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Enhanced transfer of organic matter to higher trophic levels caused by ocean acidification and its implications for export production: a mass balance approach

Citation

Boxhammer, T and Taucher, J and Bach, LT and Acterberg, EP and Alguero-Muniz, M and Bellworthy, J and Czerny, J and Esposito, M and Haunost, M and Hellemann, D and Ludwig, A and Yong, JC and Zark, M and Riebesell, U and Anderson, LG, Enhanced transfer of organic matter to higher trophic levels caused by ocean acidification and its implications for export production: a mass balance approach, PLoS ONE, 13, (5) Article e0197502. ISSN 1932-6203 (2018) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2018 Boxhammer et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0197502

Abstract

Ongoing acidification of the ocean through uptake of anthropogenic CO2 is known to affect marine biota and ecosystems with largely unknown consequences for marine food webs. Changes in food web structure have the potential to alter trophic transfer, partitioning, and biogeochemical cycling of elements in the ocean. Here we investigated the impact of realistic end-of-the-century CO2 concentrations on the development and partitioning of the carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and silica pools in a coastal pelagic ecosystem (Gullmar Fjord, Sweden). We covered the entire winter-to-summer plankton succession (100 days) in two sets of five pelagic mesocosms, with one set being CO2 enriched (~760 μatm pCO2) and the other one left at ambient CO2 concentrations. Elemental mass balances were calculated and we highlight important challenges and uncertainties we have faced in the closed mesocosm system. Our key observations under high CO2 were: (1) A significantly amplified transfer of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus from primary producers to higher trophic levels, during times of regenerated primary production. (2) A prolonged retention of all three elements in the pelagic food web that significantly reduced nitrogen and phosphorus sedimentation by about 11 and 9%, respectively. (3) A positive trend in carbon fixation (relative to nitrogen) that appeared in the particulate matter pool as well as the downward particle flux. This excess carbon counteracted a potential reduction in carbon sedimentation that could have been expected from patterns of nitrogen and phosphorus fluxes. Our findings highlight the potential for ocean acidification to alter partitioning and cycling of carbon and nutrients in the surface ocean but also show that impacts are temporarily variable and likely depending upon the structure of the plankton food web.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ocean acidification, plankton, mass balance, carbon export
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological Oceanography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences
UTAS Author:Bach, LT (Dr Lennart Bach)
ID Code:133672
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2019-07-05
Last Modified:2019-08-06
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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