ocean acidification

Georgiou, L, Falter J, Trotter J, Kline DI, Holcomb M, Dove SG, Hoegh-Guldberg O, McCulloch M.  2015.  pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . 112(43):13219-13224.
Kaniewska, P, Chan C-KK, Kline D, Ling EYS, Rosic N, Edwards D, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S.  2015.  Transcriptomic Changes in Coral Holobionts Provide Insights into Physiological Challenges of Future Climate and Ocean Change. . PLoS ONE . 10(10):e0139223.
Nash, MC, Opdyke BN, Troitzsch U, Russell BD, Adey WH, Kato A, Diaz-Pulido G, Brent C, Gardner M, Prichard J, Kline DI.  2013.  Dolomite rich coral reef coralline algae resist dissolution in acidified conditions.. Nature Climate Change. 3:268-272. Abstract

Coral reef ecosystems develop best in high-flow environments but their fragile frameworks are also vulnerable to high wave energy. Wave-resistant algal rims, predominantly made up of the crustose coralline algae (CCA) Porolithon onkodes and P. pachydermum1, 2, are therefore critical structural elements for the survival of many shallow coral reefs. Concerns are growing about the susceptibility of CCA to ocean acidification because CCA Mg-calcite skeletons are more susceptible to dissolution under low pH conditions than coral aragonite skeletons3. However, the recent discovery4 of dolomite (Mg0.5Ca0.5(CO3)), a stable carbonate5, in P. onkodes cells necessitates a reappraisal of the impacts of ocean acidification on these CCA. Here we show, using a dissolution experiment, that dried dolomite-rich CCA have 6–10 times lower rates of dissolution than predominantly Mg-calcite CCA in both high-CO2 (~ 700 ppm) and control (~ 380 ppm) environments, respectively. We reveal this stabilizing mechanism to be a combination of reduced porosity due to dolomite infilling and selective dissolution of other carbonate minerals. Physical break-up proceeds by dissolution of Mg-calcite walls until the dolomitized cell eventually drops out intact. Dolomite-rich CCA frameworks are common in shallow coral reefs globally and our results suggest that it is likely that they will continue to provide protection and stability for coral reef frameworks as CO2

Reyes-Nivia, C, Diaz-Pullido G, Kline D, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S.  2013.  Ocean acidification and warming scenarios increase bioerosion of coral skeletons. Global Change Biology. 19:1919-1929. Abstract

Biological mediation of carbonate dissolution represents a fundamental component of the destructive forces acting on coral reef ecosystems. Whereas ocean acidification can increase dissolution of carbonate substrates, the combined impact of ocean acidification and warming on the microbioerosion of coral skeletons remains unknown. Here, we exposed skeletons of the reef-building corals, Porites cylindrica and Isopora cuneata, to present-day (Control: 400 μatm – 24 °C) and future pCO2–temperature scenarios projected for the end of the century (Medium: +230 μatm – +2 °C; High: +610 μatm – +4 °C). Skeletons were also subjected to permanent darkness with initial sodium hypochlorite incubation, and natural light without sodium hypochlorite incubation to isolate the environmental effect of acidic seawater (i.e., Ωaragonite <1) from the biological effect of photosynthetic microborers. Our results indicated that skeletal dissolution is predominantly driven by photosynthetic microborers, as samples held in the dark did not decalcify. In contrast, dissolution of skeletons exposed to light increased under elevated pCO2–temperature scenarios, with P. cylindrica experiencing higher dissolution rates per month (89%) than I. cuneata (46%) in the high treatment relative to control. The effects of future pCO2–temperature scenarios on the structure of endolithic communities were only identified in P. cylindrica and were mostly associated with a higher abundance of the green algae Ostreobium spp. Enhanced skeletal dissolution was also associated with increased endolithic biomass and respiration under elevated pCO2–temperature scenarios. Our results suggest that future projections of ocean acidification and warming will lead to increased rates of microbioerosion. However, the magnitude of bioerosion responses may depend on the structural properties of coral skeletons, with a range of implications for reef carbonate losses under warmer and more acidic oceans.