Abstract

Specimens of Bolivina argentea and Bulimina marginata, two widely distributed temperate benthic foraminiferal species, were cultured at constant temperature and controlled pCO2 (ambient, 1000 ppmv, and 2000 ppmv) for six weeks to assess the effect of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations on survival and fitness using Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) analyses and on shell microfabric using high-resolution SEM and image analysis. To characterize the carbonate chemistry of the incubation seawater, total alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon were measured approximately every two weeks. Survival and fitness were not directly affected by elevated pCO2 and the concomitant decrease in seawater pH and calcite saturation states (Ωc), even when seawater was undersaturated with respect to calcite. These results differ from some previous observations that ocean acidification can cause a variety of effects on benthic foraminifera, including test dissolution, decreased growth, and mottling (loss of symbiont color in symbiont-bearing species), suggesting that the benthic foraminiferal response to ocean acidification may be species specific. If so, this implies that ocean acidification may lead to ecological winners and losers even within the same taxonomic group.

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