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Species-specific calcite production reveals Coccolithus pelagicus as the key calcifier in the Arctic Ocean

Species-specific calcite production reveals Coccolithus pelagicus as the key calcifier in the Arctic Ocean
Species-specific calcite production reveals Coccolithus pelagicus as the key calcifier in the Arctic Ocean
Through the production and export of their calcite coccoliths, coccolithophores form a key component of the global carbon cycle. Despite this key role, very little is known about the biogeochemical role of different coccolithophore species in terms of calcite production, and how these species will respond to future climate change and ocean acidification. Here we present the first study to estimate species-specific calcite production, from samples collected in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic Iceland Basin in June 2012. We show that although the coccolithophorid Coccolithus pelagicus comprised only a small fraction of the total community in terms of abundance (2%), our estimates indicate that it was the major calcite producer in the Arctic Ocean and Iceland Basin (57% of total calcite production). In contrast, Emiliania huxleyi formed 27% of the total abundance and was responsible for only 20% of the calcite production. That C. pelagicus was able to dominate calcite production was due to its relatively high cellular calcite content compared with the other species present. Our results demonstrate for the first time the importance of investigating the complete coccolithophore community when considering pelagic calcite production, as relatively rare but heavily calcified species such as C. pelagicus can be the key calcite producers in mixed communities. The response of C. pelagicus to ocean acidification and climate change has the potential therefore to have a major impact on carbon cycling within the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean.
Coccolithophores, Calcification, Arctic Ocean
29-47
Daniels, Chris J.
aec2572b-e302-4f8e-ab7a-86b8bdf1c155
Poulton, Alex J.
14bf64a7-d617-4913-b882-e8495543e717
Young, Jeremy R.
18d63549-d248-4012-91b1-64382581ef53
Esposito, Mario
ec7184a9-d60e-4255-a8ea-5636d960d5df
Humphreys, Matthew P.
40cb219a-c2dd-4581-94d0-52fb1c992498
Ribas-Ribas, Mariana
85a1f816-cfbd-4a9d-83ff-28611827edcd
Tynan, Eithne
dfed4bbd-ea2a-4ff9-81f5-de2af563943b
Tyrrell, Toby
6808411d-c9cf-47a3-88b6-c7c294f2d114
Daniels, Chris J.
aec2572b-e302-4f8e-ab7a-86b8bdf1c155
Poulton, Alex J.
14bf64a7-d617-4913-b882-e8495543e717
Young, Jeremy R.
18d63549-d248-4012-91b1-64382581ef53
Esposito, Mario
ec7184a9-d60e-4255-a8ea-5636d960d5df
Humphreys, Matthew P.
40cb219a-c2dd-4581-94d0-52fb1c992498
Ribas-Ribas, Mariana
85a1f816-cfbd-4a9d-83ff-28611827edcd
Tynan, Eithne
dfed4bbd-ea2a-4ff9-81f5-de2af563943b
Tyrrell, Toby
6808411d-c9cf-47a3-88b6-c7c294f2d114

Daniels, Chris J., Poulton, Alex J., Young, Jeremy R., Esposito, Mario, Humphreys, Matthew P., Ribas-Ribas, Mariana, Tynan, Eithne and Tyrrell, Toby (2016) Species-specific calcite production reveals Coccolithus pelagicus as the key calcifier in the Arctic Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 555, 29-47. (doi:10.3354/meps11820).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Through the production and export of their calcite coccoliths, coccolithophores form a key component of the global carbon cycle. Despite this key role, very little is known about the biogeochemical role of different coccolithophore species in terms of calcite production, and how these species will respond to future climate change and ocean acidification. Here we present the first study to estimate species-specific calcite production, from samples collected in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic Iceland Basin in June 2012. We show that although the coccolithophorid Coccolithus pelagicus comprised only a small fraction of the total community in terms of abundance (2%), our estimates indicate that it was the major calcite producer in the Arctic Ocean and Iceland Basin (57% of total calcite production). In contrast, Emiliania huxleyi formed 27% of the total abundance and was responsible for only 20% of the calcite production. That C. pelagicus was able to dominate calcite production was due to its relatively high cellular calcite content compared with the other species present. Our results demonstrate for the first time the importance of investigating the complete coccolithophore community when considering pelagic calcite production, as relatively rare but heavily calcified species such as C. pelagicus can be the key calcite producers in mixed communities. The response of C. pelagicus to ocean acidification and climate change has the potential therefore to have a major impact on carbon cycling within the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean.

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Submitted date: November 2015
Accepted/In Press date: 27 June 2016
Published date: August 2016
Keywords: Coccolithophores, Calcification, Arctic Ocean
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Biogeochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 384038
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/384038
PURE UUID: df168b56-f158-47ed-98c9-bb660c03ac99
ORCID for Matthew P. Humphreys: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9371-7128
ORCID for Toby Tyrrell: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1002-1716

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Jun 2016 14:11
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 03:23

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Contributors

Author: Chris J. Daniels
Author: Alex J. Poulton
Author: Jeremy R. Young
Author: Mario Esposito
Author: Matthew P. Humphreys ORCID iD
Author: Mariana Ribas-Ribas
Author: Eithne Tynan
Author: Toby Tyrrell ORCID iD

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