Sponge biomass and bioerosion rates increase under ocean warming and acidification

Fang, James K. H., Mello-Athayde, Matheus A., Schonberg, Christine H. L., Kline, David I., Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove and Dove, Sophie (2013) Sponge biomass and bioerosion rates increase under ocean warming and acidification. Global Change Biology, 19 12: 3581-3591. doi:10.1111/gcb.12334

Author Fang, James K. H.
Mello-Athayde, Matheus A.
Schonberg, Christine H. L.
Kline, David I.
Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove
Dove, Sophie
Title Sponge biomass and bioerosion rates increase under ocean warming and acidification
Journal name Global Change Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1354-1013
Publication date 2013-12-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/gcb.12334
Volume 19
Issue 12
Start page 3581
End page 3591
Total pages 11
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Subject 2303 Ecology
2306 Global and Planetary Change
2300 Environmental Science
2304 Environmental Chemistry
Formatted abstract
The combination of ocean warming and acidification as a result of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is considered to be a significant threat to calcifying organisms and their activities on coral reefs. How these global changes impact the important roles of decalcifying organisms (bioeroders) in the regulation of carbonate budgets, however, is less understood. To address this important question, the effects of a range of past, present and future CO2 emission scenarios (temperature + acidification) on the excavating sponge Cliona orientalis Thiele, 1900 were explored over 12 weeks in early summer on the southern Great Barrier Reef. C. orientalis is a widely distributed bioeroder on many reefs, and hosts symbiotic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. Our results showed that biomass production and bioerosion rates of C. orientalis were similar under a pre-industrial scenario and a present day (control) scenario. Symbiodinium population density in the sponge tissue was the highest under the pre-industrial scenario, and decreased towards the two future scenarios with sponge replicates under the 'business-as-usual' CO2 emission scenario exhibiting strong bleaching. Despite these changes, biomass production and the ability of the sponge to erode coral carbonate materials both increased under the future scenarios. Our study suggests that C. orientalis will likely grow faster and have higher bioerosion rates in a high CO2 future than at present, even with significant bleaching. Assuming that our findings hold for excavating sponges in general, increased sponge biomass coupled with accelerated bioerosion may push coral reefs towards net erosion and negative carbonate budgets in the future.
Keyword Acidification
Carbon dioxide
Climate change
Coral reefs
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 23 OCT 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Global Change Institute Publications
Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 38 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 42 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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