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Frieder, CA, Nam SH, Martz TR, Levin LA.  2012.  High temporal and spatial variability of dissolved oxygen and pH in a nearshore California kelp forest. Biogeosciences. 9:4099-4132.   10.5194/bg-9-3917-2012  
Hofmann, GE, Smith JE, Johnson KS, Send U, Levin LA, Micheli F, Paytan A, Price NN, Peterson B, Takeshita Y, Matson PG, Crook ED, Kroeker KJ, Gambi MC, Rivest EB, Frieder CA, Yu PC, Martz TR.  2011.  High-Frequency Dynamics of Ocean pH: A Multi-Ecosystem Comparison. Plos One. 6   10.1371/journal.pone.0028983   AbstractWebsite

The effect of Ocean Acidification (OA) on marine biota is quasi-predictable at best. While perturbation studies, in the form of incubations under elevated pCO(2), reveal sensitivities and responses of individual species, one missing link in the OA story results from a chronic lack of pH data specific to a given species' natural habitat. Here, we present a compilation of continuous, high-resolution time series of upper ocean pH, collected using autonomous sensors, over a variety of ecosystems ranging from polar to tropical, open-ocean to coastal, kelp forest to coral reef. These observations reveal a continuum of month-long pH variability with standard deviations from 0.004 to 0.277 and ranges spanning 0.024 to 1.430 pH units. The nature of the observed variability was also highly site-dependent, with characteristic diel, semi-diurnal, and stochastic patterns of varying amplitudes. These biome-specific pH signatures disclose current levels of exposure to both high and low dissolved CO2, often demonstrating that resident organisms are already experiencing pH regimes that are not predicted until 2100. Our data provide a first step toward crystallizing the biophysical link between environmental history of pH exposure and physiological resilience of marine organisms to fluctuations in seawater CO2. Knowledge of this spatial and temporal variation in seawater chemistry allows us to improve the design of OA experiments: we can test organisms with a priori expectations of their tolerance guardrails, based on their natural range of exposure. Such hypothesis-testing will provide a deeper understanding of the effects of OA. Both intuitively simple to understand and powerfully informative, these and similar comparative time series can help guide management efforts to identify areas of marine habitat that can serve as refugia to acidification as well as areas that are particularly vulnerable to future ocean change.

Matson, PG, Martz TR, Hofmann GE.  2011.  High-frequency observations of pH under Antarctic sea ice in the southern Ross Sea. Antarctic Science. 23:607-613.   10.1017/s0954102011000551   AbstractWebsite

Although predictions suggest that ocean acidification will significantly impact polar oceans within 20-30 years, there is limited information regarding present-day pH dynamics of the Southern Ocean. Here, we present novel high-frequency observations of pH collected during spring of 2010 using SeaFET pH sensors at three locations under fast sea ice in the southern Ross Sea. During these deployments in McMurdo Sound, baseline pH ranged between 8.019-8.045, with low to moderate overall variation (0.043-0.114 units) on the scale of hours to days. The variation was predominantly in the direction of increased pH relative to baseline observations. Estimates of aragonite saturation state (Omega(Ar)) were > 1 with no observations of subsaturation. Time series records such as these are significant to the Antarctic science community; this information can be leveraged towards framing more environmentally relevant laboratory experiments aimed at assessing the vulnerability of Antarctic species to ocean acidification. In addition, increased spatial and temporal coverage of pH datasets may reveal ecologically significant patterns. Specifically, whether such variation in natural ocean pH dynamics may drive local adaptation to pH variation or provide refugia for populations of marine calcifiers in a future, acidifying ocean.