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Letter. Changes in pH at the exterior surface of plankton with ocean acidification

Letter. Changes in pH at the exterior surface of plankton with ocean acidification
Letter. Changes in pH at the exterior surface of plankton with ocean acidification
Anthropogenically released CO2 is dissolving in the ocean, causing a decrease in bulk-seawater pH (ocean acidification). Projections indicate that the pH will drop 0.3 units from its present value by 2100 (ref. 1). However, it is unclear how the growth of plankton is likely to respond. Using simulations we demonstrate how pH and carbonate chemistry at the exterior surface of marine organisms deviates increasingly from those of the bulk sea water as organism metabolic activity and size increases. These deviations will increase in the future as the buffering capacity of sea water decreases with decreased pH and as metabolic activity increases with raised seawater temperatures. We show that many marine plankton will experience pH conditions completely outside their recent historical range. However, ocean acidification is likely to have differing impacts on plankton physiology as taxon-specific differences in organism size, metabolic activity and growth rates during blooms result in very different microenvironments around the organism. This is an important consideration for future studies in ocean acidification as the carbonate chemistry experienced by most planktonic organisms will probably be considerably different from that measured in bulk-seawater samples. An understanding of these deviations will assist interpretation of the impacts of ocean acidification on plankton of different size and metabolic activity.

1758-678X
510-513
Flynn, Kevin J.
cd4993dd-06a3-4991-9dc2-8328e58d39ac
Blackford, Jerry C.
1e521a0a-bc9e-4c38-bbb9-60dd2009e63a
Baird, Mark E.
0d7b40b8-a929-46ff-9554-aac9b7889158
Raven, John A.
14fe7c12-caab-4cc6-a68f-a8a9c5aa271a
Clark, Darren R.
d7547806-f2b6-41dd-a0d2-b4ff8cf9df13
Beardall, John
c0986ebc-a8cf-4f91-95b2-4814ade118de
Brownlee, Colin
2af37c1c-b2bf-4832-8370-d9c35e7b3385
Fabian, Heiner
3c44945c-272a-4a0c-b1d2-93f3b4576c13
Wheeler, Glen L.
80ee477b-ceb3-4051-923c-399098bb746a
Flynn, Kevin J.
cd4993dd-06a3-4991-9dc2-8328e58d39ac
Blackford, Jerry C.
1e521a0a-bc9e-4c38-bbb9-60dd2009e63a
Baird, Mark E.
0d7b40b8-a929-46ff-9554-aac9b7889158
Raven, John A.
14fe7c12-caab-4cc6-a68f-a8a9c5aa271a
Clark, Darren R.
d7547806-f2b6-41dd-a0d2-b4ff8cf9df13
Beardall, John
c0986ebc-a8cf-4f91-95b2-4814ade118de
Brownlee, Colin
2af37c1c-b2bf-4832-8370-d9c35e7b3385
Fabian, Heiner
3c44945c-272a-4a0c-b1d2-93f3b4576c13
Wheeler, Glen L.
80ee477b-ceb3-4051-923c-399098bb746a

Flynn, Kevin J., Blackford, Jerry C., Baird, Mark E., Raven, John A., Clark, Darren R., Beardall, John, Brownlee, Colin, Fabian, Heiner and Wheeler, Glen L. (2012) Letter. Changes in pH at the exterior surface of plankton with ocean acidification. Nature Climate Change, 2012 (2), 510-513. (doi:10.1038/nclimate1489).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Anthropogenically released CO2 is dissolving in the ocean, causing a decrease in bulk-seawater pH (ocean acidification). Projections indicate that the pH will drop 0.3 units from its present value by 2100 (ref. 1). However, it is unclear how the growth of plankton is likely to respond. Using simulations we demonstrate how pH and carbonate chemistry at the exterior surface of marine organisms deviates increasingly from those of the bulk sea water as organism metabolic activity and size increases. These deviations will increase in the future as the buffering capacity of sea water decreases with decreased pH and as metabolic activity increases with raised seawater temperatures. We show that many marine plankton will experience pH conditions completely outside their recent historical range. However, ocean acidification is likely to have differing impacts on plankton physiology as taxon-specific differences in organism size, metabolic activity and growth rates during blooms result in very different microenvironments around the organism. This is an important consideration for future studies in ocean acidification as the carbonate chemistry experienced by most planktonic organisms will probably be considerably different from that measured in bulk-seawater samples. An understanding of these deviations will assist interpretation of the impacts of ocean acidification on plankton of different size and metabolic activity.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 15 April 2012
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

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Local EPrints ID: 340269
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/340269
ISSN: 1758-678X
PURE UUID: a4cced0c-4856-44ca-a478-6d850515e0e5

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Date deposited: 18 Jun 2012 09:29
Last modified: 07 Jan 2022 21:21

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Contributors

Author: Kevin J. Flynn
Author: Jerry C. Blackford
Author: Mark E. Baird
Author: John A. Raven
Author: Darren R. Clark
Author: John Beardall
Author: Colin Brownlee
Author: Heiner Fabian
Author: Glen L. Wheeler

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