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Kuffner, IB, Andersson AJ, Jokiel PL, Rodgers KS, Mackenzie FT.  2008.  Decreased abundance of crustose coralline algae due to ocean acidification. Nature Geoscience. 1:114-117.   10.1038/ngeo100   AbstractWebsite

Owing to anthropogenic emissions, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide could almost double between 2006 and 2100 according to business- as- usual carbon dioxide emission scenarios(1). Because the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere(2-4), increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations will lead to increasing dissolved inorganic carbon and carbon dioxide in surface ocean waters, and hence acidification and lower carbonate saturation states(2,5). As a consequence, it has been suggested that marine calcifying organisms, for example corals, coralline algae, molluscs and foraminifera, will have difficulties producing their skeletons and shells at current rates(6,7), with potentially severe implications for marine ecosystems, including coral reefs(6,8 - 11). Here we report a seven-week experiment exploring the effects of ocean acidification on crustose coralline algae, a cosmopolitan group of calcifying algae that is ecologically important in most shallow-water habitats(12-14). Six outdoor mesocosms were continuously supplied with sea water from the adjacent reef and manipulated to simulate conditions of either ambient or elevated seawater carbon dioxide concentrations. The recruitment rate and growth of crustose coralline algae were severely inhibited in the elevated carbon dioxide mesocosms. Our findings suggest that ocean acidification due to human activities could cause significant change to benthic community structure in shallow-warm-water carbonate ecosystems.

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.

Page, HN, Andersson AJ, Jokiel PL, Rodgers K’uleiS, Lebrato M, Yeakel K, Davidson C, D’Angelo S, Bahr KD.  2016.  Differential modification of seawater carbonate chemistry by major coral reef benthic communities. Coral Reefs. :1-15.   10.1007/s00338-016-1490-4   AbstractWebsite

Ocean acidification (OA) resulting from uptake of anthropogenic CO2 may negatively affect coral reefs by causing decreased rates of biogenic calcification and increased rates of CaCO3 dissolution and bioerosion. However, in addition to the gradual decrease in seawater pH and Ω a resulting from anthropogenic activities, seawater carbonate chemistry in these coastal ecosystems is also strongly influenced by the benthic metabolism which can either exacerbate or alleviate OA through net community calcification (NCC = calcification – CaCO3 dissolution) and net community organic carbon production (NCP = primary production − respiration). Therefore, to project OA on coral reefs, it is necessary to understand how different benthic communities modify the reef seawater carbonate chemistry. In this study, we used flow-through mesocosms to investigate the modification of seawater carbonate chemistry by benthic metabolism of five distinct reef communities [carbonate sand, crustose coralline algae (CCA), corals, fleshy algae, and a mixed community] under ambient and acidified conditions during summer and winter. The results showed that different communities had distinct influences on carbonate chemistry related to the relative importance of NCC and NCP. Sand, CCA, and corals exerted relatively small influences on seawater pH and Ω a over diel cycles due to closely balanced NCC and NCP rates, whereas fleshy algae and mixed communities strongly elevated daytime pH and Ω a due to high NCP rates. Interestingly, the influence on seawater pH at night was relatively small and quite similar across communities. NCC and NCP rates were not significantly affected by short-term acidification, but larger diel variability in pH was observed due to decreased seawater buffering capacity. Except for corals, increased net dissolution was observed at night for all communities under OA, partially buffering against nighttime acidification. Thus, algal-dominated areas of coral reefs and increased net CaCO3 dissolution may partially counteract reductions in seawater pH associated with anthropogenic OA at the local scale.

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.

Pickett, M, Andersson AJ.  2015.  Dissolution rates of biogenic carbonates in natural seawater at different pCO2 conditions: a laboratory study. Aquatic Geochemistry.   10.1007/s10498-015-9261-3   Abstract

The bulk dissolution rates of six biogenic carbonates (goose barnacle, benthic foraminifera, bryozoan, sea urchin, and two types of coralline algae) and a sample of mixed sediment from the Bermuda carbonate platform were measured in natural seawater at pCO2 values ranging from approximately 3000 to 5500 μatm. This range of pCO2 values encompassed values regularly observed in porewaters at a depth of a few cm in carbonate sediments at shallow water depths (<15 m) on the Bermuda carbonate platform. The biogenic carbonates included calcites of varying Mg content (2–17 mol%) and a range of specific surface areas (0.01–2.7 m2 g−1) as determined by BET gas adsorption. Measured rates of dissolution increased with increasing pCO2 treatment for all substrates and ranged from 2.5 to 18 μmol g−1 h−1. The highest rates of dissolution were observed for the bryozoans and the lowest rates for the goose barnacles. The relative ranking in dissolution rates between different substrates was consistent at all pCO2 levels, indicating that substrates dissolve sequentially and that some substrates will be more vulnerable than others to rising CO2 and ocean acidification. Furthermore, dissolution rates were found to increase with increasing Mg content, though the relative dissolution rates were observed to be a function of both Mg content and microstructure (surface area).