Calcification in changing oceans explored in special issue of The Biological Bulletin

Jul 23, 2014 by Gina Hebert
This is branching coral Acropora sp. Credit: Maria Byrne, University of Sydney

What do mollusks, starfish, and corals have in common? Aside from their shared marine habitat, they are all calcifiers—organisms that use calcium from their environment to create hard carbonate skeletons and shells for stability and protection.

The July issue of The Biological Bulletin, published by the Marine Biological Laboratory, addresses the challenges faced by these species as ocean composition changes worldwide.

As atmospheric carbon dioxide rises, the world's oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic. This impact of threatens the survival of calcifying species because of the reduced saturation of the required for calcification.

The ability to calcify arose independently in many species during the Cambrian era, when calcium levels in seawater increased. This use of promoted biodiversity, including the vast array of calcifiers seen today.

"Today, modern calcifiers face a new and rapidly escalating crisis caused by warming and acidification of the oceans with a reduction in availability of carbonate minerals, a change driven by the increase in atmospheric CO2 due to anthropogenic emissions and industrialization. The CO2 itself can also directly cause metabolic stress," write the issue's co-editors, Maria Byrne of the University of Sydney; and Gretchen Hofmann of the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Contributors to the journal address this timely issue across many taxa and from a variety of perspectives, from genomic to ecosystem-wide.

This is bryozoan Iodictyum yaldwyni. Credit: Abigail M. Smith, University of Otago

Other researchers address lesser-known organisms that are nevertheless critical to marine ecosystems. Abigail Smith of the University of Otago examines how bryozoans, a group of aquatic invertebrate filter-feeders, increase biodiversity by creating niche habitats, and what features make them particularly sensitive to calcium fluctuations.

Evans and Watson-Wynn (California State University-East Bay) take a molecular approach in a meta-analysis showing that is effecting genetic changes in sea urchin larvae. Several papers take a broader population-based view by studying the effect of ocean acidification on predator-prey interactions in mollusks (Kroeker and colleagues of the University of California-Davis) and oysters (Wright and colleagues of the University of Western Sydney).

"The contributors have identified key knowledge gaps in the fast evolving field of marine global change biology and have provided many important insights," the co-editors write.

By sharing research on this topic from researchers around the world, The Biological Bulletin is raising awareness of some of the greatest threats to the oceans today and emphasizing the global nature of the problem.

Explore further: Modern ocean acidification is outpacing ancient upheaval, study suggests

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User comments : 7

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Scottingham
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 23, 2014
Clams and corals need to suck it up!

hahahah, I crack myself up. Marine biology jokes FTW!
Shootist
1 / 5 (4) Jul 23, 2014
ocean acidification


Acidification of seawater: Where the buffers are measured in parts per thousand and the acid is measured in parts per billion and all occurring within a carbonate basin?

I think not.
Vietvet
5 / 5 (3) Jul 23, 2014
ocean acidification


Acidification of seawater: Where the buffers are measured in parts per thousand and the acid is measured in parts per billion and all occurring within a carbonate basin?

I think not.


Your ignorance is showing.
Shootist
1 / 5 (2) Jul 23, 2014
ocean acidification


Acidification of seawater: Where the buffers are measured in parts per thousand and the acid is measured in parts per billion and all occurring within a carbonate basin?

I think not.


Your ignorance is showing.


Buffers, in the parts per thousands; strong basic cations such as sodium, potassium, and calcium? Check
CO2, parts per billion in sea water? Check
Ocean basins generally consists of Calcium Carbonate, the ingredients in ROLAIDS? Check

Ocean acidification, not happening any time soon.

I'll grant that some shallow coastal waters may become less basic, because of solar effects, though certainly not acidic (pH =<7)
howhot2
5 / 5 (3) Jul 24, 2014
Not so, @shootshit, Ocean acidification is of huge concern mainly due the growth of calcium shell diatoms. Diatoms are at the very bottom of the food chain we all learned about in grade school. You do know what the food chain is @snootthis? That is where big fish eat small fish, and bigger fish eat the big fish. It's all part of nature. Well the bottom of the food chain are these calcium shelled creatures called diatoms which can not survive acid. Their shell's melt. and the life form dies.

AGW from CO2 pollution is doing exactly that. CO2 creates acidic oceans from carbolic acid created when CO2 is absorbed in water. The more excess CO2 the more acidic the water and the more diatoms die. The more diatom die, the less food for small fish, and the less small fish for big fish to eat.

If there are no big fish to eat, then how are humans going to eat?
Vietvet
5 / 5 (1) Jul 24, 2014
ocean acidification


Acidification of seawater: Where the buffers are measured in parts per thousand and the acid is measured in parts per billion and all occurring within a carbonate basin?

I think not.


Your ignorance is still showing.
http://www.pmel.n...ation%3F

Your ignorance is showing.


Buffers, in the parts per thousands; strong basic cations such as sodium, potassium, and calcium? Check
CO2, parts per billion in sea water? Check
Ocean basins generally consists of Calcium Carbonate, the ingredients in ROLAIDS? Check

Ocean acidification, not happening any time soon.

I'll grant that some shallow coastal waters may become less basic, because of solar effects, though certainly not acidic (pH =<7)
holoman
5 / 5 (1) Jul 24, 2014
Cheasepeak is already under attack from acidification.

Pretty soon with the blasting for oil off Delmarva expect the fish
population to dwindle.

Then the little oil taballs that aren't supposed to happen from oil explorartion will complete the extinction.