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Extreme levels of ocean acidification restructure the plankton community and biogeochemistry of a temperate coastal ecosystem: a mesocosm study


Spisla, C and Taucher, J and Bach, LT and Haunost, M and Boxhammer, T and King, AL and Jenkins, BD and Wallace, JR and Ludwig, A and Meyer, J and Stange, P and Minutolo, F and Lohbeck, KT and Nauendorf, A and Kalter, V and Lischka, S and Sswat, M and Dorner, I and Ismar-Rebitz, SMH and Aberle, N and Yong, JC and Bouquet, J-M and Lechtenborger, AK and Kohnert, P and Krudewig, M and Riebesell, U, Extreme levels of ocean acidification restructure the plankton community and biogeochemistry of a temperate coastal ecosystem: a mesocosm study, Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, (JAN) Article 611157. ISSN 2296-7745 (2021) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 Spisla, Taucher, Bach, Haunost, Boxhammer, King, Jenkins, Wallace, Ludwig, Meyer, Stange, Minutolo, Lohbeck, Nauendorf, Kalter, Lischka, Sswat, Dörner, Ismar-Rebitz, Aberle, Yong, Bouquet, Lechtenbörger, Kohnert, Krudewig and Riebesell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY)

DOI: doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.611157


The oceans’ uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) decreases seawater pH and alters the inorganic carbon speciation – summarized in the term ocean acidification (OA). Already today, coastal regions experience episodic pH events during which surface layer pH drops below values projected for the surface ocean at the end of the century. Future OA is expected to further enhance the intensity of these coastal extreme pH events. To evaluate the influence of such episodic OA events in coastal regions, we deployed eight pelagic mesocosms for 53 days in Raunefjord, Norway, and enclosed 56–61 m3 of local seawater containing a natural plankton community under nutrient limited post-bloom conditions. Four mesocosms were enriched with CO2 to simulate extreme pCO2 levels of 1978 – 2069 μatm while the other four served as untreated controls. Here, we present results from multivariate analyses on OA-induced changes in the phyto-, micro-, and mesozooplankton community structure. Pronounced differences in the plankton community emerged early in the experiment, and were amplified by enhanced top-down control throughout the study period. The plankton groups responding most profoundly to high CO2 conditions were cyanobacteria (negative), chlorophyceae (negative), auto- and heterotrophic microzooplankton (negative), and a variety of mesozooplanktonic taxa, including copepoda (mixed), appendicularia (positive), hydrozoa (positive), fish larvae (positive), and gastropoda (negative). The restructuring of the community coincided with significant changes in the concentration and elemental stoichiometry of particulate organic matter. Results imply that extreme CO2 events can lead to a substantial reorganization of the planktonic food web, affecting multiple trophic levels from phytoplankton to primary and secondary consumers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ocean acidification, plankton community, mesocosm, phytoplankton, climate change
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Understanding climate change not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bach, LT (Dr Lennart Bach)
ID Code:142768
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2021-02-11
Last Modified:2022-08-29
Downloads:14 View Download Statistics

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