Effects of ocean acidification on population dynamics and community structure of crustose coralline algae

Ordonez, Alexandra, Doropoulos, Christopher and Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo (2014) Effects of ocean acidification on population dynamics and community structure of crustose coralline algae. Biological Bulletin, 226 3: 255-268.

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Author Ordonez, Alexandra
Doropoulos, Christopher
Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo
Title Effects of ocean acidification on population dynamics and community structure of crustose coralline algae
Journal name Biological Bulletin   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3185
Publication date 2014-06-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status
Volume 226
Issue 3
Start page 255
End page 268
Total pages 14
Place of publication Woods Hole, MA, United States
Publisher Marine Biological Laboratory
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Calcification and growth of crustose coralline algae (CCA) are affected by elevated seawater pCO2 and associated changes in carbonate chemistry. However, the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on population and community-level responses of CCA have barely been investigated. We explored changes in community structure and population dynamics (size structure and reproduction) of CCA in response to OA. Recruited from an experimental flow-through system, CCA settled onto the walls of plastic aquaria and developed under exposure to one of three pCO2 treatments (control [present day, 389 6 ppm CO2], medium [753 11 ppm], and high [1267 19 ppm]). Elevated pCO2 reduced total CCA abundance and affected community structure, in particular the density of the dominant species Pneophyllum sp. and Porolithon onkodes. Meanwhile, the relative abundance of P. onkodes declined from 24% under control CO2 to 8.3% in high CO2 (65% change), while the relative abundance of Pneophyllum sp. remained constant. Population size structure of P. onkodes differed significantly across treatments, with fewer larger individuals under high CO2. In contrast, the population size structure and number of reproductive structures (conceptacles) per crust of Pneophyllum sp. was similar across treatments. The difference in the magnitude of the response of species abundance and population size structure between species may have the potential to induce species composition changes in the future. These results demonstrate that the impacts of OA on key coral reef builders go beyond declines in calcification and growth, and suggest important changes to aspects of population dynamics and community ecology.
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Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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