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Venti, A, Andersson A, Langdon C.  2014.  Multiple driving factors explain spatial and temporal variability in coral calcification rates on the Bermuda platform. Coral Reefs. 33:979-997.   10.1007/s00338-014-1191-9   AbstractWebsite

Experimental studies have shown that coral calcification rates are dependent on light, nutrients, food availability, temperature, and seawater aragonite saturation (Omega (arag)), but the relative importance of each parameter in natural settings remains uncertain. In this study, we applied Calcein fluorescent dyes as time indicators within the skeleton of coral colonies (n = 3) of Porites astreoides and Diploria strigosa at three study sites distributed across the northern Bermuda coral reef platform. We evaluated the correlation between seasonal average growth rates based on coral density and extension rates with average temperature, light, and seawater Omega (arag) in an effort to decipher the relative importance of each parameter. The results show significant seasonal differences among coral calcification rates ranging from summer maximums of 243 +/- A 58 and 274 +/- A 57 mmol CaCO3 m(-2) d(-1) to winter minimums of 135 +/- A 39 and 101 +/- A 34 mmol CaCO3 m(-2) d(-1) for P. astreoides and D. strigosa, respectively. We also placed small coral colonies (n = 10) in transparent chambers and measured the instantaneous rate of calcification under light and dark treatments at the same study sites. The results showed that the skeletal growth of D. strigosa and P. astreoides, whether hourly or seasonal, was highly sensitive to Omega (arag). We believe this high sensitivity, however, is misleading, due to covariance between light and Omega (arag), with the former being the strongest driver of calcification variability. For the seasonal data, we assessed the impact that the observed seasonal differences in temperature (4.0 A degrees C), light (5.1 mol photons m(-2) d(-1)), and Omega (arag) (0.16 units) would have on coral growth rates based on established relationships derived from laboratory studies and found that they could account for approximately 44, 52, and 5 %, respectively, of the observed seasonal change of 81 +/- A 14 mmol CaCO3 m(-2) d(-1). Using short-term light and dark incubations, we show how the covariance of light and Omega (arag) can lead to the false conclusion that calcification is more sensitive to Omega (arag) than it really is.

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.

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.

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.

Paulsen, ML, Andersson AJ, Aluwihare L, Cyronak T, D'Angelo S, Davidson C, Elwany H, Giddings SN, Page HN, Porrachia M, Schroeter S.  2018.  Temporal changes in seawater carbonate chemistry and carbon export from a Southern California estuary. Estuaries and Coasts. 41:1050-1068.   10.1007/s12237-017-0345-8   AbstractWebsite

Estuaries are important subcomponents of the coastal ocean, but knowledge about the temporal and spatial variability of their carbonate chemistry, as well as their contribution to coastal and global carbon fluxes, are limited. In the present study, we measured the temporal and spatial variability of biogeochemical parameters in a saltmarsh estuary in Southern California, the San Dieguito Lagoon (SDL). We also estimated the flux of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total organic carbon (TOC) to the adjacent coastal ocean over diel and seasonal timescales. The combined net flux of DIC and TOC (FDIC + TOC) to the ocean during outgoing tides ranged from - 1.8 +/- 0.5 x 10(3) to 9.5 +/- 0.7 x 10(3) mol C h(-1) during baseline conditions. Based on these fluxes, a rough estimate of the net annual export of DIC and TOC totaled 10 +/- 4 x 10(6) mol C year(-1). Following a major rain event (36 mm rain in 3 days), FDIC + TOC increased and reached values as high as 29.0 +/- 0.7 x 10(3) mol C h(-1). Assuming a hypothetical scenario of three similar storm events in a year, our annual net flux estimate more than doubled to 25 +/- 4 x 10(6) mol C year(-1). These findings highlight the importance of assessing coastal carbon fluxes on different timescales and incorporating event scale variations in these assessments. Furthermore, for most of the observations elevated levels of total alkalinity (TA) and pH were observed at the estuary mouth relative to the coastal ocean. This suggests that SDL partly buffers against acidification of adjacent coastal surface waters, although the spatial extent of this buffering is likely small.