Publications

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2011
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.

2010
Bates, NR, Amat A, Andersson AJ.  2010.  Feedbacks and responses of coral calcification on the Bermuda reef system to seasonal changes in biological processes and ocean acidification. Biogeosciences. 7:2509-2530.   10.5194/bg-7-2509-2010   AbstractWebsite

Despite the potential impact of ocean acidification on ecosystems such as coral reefs, surprisingly, there is very limited field data on the relationships between calcification and seawater carbonate chemistry. In this study, contemporaneous in situ datasets of seawater carbonate chemistry and calcification rates from the high-latitude coral reef of Bermuda over annual timescales provide a framework for investigating the present and future potential impact of rising carbon dioxide (CO(2)) levels and ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems in their natural environment. A strong correlation was found between the in situ rates of calcification for the major framework building coral species Diploria labyrinthiformis and the seasonal variability of [CO(3)(2-)] and aragonite saturation state Omega(aragonite), rather than other environmental factors such as light and temperature. These field observations provide sufficient data to hypothesize that there is a seasonal 'Carbonate Chemistry Coral Reef Ecosystem Feedback' (CREF hypothesis) between the primary components of the reef ecosystem (i.e., scleractinian hard corals and macroalgae) and seawater carbonate chemistry. In early summer, strong net autotrophy from benthic components of the reef system enhance [CO(3)(2-)] and Omega(aragonite) conditions, and rates of coral calcification due to the photosynthetic uptake of CO(2). In late summer, rates of coral calcification are suppressed by release of CO(2) from reef metabolism during a period of strong net heterotrophy. It is likely that this seasonal CREF mechanism is present in other tropical reefs although attenuated compared to high-latitude reefs such as Bermuda. Due to lower annual mean surface seawater [CO(3)(2-)] and Omega(aragonite) in Bermuda compared to tropical regions, we anticipate that Bermuda corals will experience seasonal periods of zero net calcification within the next decade at [CO(3)(2-)] and Omega(aragonite) thresholds of similar to 184 mu moles kg(-1) and 2.65. However, net autotrophy of the reef during winter and spring (as part of the CREF hypothesis) may delay the onset of zero NEC or decalcification going forward by enhancing [CO(3)(2-)] and Omega(aragonite). The Bermuda coral reef is one of the first responders to the negative impacts of ocean acidification, and we estimate that calcification rates for D. labyrinthiformis have declined by > 50% compared to pre-industrial times.

2009
Reid, PC, Fischer AC, Lewis-Brown E, Meredith MP, Sparrow M, Andersson AJ, Antia A, Bates NR, Bathmann U, Beaugrand G, Brix H, Dye S, Edwards M, Furevik T, Gangsto R, Hatun H, Hopcroft RR, Kendall M, Kasten S, Keeling R, Le Quere C, Mackenzie FT, Malin G, Mauritzen C, Olafsson J, Paull C, Rignot E, Shimada K, Vogt M, Wallace C, Wang ZM, Washington R.  2009.  Impacts of the Oceans on Climate Change. Advances in Marine Biology, Vol 56. 56( Sims DW, Ed.).:1-150., San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press Inc   10.1016/s0065-2881(09)56001-4   Abstract

The oceans play a key role in climate regulation especially in part buffering (neutralising) the effects of increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and rising global temperatures. This chapter examines how the regulatory processes performed by the oceans alter as a response to climate change and assesses the extent to which positive feedbacks from the ocean may exacerbate climate change. There is clear evidence for rapid change in the oceans. As the main heat store for the world there has been an accelerating change in sea temperatures over the last few decades, which has contributed to rising sea-level. The oceans are also the main store of carbon dioxide (CO(2)), and are estimated to have taken up similar to 40% of anthropogenic-sourced CO(2) from the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution. A proportion of the carbon uptake is exported via the four ocean 'carbon pumps' (Solubility, Biological, Continental Shelf and Carbonate Counter) to the deep ocean reservoir. Increases in sea temperature and changing planktonic systems and ocean currents may lead to a reduction in the uptake of CO(2) by the ocean; some evidence suggests a suppression of parts of the marine carbon sink is already underway. While the oceans have buffered climate change through the uptake of CO(2) produced by fossil fuel burning this has already had an impact on ocean chemistry through ocean acidification and will continue to do so. Feedbacks to climate change from acidification may result from expected impacts on marine organisms (especially corals and calcareous plankton), ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles. The polar regions of the world are showing the most rapid responses to climate change. As a result of a strong ice-ocean influence, small changes in temperature, salinity and ice cover may trigger large and sudden changes in regional climate with potential downstream feedbacks to the climate of the rest of the world. A warming Arctic Ocean may lead to further releases of the potent greenhouse gas methane from hydrates and permafrost. The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in driving, modifying and regulating global climate change via the carbon cycle and through its impact on adjacent Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula has shown some of the most rapid rises in atmospheric and oceanic temperature in the world, with an associated retreat of the majority of glaciers. Parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet are deflating rapidly, very likely due to a change in the flux of oceanic heat to the undersides of the floating ice shelves. The final section on modelling feedbacks from the ocean to climate change identifies limitations and priorities for model development and associated observations. Considering the importance of the oceans to climate change and our limited understanding of climate-related ocean processes, our ability to measure the changes that are taking place are conspicuously inadequate. The chapter highlights the need for a comprehensive, adequately funded and globally extensive ocean observing system to be implemented and sustained as a high priority. Unless feedbacks from the oceans to climate change are adequately included in climate change models, it is possible that the mitigation actions needed to stabilise CO(2) and limit temperature rise over the next century will be underestimated.

2007
Andersson, AJ, Bates NR, Mackenzie FT.  2007.  Dissolution of carbonate sediments under rising pCO(2) and ocean acidification: Observations from Devil's Hole, Bermuda. Aquatic Geochemistry. 13:237-264.   10.1007/s10498-007-9018-8   AbstractWebsite

Rising atmospheric pCO(2) and ocean acidification originating from human activities could result in increased dissolution of metastable carbonate minerals in shallow-water marine sediments. In the present study, in situ dissolution of carbonate sedimentary particles in Devil's Hole, Bermuda, was observed during summer when thermally driven density stratification restricted mixing between the bottom water and the surface mixed layer and microbial decomposition of organic matter in the subthermocline layer produced pCO(2) levels similar to or higher than those levels anticipated by the end of the 21st century. Trends in both seawater chemistry and the composition of sediments in Devil's Hole indicate that Mg-calcite minerals are subject to selective dissolution under conditions of elevated pCO(2). The derived rates of dissolution based on observed changes in excess alkalinity and estimates of vertical eddy diffusion ranged from 0.2 mmol to 0.8 mmol CaCO3 m(-2) h(-1). On a yearly basis, this range corresponds to 175-701 g CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1); the latter rate is close to 50% of the estimate of the current average global coral reef calcification rate of about 1,500 g CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1). Considering a reduction in marine calcification of 40% by the year 2100, or 90% by 2300, as a result of surface ocean acidification, the combination of high rates of carbonate dissolution and reduced rates of calcification implies that coral reefs and other carbonate sediment environments within the 21st and following centuries could be subject to a net loss in carbonate material as a result of increasing pCO(2) arising from burning of fossil fuels.