Seawater carbonate chemistry and mass fluxes and elemental composition of particulate export in KOSMOS mesocosm experiments (2010-2014)


Diatoms account for up to 40% of marine primary production and require silicic acid to grow and build their opal shell. On the physiological and ecological level, diatoms are thought to be resistant to, or even benefit from, ocean acidification. Yet, global-scale responses and implications for biogeochemical cycles in the future ocean remain largely unknown. Here we conducted five in situ mesocosm experiments with natural plankton communities in different biomes and find that ocean acidification increases the elemental ratio of silicon (Si) to nitrogen (N) of sinking biogenic matter by 17 ± 6 per cent under pCO2 conditions projected for the year 2100. This shift in Si:N seems to be caused by slower chemical dissolution of silica at decreasing seawater pH. We test this finding with global sediment trap data, which confirm a widespread influence of pH on Si:N in the oceanic water column. Earth system model simulations show that a future pH-driven decrease in silica dissolution of sinking material reduces the availability of silicic acid in the surface ocean, triggering a global decline of diatoms by 13–26 per cent due to ocean acidification by the year 2200. This outcome contrasts sharply with the conclusions of previous experimental studies, thereby illustrating how our current understanding of biological impacts of ocean change can be considerably altered at the global scale through unexpected feedback mechanisms in the Earth system.

In order to allow full comparability with other ocean acidification data sets, the R package seacarb (Gattuso et al, 2021) was used to compute a complete and consistent set of carbonate system variables, as described by Nisumaa et al. (2010). In this dataset the original values were archived in addition with the recalculated parameters (see related PI). The date of carbonate chemistry calculation by seacarb is 2022-07-13.

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Metadata Access
Creator Taucher, Jan (ORCID: 0000-0001-9944-0775); Bach, Lennart Thomas (ORCID: 0000-0003-0202-3671); Prowe, Friederike (ORCID: 0000-0001-5281-4696); Boxhammer, Tim (ORCID: 0000-0002-9632-5947); Kvale, Karin F (ORCID: 0000-0001-8043-5431); Riebesell, Ulf (ORCID: 0000-0002-9442-452X)
Publisher PANGAEA
Contributor Yang, Yan
Publication Year 2022
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International;
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 22257 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-15.365W, 27.928S, 23.258E, 78.954N); Svalbard; Gullmar Fjord, Skagerrak, Sweden
Temporal Coverage Begin 2010-06-08T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2014-10-26T00:00:00Z