[Coral-List] Decreased abundance of CCA due to ocean acidification

Ilsa B Kuffner ikuffner at usgs.gov
Tue Jan 8 10:22:45 EST 2008

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the publication of our paper in the new journal 
Nature Geoscience: 

Decreased abundance of crustose coralline algae due to ocean acidification
Ilsa B. Kuffner1, Andreas J. Andersson2,3, Paul L. Jokiel4, Ku'ulei S. 
Rodgers4 & Fred T. Mackenzie2
Owing to anthropogenic emissions, atmospheric concentrations of carbon 
dioxide could almost double between 2006 and 2100 according to 
business-as-usual carbon dioxide emission scenarios1. Because the ocean 
absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere2, 3, 4, increasing atmospheric 
carbon dioxide concentrations will lead to increasing dissolved inorganic 
carbon and carbon dioxide in surface ocean waters, and hence acidification 
and lower carbonate saturation states2, 5. As a consequence, it has been 
suggested that marine calcifying organisms, for example corals, coralline 
algae, molluscs and foraminifera, will have difficulties producing their 
skeletons and shells at current rates6, 7, with potentially severe 
implications for marine ecosystems, including coral reefs6, 8, 9, 10, 11. 
Here we report a seven-week experiment exploring the effects of ocean 
acidification on crustose coralline algae, a cosmopolitan group of 
calcifying algae that is ecologically important in most shallow-water 
habitats12, 13, 14. Six outdoor mesocosms were continuously supplied with 
sea water from the adjacent reef and manipulated to simulate conditions of 
either ambient or elevated seawater carbon dioxide concentrations. The 
recruitment rate and growth of crustose coralline algae were severely 
inhibited in the elevated carbon dioxide mesocosms. Our findings suggest 
that ocean acidification due to human activities could cause significant 
change to benthic community structure in shallow-warm-water carbonate 
1.      US Geological Survey, Florida Integrated Science Center, St 
Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA 
2.      University of Hawaii, Department of Oceanography, 1000 Pope Road, 
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA 
3.      Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, 17 Biological Lane, St 
George's, GE01, Bermuda 
4.      Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, PO Box 1346, Kaneohe, Hawaii 
96744, USA 

For those interested in obtaining a pdf of the paper:
If your institution does not have a subscription to Nature Geoscience, you 
can either register at the website http://www.nature.com/ngeo/index.html 
to obtain the paper as a one-time free sample (go to the abstract, click 
on the pdf icon, and it will bring up the registration page), or you can 
email me personally at ikuffner at usgs.gov to request a copy.

Best regards, Ilsa and co-authors

P.s. There is also a short blurb about the paper in the NY Times science 
section today (1/8/08).  Unfortunately, they got the pH scale upside-down, 
which was surprising to me, but testament to how vigilant we have to be in 
explaining the process of ocean acidification to the media and the public.

Ilsa B. Kuffner, Ph.D.
Research Ecologist, FISC
Coastal and Watershed Science Team

US Geological Survey
Florida Integrated Science Center
600 4th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Tel: (727) 803-8747 ext. 3048
Fax: (727) 803-2030
Email: ikuffner at usgs.gov

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