Coral reefs face multiple anthropogenic threats, from pollution and overfishing to the dual effects of greenhouse gas emissions: rising sea temperature and ocean acidification . While the abundance of coral has declined in recent decades [2 and 3], the implications for humanity are difficult to quantify because they depend on ecosystem function rather than the corals themselves. Most reef functions and ecosystem services are founded on the ability of reefs to maintain their three-dimensional structure through net carbonate accumulation . Coral growth only constitutes part of a reef’s carbonate budget; bioerosion processes are influential in determining the balance between net structural growth and disintegration [5 and 6]. Here, we combine ecological models with carbonate budgets and drive the dynamics of Caribbean reefs with the latest generation of climate models. Budget reconstructions using documented ecological perturbations drive shallow (6–10 m) Caribbean forereefs toward an increasingly fragile carbonate balance. We then projected carbonate budgets toward 2080 and contrasted the benefits of local conservation and global action on climate change. Local management of fisheries (specifically, no-take marine reserves) and the watershed can delay reef loss by at least a decade under “business-as-usual” rises in greenhouse gas emissions. However, local action must be combined with a low-carbon economy to prevent degradation of reef structures and associated ecosystem services.
Posts Tagged 'modeling'
Tags: abundance, community, modeling, Policy, socio-economy
Tags: Antarctic Ocean, chemistry, field, modeling, regional
Each December during four years from 2006 to 2010, the surface water carbonate system was measured and investigated in the Amundsen Sea and Ross Sea, western Antarctica as part of the Oden Southern Ocean expeditions (OSO). The I/B Oden started in Punta Arenas in Chile and sailed southwest, passing through different regimes such as, the marginal/seasonal ice zone, fronts, coastal shelves, and polynyas. Discrete surface water was sampled underway for analysis of total alkalinity (AT), total dissolved inorganic carbon (CT) and pH. Two of these parameters were used together with sea-surface temperature (SST), and salinity to obtain a full description of the surface water carbonate system, including pH in situ and calcium carbonate saturation state of aragonite (ΩAr) and calcite (ΩCa). Multivariate analysis was used to investigate interannual variability and the major controls (sea-ice concentration, SST, salinity and chlorophyll a) on the variability in the carbonate system and Ω. This analysis showed that SST and chlorophyll a were the major drivers of the Ω variability in both the Amundsen and Ross seas. In 2007, the sea-ice edge was located further south and the area of the open polynya was relatively small compared to 2010. We found the lowest pH in situ (7.932) and Ω = 1 values in the sea-ice zone and in the coastal Amundsen Sea, nearby marine out flowing glaciers. In 2010, the sea-ice coverage was the largest and the areas of the open polynyas were the largest for the whole period. This year we found the lowest salinity and AT, coinciding with highest chl a. This implies that the highest ΩAr in 2010 was likely an effect of biological CO2 drawdown, which out-competed the dilution of carbonate ion concentration due to large melt water volumes. We predict and discuss future Ω values, using our data and reported rates of oceanic uptake of anthropogenic CO2, suggesting that the Amundsen Sea will become undersaturated with regard to aragonite about 20 yr sooner than predicted by models.
Tags: chemistry, global, modeling
The potential effect on surface water pH of emissions of SOX and NOX from global ship routes is assessed. The results indicate that regional pH reductions of the same order of magnitude as the CO2-driven acidification can occur in heavily trafficked waters. These findings have important consequences for ocean chemistry, since the sulfuric and nitric acids formed are strong acids in contrast to the weak carbonic acid formed by dissolution of CO2. Our results also provide background for discussion of expanded controls to mitigate acidification due to these shipping emissions.
Tags: algae, biological response, community, communitymodeling, grazing, mesocosms, modeling, morphology, multiple factors, North Atlantic, phanerogams, primary production, protists, temperature
It is well known that ocean acidification can have profound impacts on marine organisms. However, we know little about the direct and indirect effects of ocean acidification and also how these effects interact with other features of environmental change such as warming and declining consumer pressure. In this study, we tested whether the presence of consumers (invertebrate mesograzers) influenced the interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming on benthic microalgae in a seagrass community mesocosm experiment. Net effects of acidification and warming on benthic microalgal biomass and production, as assessed by analysis of variance, were relatively weak regardless of grazer presence. However, partitioning these net effects into direct and indirect effects using structural equation modeling revealed several strong relationships. In the absence of grazers, benthic microalgae were negatively and indirectly affected by sediment-associated microalgal grazers and macroalgal shading, but directly and positively affected by acidification and warming. Combining indirect and direct effects yielded no or weak net effects. In the presence of grazers, almost all direct and indirect climate effects were nonsignificant. Our analyses highlight that (i) indirect effects of climate change may be at least as strong as direct effects, (ii) grazers are crucial in mediating these effects, and (iii) effects of ocean acidification may be apparent only through indirect effects and in combination with other variables (e.g., warming). These findings highlight the importance of experimental designs and statistical analyses that allow us to separate and quantify the direct and indirect effects of multiple climate variables on natural communities.
Tags: chemistry, modeling, North Atlantic, North Pacific, regional, South Pacific
This paper reexamines experimental data on the seawater dissolution of CaCO3-bearing sediment beds to establish that the dependence of the calcite dissolution rate is linearly dependent on the calcite saturation state of the overlying water. This linearity is inherent to the original data and is not the result of an error in the solubility product for calcite. A comparison between these linear kinetics and the rate of solute transport across the benthic boundary layer further reveals that the overall rate of dissolution at ocean depths below the saturation horizon is controlled by boundary layer transfer. A carbonate mass-balance model for the sediment-water interface, which includes both kinetics and boundary layer effects, predictively reproduces the currently observed CaCO3 depth distribution for two test areas in the oceans. These findings allow important simplifications in modeling CO2 neutralization in the oceans.
A coral polyp model of photosynthesis, respiration and calcification incorporating a transcellular ion transport mechanismPublished 3 April 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biological response, calcification, corals, individual, modeling, photosynthesis, respiration
A numerical simulation model of coral polyp photosynthesis, respiration and calcification was developed. The model is constructed with three components (ambient seawater, coelenteron and calcifying fluid), and incorporates photosynthesis, respiration and calcification processes with transcellular ion transport by Ca-ATPase activity and passive transmembrane CO2 transport and diffusion. The model calculates dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity in the ambient seawater, coelenteron and calcifying fluid, dissolved oxygen (DO) in the seawater and coelenteron and stored organic carbon (CH2O). To reconstruct the drastic variation between light and dark respiration, respiration rate dependency on DO in the coelenteron is incorporated. The calcification rate depends on the aragonite saturation state in the calcifying fluid (Ωa cal). Our simulation result was a good approximation of “light-enhanced calcification.” In our model, the mechanism is expressed as follows: (1) DO in the coelenteron is increased by photosynthesis, (2) respiration is stimulated by increased DO in the light (or respiration is limited by DO depletion in the dark), then (3) calcification increases due to Ca-ATPase, which is driven by the energy generated by respiration. The model simulation results were effective in reproducing the basic responses of the internal CO2 system and DO. The daily calcification rate, the gross photosynthetic rate and the respiration rate under a high-flow condition increased compared to those under the zero-flow condition, but the net photosynthetic rate decreased. The calculated calcification rate responses to variations in the ambient aragonite saturation state (Ωa amb) were nonlinear, and the responses agreed with experimental results of previous studies. Our model predicted that in response to ocean acidification (1) coral calcification will decrease, but will remain at a higher value until Ωa amb decreases to 1, by maintaining a higher Ωa cal due to the transcellular ion transport mechanism and (2) the net photosynthetic rate will increase.
Tags: biogeochemistry, chemistry, global, modeling
Consistently with the past decades observations, CMIP5 Earth System Models project highest acidification rates in subsurface waters. Using 7 ESMs, we find that high acidification rates in mode and intermediate waters (MIW) on centennial timescales (-0.0008 ± 4 × 10–5 yr–1 to -0.0023 ± 0.0001 yr–1 depending on the scenario) are predominantly explained by the geochemical effect of increasing atmospheric CO2, whereas physical and biological climate change feedbacks explain less than 10% of the simulated changes. MIW are characterized by a larger surface area to volume ratio than deep and bottom waters leading to 5 to 10 times larger carbon uptake. In addition, MIW geochemical properties result in a sensitivity to increasing carbon concentration twice larger than surface waters (Δ[H+] of +1.2 mmol.m–3 for every mmol.m–3 of dissolved carbon in MIW vs. +0.6 in surface waters). Low pH transported by mode and intermediate waters are likely to influence surface pH in upwelling regions decades after their isolation from the atmosphere.
Tags: chemistry, field, modeling, North Pacific, regional
To assess the impact of rising atmospheric CO2 and eutrophication on the carbonate chemistry of the East China Sea shelf waters, saturation states (Ω) for two important biologically-relevant carbonate minerals, calcite (Ωc) and aragonite (Ωa) were calculated throughout the water column from dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA) data collected in spring and summer of 2009. Results show that the highest Ωc (~9.0) and Ωa (~ 5.8) values were found in surface water of the Changjiang plume area in summer, whereas the lowest values (Ωc=~2.7 and Ωa=~1.7) were concurrently observed in the bottom water of the same area. This divergent behavior of saturation states in surface and bottom waters was driven by intensive biological production and strong stratification of the water column. The high rate of phytoplankton production, stimulated by the enormous nutrient discharge from the Changjiang, acts to decrease the ratio of DIC to TA, and thereby increases Ω values. In contrast, remineralization of organic matter in the bottom water acts to increase the DIC to TA ratio, and thus decreases Ω values. The projected result shows that continued increases of atmospheric CO2 under the IS92a emission scenario will decrease Ω values by 40–50% by the end of this century, but both the surface and bottom waters will remain supersaturated with respect to calcite and aragonite. Nevertheless, superimposed on such Ω decrease is increasing eutrophication, which would mitigate or enhance the Ω decline caused by anthropogenic CO2 uptake in surface and bottom waters, respectively. Our simulation reveals that under the combined impact of eutrophication and augmentation of atmospheric CO2, the bottom water of the Changjiang plume area will become undersaturated with respect to aragonite (Ωa=~0.8) by the end of this century, which would threaten the health of the benthic ecosystem.
Tags: chemistry, global, modeling
Decadal-to-century scale trends for a range of marine environmental variables in the upper mesopelagic layer (UML, 100–600 m) are investigated using results from seven Earth System Models forced by a high greenhouse gas emission scenario. The models as a class represent the observation-based distribution of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2), albeit major mismatches between observation-based and simulated values remain for individual models. By year 2100 all models project an increase in SST between 2 °C and 3 °C, and a decrease in the pH and in the saturation state of water with respect to calcium carbonate minerals in the UML. A decrease in the total ocean inventory of dissolved oxygen by 2% to 4% is projected by the range of models. Projected O2 changes in the UML show a complex pattern with both increasing and decreasing trends reflecting the subtle balance of different competing factors such as circulation, production, remineralization, and temperature changes. Projected changes in the total volume of hypoxic and suboxic waters remain relatively small in all models. A widespread increase of CO2 in the UML is projected. The median of the CO2 distribution between 100 and 600m shifts from 0.1–0.2 mol m−3 in year 1990 to 0.2–0.4 mol m−3 in year 2100, primarily as a result of the invasion of anthropogenic carbon from the atmosphere. The co-occurrence of changes in a range of environmental variables indicates the need to further investigate their synergistic impacts on marine ecosystems and Earth System feedbacks.
Tags: biological response, community, corals, mitigation, modeling, multiple factors, temperature
Continued anthropogenic CO2 emissions are expected to impact tropical coral reefs by further raising sea surface temperatures (SST) and intensifying ocean acidification (OA). Although geoengineering by means of Solar Radiation Management (SRM) may mitigate temperature increases, OA will persist, raising important questions regarding the impact of different stressor combinations. We apply statistical Bioclimatic Envelope Models to project changes in shallow-water tropical coral reef habitat as a single niche (without resolving biodiversity or community composition) under various Representative Concentration Pathway and SRM scenarios, until 2070. We predict substantial reductions in habitat suitability centered on the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool under net anthropogenic radiative forcing of ≥3.0 W/m2. The near-term dominant risk to coral reefs is increasing SSTs; below 3 W/m2 reasonably favorable conditions are maintained, even when achieved by SRM with persisting OA. ‘Optimal’ mitigation occurs at 1.5 W/m2 because tropical SSTs over-cool in a fully-geoengineered (i.e. pre-industrial global mean temperature) world.