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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.

Eyre, BD, Cyronak T, Drupp P, DeCarlo EH, Sachs JP, Andersson AJ.  2018.  Coral reefs will transition to net dissolving before end of century. Science. 359:908-911.   10.1126/science.aao1118   AbstractWebsite

Ocean acidification refers to the lowering of the ocean's pH due to the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 from the atmosphere. Coral reef calcification is expected to decrease as the oceans become more acidic. Dissolving calciumcarbonate (CaCO3) sands could greatly exacerbate reef loss associated with reduced calcification but is presently poorly constrained. Here we show that CaCO3 dissolution in reef sediments across five globally distributed sites is negatively correlated with the aragonite saturation state (War) of overlying seawater and that CaCO3 sediment dissolution is 10-fold more sensitive to ocean acidification than coral calcification. Consequently, reef sediments globally will transition from net precipitation to net dissolution when seawater War reaches 2.92 +/- 0.16 (expected circa 2050 CE). Notably, some reefs are already experiencing net sediment dissolution.

Zablocki, JA, Andersson AJ, Bates NR.  2011.  Diel Aquatic CO(2) System Dynamics of a Bermudian Mangrove Environment. Aquatic Geochemistry. 17:841-859.   10.1007/s10498-011-9142-3   AbstractWebsite

Mangrove ecosystems play an important, but understudied, role in the cycling of carbon in tropical and subtropical coastal ocean environments. In the present study, we examined the diel dynamics of seawater carbon dioxide (CO(2)) and dissolved oxygen (DO) for a mangrove-dominated marine ecosystem (Mangrove Bay) and an adjacent intracoastal waterway (Ferry Reach) on the island of Bermuda. Spatial and temporal trends in seawater carbonate chemistry and associated variables were assessed from direct measurements of dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature, and salinity. Diel pCO(2) variability was interpolated across hourly wind speed measurements to determine variability in daily CO(2) fluxes for the month of October 2007 in Bermuda. From these observations, we estimated rates of net sea to air CO(2) exchange for these two coastal ecosystems at 59.8 +/- 17.3 in Mangrove Bay and 5.5 +/- 1.3 mmol m(-2) d(-1) in Ferry Reach. These results highlight the potential for large differences in carbonate system functioning and sea-air CO(2) flux in adjacent coastal environments. In addition, observation of large diel variability in CO(2) system parameters (e.g., mean pCO(2): 390-2,841 mu atm; mean pH(T): 8.05-7.34) underscores the need for careful consideration of diel cycles in long-term sampling regimes and flux estimates.

Courtney, TA, Lebrato M, Bates NR, Collins A, de Putron SJ, Garley R, Johnson R, Molinero JC, Noyes TJ, Sabine CL, Andersson AJ.  2017.  Environmental controls on modern scleractinian coral and reef-scale calcification. Science Advances. 3   10.1126/sciadv.1701356   AbstractWebsite

Modern reef-building corals sustain a wide range of ecosystem services because of their ability to build calcium carbonate reef systems. The influence of environmental variables on coral calcification rates has been extensively studied, but our understanding of their relative importance is limited by the absence of in situ observations and the ability to decouple the interactions between different properties. We show that temperature is the primary driver of coral colony (Porites astreoides and Diploria labyrinthiformis) and reef-scale calcification rates over a 2-year monitoring period from the Bermuda coral reef. On the basis of multimodel climate simulations (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) and assuming sufficient coral nutrition, our results suggest that P. astreoides and D. labyrinthiformis coral calcification rates in Bermuda could increase throughout the 21st century as a result of gradual warming predicted under a minimum CO2 emissions pathway [ representative concentration pathway (RCP) 2.6] with positive 21st-century calcification rates potentially maintained under a reduced CO2 emissions pathway (RCP 4.5). These results highlight the potential benefits of rapid reductions in global anthropogenic CO2 emissions for 21st-century Bermuda coral reefs and the ecosystem services they provide.

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.

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.

Andersson, AJ, Krug LA, Bates NR, Doney SC.  2013.  Sea-air CO2 flux in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre: Role and influence of Sub-Tropical Mode Water formation. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 91:57-70.   10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.02.022   AbstractWebsite

The uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into the mid-latitudes of the North Atlantic Ocean through the production of wintertime Sub-Tropical Mode Water (STMW) also known as Eighteen Degree Water (EDW) is poorly quantified and constrained. Nonetheless, it has been proposed that the EDW could serve as an important short-term sink of anthropogenic CO2. The objective of the present investigation was to determine sea-air CO2 gas exchange rates and seawater CO2 dynamics during wintertime formation of EDW in the North Atlantic Ocean. During 2006 and 2007, several research cruises were undertaken as part of the CLIMODE project across the northwest Atlantic Ocean with the intent to study the pre-conditioning, formation, and the evolution of EDW. Sea-air CO2 exchange rates were calculated based on measurements of atmospheric pCO(2), surface seawater pCO(2) and wind speed with positive values denoting a net flux from the surface ocean to the atmosphere. Average sea-air CO2 flux calculated along cruise tracks in the formation region equaled -18 +/- 6 mmol CO2 m(-2) d(-1) and -14 +/- 9 mmol CO2 m(-2) d(-1) in January of 2006 and March of 2007, respectively. Average sea-air CO2 flux in newly formed outcropping EDW in February and March of 2007 equaled -28 +/- 10 mmol CO2 m(-2) d(-1). These estimates exceeded previous flux estimates in this region by 40-185%. The magnitude of CO2 flux was mainly controlled by the observed variability in wind speed and Delta pCO(2) with smaller changes owing to variability in sea surface temperature. Small but statistically significant difference (4.1 +/- 2.6 mu mol kg(-1)) in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) was observed in two occurrences of newly formed EDW in February and March of 2007. This difference was explained either by differences in the relative contribution from different water masses involved in the initial formation process of EDW or temporal changes owing to sea-air CO2 exchange (similar to 25%) and vertical and/or lateral mixing (similar to 75%) with water masses high in DIC from the cold side of the Gulf Stream and/or from below the permanent thermocline. Based on the present estimate of sea-air CO2 flux in newly formed EDW and a formation rate of 9.3 Sv y (Sverdrup year = 10(6) m(3) s(-1) flow sustained for 1 year), CO2 uptake by newly formed EDW may constitute 3-6% of the total North Atlantic CO2 sink. However, advection of surface waters that carry an elevated burden of anthropogenic CO2 that are transported to the formation region and transformed to mode water may contribute additional CO2 to the total net uptake and sequestration of anthropogenic CO2 to the ocean interior. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Yeakel, KL, Andersson AJ, Bates NR, Noyes TJ, Collins A, Garley R.  2015.  Shifts in coral reef biogeochemistry and resulting acidification linked to offshore productivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112:14512-14517.   10.1073/pnas.1507021112   AbstractWebsite

Oceanic uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) has acidified open-ocean surface waters by 0.1 pH units since preindustrial times. Despite unequivocal evidence of ocean acidification (OA) via open-ocean measurements for the past several decades, it has yet to be documented in near-shore and coral reef environments. A lack of long-term measurements from these environments restricts our understanding of the natural variability and controls of seawater CO2-carbonate chemistry and biogeochemistry, which is essential to make accurate predictions on the effects of future OA on coral reefs. Here, in a 5-y study of the Bermuda coral reef, we show evidence that variations in reef biogeochemical processes drive interannual changes in seawater pH and Omega(aragonite) that are partly controlled by offshore processes. Rapid acidification events driven by shifts toward increasing net calcification and net heterotrophy were observed during the summers of 2010 and 2011, with the frequency and extent of such events corresponding to increased offshore productivity. These events also coincided with a negative winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index, which historically has been associated with extensive offshore mixing and greater primary productivity at the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) site. Our results reveal that coral reefs undergo natural interannual events of rapid acidification due to shifts in reef biogeochemical processes that may be linked to offshore productivity and ultimately controlled by larger-scale climatic and oceanographic processes.

Andersson, AJ, Mackenzie FT, Ver LM.  2003.  Solution of shallow-water carbonates: An insignificant buffer against rising atmospheric CO2. Geology. 31:513-516.   10.1130/0091-7613(2003)031<0513:soscai>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Model predictions suggest that the saturation state of surface ocean waters with respect to carbonate minerals will decline during the twenty-first century owing to increased invasion of atmospheric CO2. As a result, calcareous organisms may have difficulty calcifying, leading to production of weaker skeletons and greater vulnerability to erosion. Alternatively, it has been suggested that there will be no significant impact on coral reef ecosystems because any changes in saturation state and pH will be restored by dissolution of metastable carbonate minerals. To resolve this controversy, we employ a physical-biogeochemical box model representative of the shallow-water ocean environment. Numerical simulations demonstrate that the carbonate saturation state of surface waters could significantly decrease and hamper the biogenic production of CaCO3 during the twenty-first century. Similarly, the average saturation state of marine pore waters could decline significantly, inducing dissolution of metastable carbonate phases within the pore-water-sediment system. Such dissolution could buffer the carbon chemistry of the pore waters, but overlying surface waters of reefs and other shallow-water carbonate environments will not accumulate sufficient alkalinity to buffer pH or carbonate saturation state changes owing to invasion of atmospheric CO2.

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.