Abstract

The present study investigated the combined effects of ocean acidification, temperature, and salinity on growth and test degradation of Ammonia aomoriensis. This species is one of the dominant benthic foraminifera in near-coastal habitats of the southwestern Baltic Sea that can be particularly sensitive to changes in seawater carbonate chemistry. To assess potential responses to ocean acidification and climate change, we performed a fully crossed experiment involving three temperatures (8, 13, and 18°C), three salinities (15, 20, and 25) and four pCO2 levels (566, 1195, 2108, and 3843 μatm) for six weeks. Our results highlight a sensitive response of A. aomoriensis to undersaturated seawater with respect to calcite. The specimens continued to grow and increase their test diameter in treatments with pCO2 <1200 μatm, when Ωcalc >1. Growth rates declined when pCO2 exceeded 1200 μatm (Ωcalc <1). A significant reduction in test diameter and number of tests due to dissolution was observed below a critical Ωcalc of 0.5. Elevated temperature (18°C) led to increased Ωcalc, larger test diameter, and lower test degradation. Maximal growth was observed at 18°C. No significant relationship was observed between salinity and test growth. Lowered and undersaturated Ωcalc, which results from increasing pCO2 in bottom waters, may cause a significant future decline of the population density of A. aomoriensis in its natural environment. At the same time, this effect might be partially compensated by temperature rise due to global warming.

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