible for spatial variability in ecosystem condition. Increased mechanistic understanding can guide whether management of a particular location should emphasise protection, mitigation or restoration. Analysis of the empirical data suggest that the majority of our coral reef oases originated by either escaping or resisting disturbances, although some sites showed a high capacity for recovery, while others were candidates for restoration. Finally, our measure of reef condition (i.e., median z-scores of coral cover) correlated positively with coral calcification capacity suggesting that our approach identified oases that are also exceptional for one critical component of ecological function.

Sato, KN, Andersson AJ, Day JMD, Taylor JRA, Frank MB, Jung JY, McKittrick J, Levin LA.  2018.  Response of sea urchin fitness traits to environmental gradients across the Southern California oxygen minimum zone. Frontiers in Marine Science. 5   10.3389/fmars.2018.00258   AbstractWebsite

Marine calcifiers are considered to be among the most vulnerable taxa to climate-forced environmental changes occurring on continental margins with effects hypothesized to occur on microstructural, biomechanical, and geochemical properties of carbonate structures. Natural gradients in temperature, salinity, oxygen, and pH on an upwelling margin combined with the broad depth distribution (100-1,100 m) of the pink fragile sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus (formerly Allocentrotus) fragilis, along the southern California shelf and slope provide an ideal system to evaluate potential effects of multiple climate variables on carbonate structures in situ. We measured, for the first time, trait variability across four distinct depth zones using natural gradients as analogues for species-specific implications of oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) expansion, deoxygenation and ocean acidification. Although S. fragilis may likely be tolerant of future oxygen and pH decreases predicted during the twenty-first century, we determine from adults collected across multiple depth zones that urchin size and potential reproductive fitness (gonad index) are drastically reduced in the OMZ core (450-900 m) compared to adjacent zones. Increases in porosity and mean pore size coupled with decreases in mechanical nanohardness and stiffness of the calcitic endoskeleton in individuals collected from lower pH(Total) (7.57-7.59) and lower dissolved oxygen (13-42 mu mol kg(-1)) environments suggest that S. fragilis may be potentially vulnerable to crushing predators if these conditions become more widespread in the future. In addition, elemental composition indicates that S. fragilis has a skeleton composed of the low Mg-calcite mineral phase of calcium carbonate (mean Mg/Ca = 0.02 mol mol(-1)), with Mg/Ca values measured in the lower end of values reported for sea urchins known to date. Together these findings suggest that ongoing declines in oxygen and pH will likely affect the ecology and fitness of a dominant echinoid on the California margin.

Cyronak, T, Andersson AJ, D'Angelo S, Bresnahan P, Davidson C, Griffin A, Kindeberg T, Pennise J, Takeshita Y, White M.  2018.  Short-term spatial and temporal carbonate chemistry variability in two contrasting seagrass meadows: Implications for pH buffering capacities. Estuaries and Coasts. 41:1282-1296.   10.1007/s12237-017-0356-5   AbstractWebsite

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 (Omega(a)) 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 km(2)) 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 Delta pH = 0.08 +/- 0.08; diel Delta pH = 0.12 +/- 0.01; mean +/- SD) had a greater average range in both temporal and spatial seawater chemistry than Bailey's Bay (spatial Delta pH = 0.02 +/- 0.01; diel Delta pH = 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.

Takeshita, Y, Cyronak T, Martz TR, Kindeberg T, Andersson AJ.  2018.  Coral reef carbonate chemistry variability at different functional scales. Frontiers in Marine Science. 5   10.3389/fmars.2018.00175   AbstractWebsite

There is a growing recognition for the need to understand how seawater carbonate chemistry over coral reef environments will change in a high-CO2 world to better assess the impacts of ocean acidification on these valuable ecosystems. Coral reefs modify overlying water column chemistry through biogeochemical processes such as net community organic carbon production (NCR) and calcification (NCC). However, the relative importance and influence of these processes on seawater carbonate chemistry vary across multiple functional scales (defined here as space, time, and benthic community composition), and have not been fully constrained. Here, we use Bermuda as a case study to assess (1) spatiotemporal variability in physical and chemical parameters along a depth gradient at a rim reef location, (2) the spatial variability of total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) over distinct benthic habitats to infer NCC:NCP ratios [< several km(2); rim reef vs. seagrass and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) sediments] on diel timescales, and (3) compare how TA-DIC relationships and NCC:NCP vary as we expand functional scales from local habitats to the entire reef platform (10's of km(2)) on seasonal to interannual timescales. Our results demonstrate that TA-DIC relationships were strongly driven by local benthic metabolism and community composition over diel cycles. However, as the spatial scale expanded to the reef platform, the TA-DIC relationship reflected processes that were integrated over larger spatiotemporal scales, with effects of NCC becoming increasingly more important over NCR. This study demonstrates the importance of considering drivers across multiple functional scales to constrain carbonate chemistry variability over coral reefs.

Cyronak, T, Andersson AJ, Langdon C, Albright R, Bates NR, Caldeira K, Carlton R, Corredor JE, Dunbar RB, Enochs I, Erez J, Eyre BD, Gattuso JP, Gledhill D, Kayanne H, Kline DI, Koweek DA, Lantz C, Lazar B, Manzello D, McMahon A, Melendez M, Page HN, Santos IR, Schulz KG, Shaw E, Silverman J, Suzuki A, Teneva L, Watanabe A, Yamamoto S.  2018.  Taking the metabolic pulse of the world's coral reefs. Plos One. 13   10.1371/journal.pone.0190872   AbstractWebsite

Worldwide, coral reef ecosystems are experiencing increasing pressure from a variety of anthropogenic perturbations including ocean warming and acidification, increased sedimentation, eutrophication, and overfishing, which could shift reefs to a condition of net calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution and erosion. Herein, we determine the net calcification potential and the relative balance of net organic carbon metabolism (net community production; NCP) and net inorganic carbon metabolism (net community calcification; NCC) within 23 coral reef locations across the globe. In light of these results, we consider the suitability of using these two metrics developed from total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) measurements collected on different spatiotemporal scales to monitor coral reef biogeochemistry under anthropogenic change. All reefs in this study were net calcifying for the majority of observations as inferred from alkalinity depletion relative to offshore, although occasional observations of net dissolution occurred at most locations. However, reefs with lower net calcification potential (i.e., lower TA depletion) could shift towards net dissolution sooner than reefs with a higher potential. The percent influence of organic carbon fluxes on total changes in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) (i.e., NCP compared to the sum of NCP and NCC) ranged from 32% to 88% and reflected inherent biogeochemical differences between reefs. Reefs with the largest relative percentage of NCP experienced the largest variability in seawater pH for a given change in DIC, which is directly related to the reefs ability to elevate or suppress local pH relative to the open ocean. This work highlights the value of measuring coral reef carbonate chemistry when evaluating their susceptibility to ongoing global environmental change and offers a baseline from which to guide future conservation efforts aimed at preserving these valuable ecosystems.

2016
Courtney, TA, Andersson AJ, Bates NR, Collins A, Cyronak T, de Putron SJ, Eyre BD, Garley R, Hochberg EJ, Johnson R, Musielewicz S, Noyes TJ, Sabine CL, Sutton AJ, Toncin J, Tribollet A.  2016.  Comparing chemistry and census-based estimates of net ecosystem calcification on a rim reef in Bermuda. Frontiers in Marine Science. 3   10.3389/fmars.2016.00181   Abstract

Coral reef net ecosystem calcification (NEC) has decreased for many Caribbean reefs over recent decades primarily due to a combination of declining coral cover and changing benthic community composition. Chemistry-based approaches to calculate NEC utilize the drawdown of seawater total alkalinity (TA) combined with residence time to calculate an instantaneous measurement of NEC. Census-based approaches combine annual growth rates with benthic cover and reef structural complexity to estimate NEC occurring over annual timescales. Here, NEC was calculated for Hog Reef in Bermuda using both chemistry and census-based NEC techniques to compare the mass-balance generated by the two methods and identify the dominant biocalcifiers at Hog Reef. Our findings indicate close agreement between the annual 2011 census-based NEC 2.35±1.01 kg CaCO3•m-2•y-1 and the chemistry-based NEC 2.23±1.02 kg CaCO3•m-2•y-1 at Hog Reef. An additional record of Hog Reef TA data calculated from an autonomous CO2 mooring measuring pCO2 and modeled pHtotal every 3-hours highlights the dynamic temporal variability in coral reef NEC. This ability for chemistry-based NEC techniques to capture higher frequency variability in coral reef NEC allows the mechanisms driving NEC variability to be explored and tested. Just four coral species, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Pseudodiploria strigosa, Millepora alcicornis, and Orbicella franksi, were identified by the census-based NEC as contributing to 94±19% of the total calcium carbonate production at Hog Reef suggesting these species should be highlighted for conservation to preserve current calcium carbonate production rates at Hog Reef. As coral cover continues to decline globally, the agreement between these NEC estimates suggest that either method, but ideally both methods, may serve as a useful tool for coral reef managers and conservation scientists to monitor the maintenance of coral reef structure and ecosystem services.

Lebrato, M, Andersson AJ, Ries JB, Aronson RB, Lamare MD, Koeve W, Oschlies A, Iglesias-Rodriguez MD, Thatje S, Amsler M, Vos SC, Jones DOB, Ruhl HA, Gates AR, McClintock JB.  2016.  Benthic marine calcifiers coexist with CaCO3-undersaturated seawater worldwide. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 30:1038-1053.   10.1002/2015GB005260   Abstract

Ocean acidification and decreasing seawater saturation state with respect to calcium carbonate (CaCO3) minerals have raised concerns about the consequences to marine organisms that build CaCO3 structures. A large proportion of benthic marine calcifiers incorporate Mg2+ into their skeletons (Mg-calcite), which, in general, reduces mineral stability. The relative vulnerability of some marine calcifiers to ocean acidification appears linked to the relative solubility of their shell or skeletal mineralogy, although some organisms have sophisticated mechanisms for constructing and maintaining their CaCO3 structures causing deviation from this dependence. Nevertheless, few studies consider seawater saturation state with respect to the actual Mg-calcite mineralogy (ΩMg-x) of a species when evaluating the effect of ocean acidification on that species. Here, a global dataset of skeletal mole % MgCO3 of benthic calcifiers and in situ environmental conditions spanning a depth range of 0 m (subtidal/neritic) to 5600 m (abyssal) was assembled to calculate in situ ΩMg-x. This analysis shows that 24% of the studied benthic calcifiers currently experience seawater mineral undersaturation (ΩMg-x < 1). As a result of ongoing anthropogenic ocean acidification over the next 200 to 3000 years, the predicted decrease in seawater mineral saturation will expose approximately 57% of all studied benthic calcifying species to seawater undersaturation. These observations reveal a surprisingly high proportion of benthic marine calcifiers exposed to seawater that is undersaturated with respect to their skeletal mineralogy, underscoring the importance of using species-specific seawater mineral saturation states when investigating the impact of CO2-induced ocean acidification on benthic marine calcification.

Edmunds, PJ, Comeau S, Lantz C, Andersson A, Briggs C, Cohen A, Gattuso JP, Grady JM, Gross K, Johnson M, Muller EB, Ries JB, Tambutte S, Tambutte E, Venn A, Carpenter RC.  2016.  Integrating the effects of ocean acidification across functional scales on tropical coral reefs. Bioscience. 66:350-362.   10.1093/biosci/biw023   AbstractWebsite

There are concerns about the future of coral reefs in the face of ocean acidification and warming, and although studies of these phenomena have advanced quickly, efforts have focused on pieces of the puzzle rather than integrating them to evaluate ecosystem-level effects. The field is now poised to begin this task, but there are information gaps that first must be overcome before progress can be made. Many of these gaps focus on calcification at the levels of cells, organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystem, and their closure will be made difficult by the complexity of the interdependent processes by which coral reefs respond to ocean acidification, with effects scaling from cells to ecosystems and from microns to kilometers. Existing ecological theories provide an important and largely untapped resource for overcoming these difficulties, and they offer great potential for integrating the effects of ocean acidification across scales on coral reefs.

2014
Parson, RJ, Nelson CA, Carlson CA, Denman CC, Andersson AJ, Kledzik AL, Vergin KL, McNally SP, Treusch AH, Giovannoni SJ.  2014.  Marine bacterioplankton community turnover within seasonally hypoxic waters of a subtropical sound: Devil’s Hole, Bermuda. Environmental Microbiology.   10.1111/1462-2920.12445   Abstract

Understanding bacterioplankton community dynamics in coastal hypoxic environments is relevant to global biogeochemistry because coastal hypoxia is increasing worldwide. The temporal dynamics of bacterioplankton communities were analysed throughout the illuminated water column of Devil's Hole, Bermuda during the 6-week annual transition from a strongly stratified water column with suboxic and high-pCO2 bottom waters to a fully mixed and ventilated state during 2008. A suite of culture-independent methods provided a quantitative spatiotemporal characterization of bacterioplankton community changes, including both direct counts and rRNA gene sequencing. During stratification, the surface waters were dominated by the SAR11 clade of Alphaproteobacteria and the cyanobacterium Synechococcus. In the suboxic bottom waters, cells from the order Chlorobiales prevailed, with gene sequences indicating members of the genera Chlorobium and Prosthecochloris – anoxygenic photoautotrophs that utilize sulfide as a source of electrons for photosynthesis. Transitional zones of hypoxia also exhibited elevated levels of methane- and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria relative to the overlying waters. The abundance of both Thaumarcheota and Euryarcheota were elevated in the suboxic bottom waters (> 109 cells l−1). Following convective mixing, the entire water column returned to a community typical of oxygenated waters, with Euryarcheota only averaging 5% of cells, and Chlorobiales and Thaumarcheota absent.

Andersson, AJ.  2014.  The oceanic CaCO3 cycle. Treatise on Geochemistry. Vol. 8( Holland HD, Turekian KK, Eds.)., Oxford: Elsevier   10.1016/B978-0-08-095975-7.00619-7  
2013
Regnier, P, Friedlingstein P, Ciais P, Mackenzie FT, Gruber N, Janssens IA, Laruelle GG, Lauerwald R, Luyssaert S, Andersson AJ, Arndt S, Arnosti C, Borges AV, Dale AW, Gallego-Sala A, Godderis Y, Goossens N, Hartmann J, Heinze C, Ilyina T, Joos F, LaRowe DE, Leifeld J, Meysman FJR, Munhoven G, Raymond PA, Spahni R, Suntharalingam P, Thullner M.  2013.  Anthropogenic perturbation of the carbon fluxes from land to ocean. Nature Geoscience. 6:597-607.   10.1038/ngeo1830   AbstractWebsite

A substantial amount of the atmospheric carbon taken up on land through photosynthesis and chemical weathering is transported laterally along the aquatic continuum from upland terrestrial ecosystems to the ocean. So far, global carbon budget estimates have implicitly assumed that the transformation and lateral transport of carbon along this aquatic continuum has remained unchanged since pre-industrial times. A synthesis of published work reveals the magnitude of present-day lateral carbon fluxes from land to ocean, and the extent to which human activities have altered these fluxes. We show that anthropogenic perturbation may have increased the flux of carbon to inland waters by as much as 1.0 Pg C yr(-1) since pre-industrial times, mainly owing to enhanced carbon export from soils. Most of this additional carbon input to upstream rivers is either emitted back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (similar to 0.4 Pg C yr(-1)) or sequestered in sediments (similar to 0.5 Pg C yr(-1)) along the continuum of freshwater bodies, estuaries and coastal waters, leaving only a perturbation carbon input of similar to 0.1 Pg C yr(-1) to the open ocean. According to our analysis, terrestrial ecosystems store similar to 0.9 Pg C yr(-1) at present, which is in agreement with results from forest inventories but significantly differs from the figure of 1.5 Pg C yr(-1) previously estimated when ignoring changes in lateral carbon fluxes. We suggest that carbon fluxes along the land-ocean aquatic continuum need to be included in global carbon dioxide budgets.

Anthony, KRN, Diaz-Pulido G, Verlinden N, Tilbrook B, Andersson AJ.  2013.  Benthic buffers and boosters of ocean acidification on coral reefs. Biogeosciences. 10:4897-4909.   10.5194/bg-10-4897-2013   AbstractWebsite

Ocean acidification is a threat to marine ecosystems globally. In shallow-water systems, however, ocean acidification can be masked by benthic carbon fluxes, depending on community composition, seawater residence time, and the magnitude and balance of net community production (NCP) and calcification (NCC). Here, we examine how six benthic groups from a coral reef environment on Heron Reef (Great Barrier Reef, Australia) contribute to changes in the seawater aragonite saturation state (Omega(a)). Results of flume studies using intact reef habitats (1.2m by 0.4 m), showed a hierarchy of responses across groups, depending on CO2 level, time of day and water flow. At low CO2 (350-450 mu atm), macroalgae (Chnoospora implexa), turfs and sand elevated Omega(a) of the flume water by around 0.10 to 1.20 h(-1) - normalised to contributions from 1m(2) of benthos to a 1m deep water column. The rate of Omega(a) increase in these groups was doubled under acidification (560-700 mu atm) and high flow (35 compared to 8 cm s(-1)). In contrast, branching corals (Acropora aspera) increased Omega(a) by 0.25 h(-1) at ambient CO2 (350-450 mu atm) during the day, but reduced Omega(a) under acidification and high flow. Nighttime changes in Omega(a) by corals were highly negative (0.6-0.8 h(-1)) and exacerbated by acidification. Calcifying macroalgae (Halimeda spp.) raised Omega(a) by day (by around 0.13 h(-1)), but lowered Omega(a) by a similar or higher amount at night. Analyses of carbon flux contributions from benthic communities with four different compositions to the reef water carbon chemistry across Heron Reef flat and lagoon indicated that the net lowering of Omega(a) by coral-dominated areas can to some extent be countered by long water-residence times in neighbouring areas dominated by turfs, macroalgae and carbonate sand.

2009
Marshall, J, Andersson A, Bates N, Dewar W, Doney S, Edson J, Ferrari R, Forget G, Fratantoni D, Gregg M, Joyce T, Kelly K, Lozier S, Lumpkin R, Maze G, Palter J, Samelson R, Silverthorne K, Skyllingstad E, Straneo F, Talley L, Thomas L, Toole J, Weller R, Climode G.  2009.  The CLIMODE FIELD CAMPAIGN Observing the Cycle of Convection and Restratification over the Gulf Stream. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 90:1337-1350.   10.1175/2009bams2706.1   AbstractWebsite
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Andersson, AJ, Kuffner IB, Mackenzie FT, Jokiel PL, Rodgers KS, Tan A.  2009.  Net Loss of CaCO(3) from a subtropical calcifying community due to seawater acidification: mesocosm-scale experimental evidence. Biogeosciences. 6:1811-1823. AbstractWebsite

Acidification of seawater owing to oceanic uptake of atmospheric CO(2) originating from human activities such as burning of fossil fuels and land-use changes has raised serious concerns regarding its adverse effects on corals and calcifying communities. Here we demonstrate a net loss of calcium carbonate (CaCO(3)) material as a result of decreased calcification and increased carbonate dissolution from replicated subtropical coral reef communities (n=3) incubated in continuous-flow mesocosms subject to future seawater conditions. The calcifying community was dominated by the coral Montipora capitata. Daily average community calcification or Net Ecosystem Calcification (NEC=CaCO(3) production - dissolution) was positive at 3.3 mmol CaCO(3) m(-2) h(-1) under ambient seawater pCO(2) conditions as opposed to negative at -0.04 mmol CaCO(3) m(-2) h(-1) under seawater conditions of double the ambient pCO(2). These experimental results provide support for the conclusion that some net calcifying communities could become subject to net dissolution in response to anthropogenic ocean acidification within this century. Nevertheless, individual corals remained healthy, actively calcified (albeit slower than at present rates), and deposited significant amounts of CaCO(3) under the prevailing experimental seawater conditions of elevated pCO(2).