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Mechanisms driving Antarctic microbial community responses to ocean acidification: a network modelling approach


Subramaniam, RC and Melbourne-Thomas, J and Davidson, A and Corney, SP, Mechanisms driving Antarctic microbial community responses to ocean acidification: a network modelling approach, Polar Biology, 40, (3) pp. 727-734. ISSN 0722-4060 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00300-016-1989-8


Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations and the subsequent changes to ocean chemistry may have pronounced effects on marine microbial communities, particularly for the cold Southern Ocean. Changes to the microbial community in this region could affect the way nutrients are cycled, impact the efficiency of carbon drawdown, and cause shifts in food supply to higher trophic levels. Increased CO2 could affect the bioavailability of iron to phytoplankton. Fertilisation experiments show that iron can influence phytoplankton community composition, favouring large phytoplankton species in iron-replete conditions. The potential interactive effects of CO2 and iron bioavailability are currently poorly understood but are likely to be important in determining CO2-induced changes to the microbial community. We employ a qualitative network modelling approach to evaluate alternative hypotheses regarding the effects of elevated CO2 on Antarctic microbial communities in incubation experiments. We used a sequential approach to model development and testing, where we first formulated a base model for microbial community interactions, and then sequentially added direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 on particular groups. We found that model simulations were most consistent with observations from incubation experiments when we assumed an indirect effect of CO2 on phytoplankton. In particular, when we assumed a negative effect of elevated CO2 on the uptake of iron by large phytoplankton, as a result of a decrease in iron bioavailability. Our findings show that qualitative network models can be used to test hypotheses relating to results from experimental studies, and help identify key processes to target in future studies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:model, CO2, iron, Antarctic microbial community
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Subramaniam, RC (Miss Roshni Subramaniam)
UTAS Author:Melbourne-Thomas, J (Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas)
UTAS Author:Davidson, A (Dr Andrew Davidson)
UTAS Author:Corney, SP (Dr Stuart Corney)
ID Code:109959
Year Published:2017 (online first 2016)
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2016-07-08
Last Modified:2022-06-15

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