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Coral macrobioerosion is accelerated by ocean acidification and nutrients

Thomas M. DeCarlo, Anne L. Cohen, Hannah C. Barkley, Quinn Cobban, Charles Young, Kathryn E. Shamberger, Russell E. Brainard and Yimnang Golbuu
Coral macrobioerosion is accelerated by ocean acidification and nutrients
Geology (Boulder) (November 2014) 43 (1): 7-10


Coral reefs exist in a delicate balance between calcium carbonate (CaCO (sub 3) ) production and CaCO (sub 3) loss. Ocean acidification (OA), the CO (sub 2) -driven decline in seawater pH and CaCO (sub 3) saturation state (Omega ), threatens to tip this balance by decreasing calcification and increasing erosion and dissolution. While multiple CO (sub 2) manipulation experiments show coral calcification declines under OA, the sensitivity of bioerosion to OA is less well understood. Previous work suggests that coral and coral-reef bioerosion increase with decreasing seawater Omega . However, in the surface ocean, Omega and nutrient concentrations often covary, making their relative influence difficult to resolve. Here, we exploit unique natural gradients in Omega and nutrients across the Pacific basin to quantify the impact of these factors, together and independently, on macrobioerosion rates of coral skeletons. Using an automated program to quantify macrobioerosion in three-dimensional computerized tomography (CT) scans of coral cores, we show that macrobioerosion rates of live Porites colonies in both low-nutrient (oligotrophic) and high-nutrient (>1 mu M nitrate) waters increase significantly as Omega decreases. However, the sensitivity of macrobioerosion to Omega is ten times greater under high-nutrient conditions. Our results demonstrate that OA (decreased Omega ) alone can increase coral macrobioerosion rates, but the interaction of OA with local stressors exacerbates its impact, accelerating a shift toward net CaCO (sub 3) removal from coral reefs.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 43
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Coral macrobioerosion is accelerated by ocean acidification and nutrients
Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography, Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, United States
Pages: 7-10
Published: 20141114
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 33
Accession Number: 2014-102424
Categories: Sedimentary petrology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2015015
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table
Secondary Affiliation: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA, United StatesFalmouth Academy, USA, United StatesNOAA, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, USA, United StatesPalau International Coral Reef Center, PLW, Palau
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201451
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