Home   :    Contact   :    Donations
The Shark and Coral Conservation Trust
About SCCT   :       Donations   :       The Facts   :       D.E.E.P   :       News   :       Articles   :       Videos   :       What You Can Do

articles


Ocean Acidification - Plankton hold surprise for Climate Research
28/06/08
source : Jessica Marshall  Discovery News


Plankton hold surprise for climate research
Amid concerns about the damage that rising levels of CO2 will do to the oceans, including to corals and other species, there seems to be good news for at least one group of creatures.

Biological oceanographer M. Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez of the National Oceanography Center at the University of Southampton, U.K., found that one species of single-celled phytoplankton, Emiliania huxleyi, increases its calcification rate as CO2 levels rise in the water.
Looking at ocean sediments, Iglesias-Rodriguez’ colleague, Paul Halloran of the University of Oxford, found that the average mass of coccolithophores, the class of phytoplankton to which Emiliania huxleyi belongs, has increased 40 percent over the last 220 years, as atmospheric CO2 levels have risen.

The question is, what effect will it have on the ocean’s CO2 uptake if these little guys continue to boom?

The ocean is full of phytoplankton, tiny plants that soak up carbon dioxide by photosynthesis. One group of these, the coccolithophores, also combine dissolved carbon dioxide and calcium to make chalky scales, called coccoliths. But the reaction that forms their calcium carbonate plates releases carbon dioxide in the process, offsetting the carbon gains from photosynthesis.

Previously, researchers have attempted to predict the effect of a more acidic ocean on coccolithophores by adding hydrochloric acid to laboratory cultures of the organisms. Such experiments have found that a more acidic environment hinders their calcification process.

But Iglesias-Rodriguez attempted a more realistic method of creating future ocean conditions by bubbling carbon dioxide through her cultures of the common coccolithophore, Emiliania huxleyi. Bubbling carbon dioxide dropped the pH and increased the amount of carbon dissolved in the water, as would happen in the open ocean.

Iglesias-Rodriguez’s team tested atmospheric CO2 levels up to 750 parts per million, which could be reached by 2100 according to one scenario, and found the opposite of what earlier experiments observed: The amount of calcium carbonate in the coccolithophores increased with increasing CO2 levels.

“We show for the first time that calcium in coccoliths could double by the end of the century,” she said.

The team also examined sediments from a site in the North Atlantic and found that the calcium carbonate mass in coccoliths increased by an average of 40 percent over the last 220 years, coinciding with the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. They report the findings today in Science.

“It’s quite significant,” said Scott Doney of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., who was not part of the research. “I think it’s going to make a lot of people scramble around to try to figure out if this is a uniform finding in coccoliths.”

Iglesias-Rodriguez’s results suggest that carbon removal from increased photosynthesis and release from increased calcification will probably roughly cancel each other out. But booming coccolithophore populations could displace other phytoplankton, or coccolithophore predators could be affected by the bigger critters.

The increased calcium carbonate could also affect how much coccolithophore mass falls to the ocean floor, another carbon sink.

“Nobody’s thought through these new effects,” Doney said.

“At the moment, with the information we have, it’s just not possible to say what this means in terms of carbon,” Iglesias-Rodriguez agreed. “But it’s very important information for the models, because they are using the opposite information to what we find.”

Doney agreed. “A lot of conclusions have been drawn from a handful of studies, and the ocean has a lot of surprises for us.”

Editorial Comment: We hope that Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez is right and that there is no unseen 'knock-on' effect on other species. This article seems to offset the warnings contained in the previous 'Articles' item. I suppose that it only serves to highlight the need for much more research and debate into the subject matter - - - it would be very interesting to sit and listen to a debate on the subject matter between Dr Turley and Dr Iglesias-Rodriguez !!
PREVIOUS ARTICLES

2013
Sea Urchins Tolerate Acid Water
06/04/13

SHARK KILLS NUMBER 100 MILLION ANNUALLY
02/03/13

2012
A Climate Change Agreement for Children
06/12/12

Cate Change takes Centre Stage
06/12/12

Ocean acidification and warming decrease calcification in the crustose coralline alga Hydrolithon on
13/10/12

Solar Panels - Are they really clean emergy technology
07/09/12

Ocean Acidification may limit Phytoplankton
27/08/12

Acidic POceans - why should we Care?
24/08/12

Carbon Dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere
24/08/12

Jellyfish and Chips
17/05/12

The Effects of El Nino on Marine Life (2)
19/02/12

The Effects of El Nino on Marine Life
19/02/12

Protect Our Oceans
14/01/12

Decrease in shark numbers poses risk to Great Barrier Reef
11/01/12

2011
IAP STATEMENT ON OCEAN ACIDIFICATION
28/10/11

Vast Shark Sanctuary created in the Pacific
03/10/11

Cora Reef Builders Vulnerableto Ocean Acidification
02/10/11

Is Hydrogen the Future of Motoring ??
20/09/11

Marine Protection Bids Unveiled
08/09/11

Stan Ovshinsky and the Hydrogen Economy
07/07/11

Shark Fishing Banned in the Bahamas
06/07/11

Relationships between coral and fishes on the Great Barrier Reef
10/06/11

Emissions and Growth Continue their Dance
08/06/11

Acid Test for Local Action
08/06/11

2010
'Alarming' plight of coral reefs
12/10/10

Nature's Sting - The real cost of damaging Planet Earth
12/10/10

Hoga Summary
27/09/10

Great White Sharks 'Shrinking'
14/09/10

Swiss Tycoon sends patrol boat to save Serengeti of sea
14/09/10

Asia Demand spurs Brazilian shark kills
04/08/10

Plankton decline across oceans as water warms
30/07/10

Met Office Views on Climate Change (CC)
26/07/10

Ocean Acidification in 2010
23/07/10

The Great Barrier Reef is threatened by Ships and their Cargo
22/05/10

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION ACCELERATES
30/04/10

Talking Points:Japan: eating tuna to extinction
29/03/10

UK TSB INVESTS £7M IN FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN
07/03/10

M4 in Wales to be 'Hydrogen Highway'
12/02/10

A Boost for Clean Energy
28/01/10

Declining Coral Calcification on the Great Barrier Reef
20/01/10

Coral Can Recover From Climate Change Damage
20/01/10

Ocean Acidification
12/01/10

Impacts of Ocean Acidification
12/01/10

Chalk one up for coccolithophores
12/01/10

Coral Reefs are evolution hotspot
09/01/10

2009
Beware the "evil twin" of climate change
30/12/09

Hydrogen Power for Vehicles - COP15
20/12/09

Natural Lab shows Sea's Acid Path
22/11/09

'Coral Lab offers Acidity Insight
22/11/09

UK Funds Sea Acidification Study
22/11/09

UK Climate Targets 'Unachievable'
13/11/09

Marine Bill Enters Final Stages
12/11/09

Recovering Scotland's Marine Environment
06/11/09

An Iron-clad Partnership
06/11/09

'Freezer Plan' bid to save coral
26/10/09

Action on Shark Finning
14/10/09

Arctic Seas turn to Acid
08/10/09

Sharks pay high price as demand for fins soar
08/10/09

Diverse Fish Reduce Coral Disease
05/10/09

Pacific Nation Declares Itself Shark Haven
03/10/09

Shark Trade Limits endorsed by EU
27/09/09

Palau Pioneers Shark Sanctuary
25/09/09

China Vows Climate Change Action
22/09/09

Shark Rescue is here
21/09/09

Doctors warn on Climate Failure
16/09/09

How Global Warming sealed the fate of the World's Coral Reefs
04/09/09

A SECOND NORTH SEA BONANZA ?
04/09/09

Paradise Lost
04/09/09

Shark Tagging Mission is under way
31/08/09

The Hydrogen Cycle
19/07/09

Climate Scenarios 'being realised'.
15/07/09

Ocean Acidification - Calcifying Phytoplankton
01/07/09

Ocean Acidification on benthic biodiversity
01/07/09

In the Soup - Shark species facing extinction
25/06/09

Over fishing Threatens Shark Extinction
25/06/09

Student film highlights plight of the oceans
04/05/09

Ocean Acidification threatens underwater ecosystems
04/05/09

Drowning in Plastic
30/04/09

'Clean' Coal Plants Get Go-Ahead
23/04/09

Paving the Road to COP15: Adaptation and Outreach
21/03/09

The Road to Catastrophe
20/03/09

World's leading scientists i n desperate plea to politicians to act on climate change
14/03/09

Pollution to devastate shellfish by turning seas acidic
14/03/09

THREATS FROM OCEAN ACIDIFICATION
11/03/09

CO2 HIGHEST FOR 650,000 YEARS
01/03/09

SLOW PROGRESS ON OCEAN PROTECTION
28/02/09

Jellyfish and Chips
18/02/09

London Marathon Motivation
07/02/09

EU Gives Shark Protection Teeth
06/02/09

ACID OCEANS 'NEED URGENT ATTENTION'
31/01/09

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION - The other CO2 problem
28/01/09

Panel Warns on Great Barrier Reef
03/01/09

Coral Reef Growth is Slowest Ever
03/01/09

2008
Changes amplify Arctic Warming
17/12/08

Rise in CO2 affrects Jumbo Squid
16/12/08

Jellyfish Invasion
21/11/08

The Rate of Ocean Acidification
18/11/08

Ocean Acidification Impacts
18/11/08

Impact of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs and Other Calcifiers
20/10/08

Nature Loss Dwarfs Bank Crisis
10/10/08

The Creation of Artificial Reefs
23/09/08

Iceland - Fossil fuels to Hydrogen-based Economy
17/09/08

The world's oceans at risk from rising acidity
25/07/08

Coral reefs under threat from humans
11/07/08

Ocean Acidification - Plankton hold surprise for Climate Research
28/06/08

Anthropogenic Ocean Acidification over the 21st Century and its Impact on Calcifying Organisms
13/06/08

Mileage from Megawatts
12/06/08

Could US scientists 'CO2 Catcher' help slow warming ?
09/06/08

Sharks Swim Closer to Extinction
22/05/08

Wildlife Populations Plummeting
16/05/08

Introducing Hydrogen Power
30/04/08

Ocean Acidification - Technical Information
28/04/08

Carbon Capture and Storage - UKCCSC Project
28/04/08

Lemon Sharks and Dogfish - Hyperbaric Sensitivity ??
29/03/08

The GAIA Theory
26/03/08

Status of the World's Coral Reefs
24/03/08

Krill, Fishing Threatens the Antarctic
23/03/08

Marine Altruistic Behaviour - - 4 stories
22/03/08

Global Sea Level Changes
22/03/08

Climate Change Controversies - A Simple Guide
21/03/08

Sharks and Coral Reefs (One year on)
10/03/08

Shark Species face extinction amid overfishing and appetite for fins
28/02/08

SCCT Presentation Uptake
11/02/08

Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification
27/01/08

An exchange of views on Marine Reserves and Trophic Cascades
25/01/08

2007
The Effects of Global Warming on the Great Barrier Reef
21/12/07

Microbial Ecology and Evolution:A Discussion at Metagenomics 2006
15/12/07

Habitat Conservation
28/11/07

Marine Balances and Climate Engineering
27/11/07

Oceans are 'soaking up' less CO2
20/10/07

Algal Blooms in the Ocean
08/09/07

UK Marine Bill
15/08/07

Tourism Vs Traditional Fishing
10/08/07

US National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks
29/07/07

Shark Depredation and unwanted Bycatch in Pelagic Longline Fisheries
17/07/07

Ecosystems: Coral Reefs
28/06/07

Shell-shocked
20/06/07

Ongoing Collapse of Coral Reef Shark Population
12/06/07

Shark trade restriction bid fails
12/06/07

Be nicer to sharks
26/05/07

Cascading Effects of the loss of Apex Predatory Sharks from a Coastal Ocean
25/05/07

Sharks are vital for Coral Reef Health
25/05/07

Sharkless Seas
21/05/07