September 25th, 2018 at 1:00pm
Location: SLAB Seminar Room, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
“Exploring the persistence of reef ecosystems in acidified oceans: Incorporation of ecological and environmental complexity to understand real-world responses”
The rising concentration of anthropogenic CO 2 in seawater, a process known as ocean acidification (OA), will have serious implications for the structure and function of numerous marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. Laboratory studies have revealed that OA will decrease calcification, accelerate biological carbonate dissolution (bioerosion), and influence the behavior and physiology of numerous species. Understanding the net outcome of these processes requires incorporation of ecological and environmental complexity greater than that provided by studies of single species subjected to a single static stressor. I will discuss three approaches, each with strengths and weaknesses, which I have used to begin to understand how reef ecosystems respond to OA. First, I will introduce carbonate budget models which unite multi-species assemblages of calcifiers and bioeroders, each with different OA-susceptibilities. Secondly, I will address reefs in the vicinity of volcanic vents, where high CO 2 conditions have led to ecosystem shifts and previously unforeseen functional group responses. Finally, I will discuss how laboratory experiments can be constructed to investigate temporal OA variability and introduce a recent study describing how dynamic diel fluctuations in CO 2 may enhance coral calcification.