Impacts of ocean acidification in naturally variable coral reef flat ecosystems

Shaw, Emily C., McNeil, Ben I. and Tilbrook, Bronte (2012) Impacts of ocean acidification in naturally variable coral reef flat ecosystems. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 117 C3: C03038.1-C03038.14. doi:10.1029/2011JC007655

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Author Shaw, Emily C.
McNeil, Ben I.
Tilbrook, Bronte
Title Impacts of ocean acidification in naturally variable coral reef flat ecosystems
Journal name Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2169-9275
Publication date 2012-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1029/2011JC007655
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 117
Issue C3
Start page C03038.1
End page C03038.14
Total pages 14
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Abstract Ocean acidification leads to changes in marine carbonate chemistry that are predicted to cause a decline in future coral reef calcification. Several laboratory and mesocosm experiments have described calcification responses of species and communities to increasing CO 2. The few in situ studies on natural coral reefs that have been carried out to date have shown a direct relationship between aragonite saturation state ( arag) and net community calcification (G net). However, these studies have been performed over a limited range of arag values, where extrapolation outside the observational range is required to predict future changes in coral reef calcification. We measured extreme diurnal variability in carbonate chemistry within a reef flat in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. arag varied between 1.1 and 6.5, thus exceeding the magnitude of change expected this century in open ocean subtropical/tropical waters. The observed variability comes about through biological activity on the reef, where changes to the carbonate chemistry are enhanced at low tide when reef flat waters are isolated from open ocean water. We define a relationship between net community calcification and arag, using our in situ measurements. We find net community calcification to be linearly related to arag, while temperature and nutrients had no significant effect on G net. Using our relationship between G net and arag, we predict that net community calcification will decline by 55% of its preindustrial value by the end of the century. It is not known at this stage whether exposure to large variability in carbonate chemistry will make reef flat organisms more or less vulnerable to the non-calcifying physiological effects of increasing ocean CO 2 and future laboratory studies will need to incorporate this natural variability to address this question.
Keyword Great-Barrier-Reef
Calcium-Carbonate Saturation
Co2 Partial-Pressure
Calcification Rate
Nutrient Enrichment
Seawater Co2
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 77 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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