Seawater carbonate chemistry and structural integrity of the coralline algae Lithothamnion glaciale in a laboratory experiment


The uptake of anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide is resulting in a lowering of the carbonate saturation state and a drop in ocean pH. Understanding how marine calcifying organisms such as coralline algae may acclimatize to ocean acidification is important to understand their survival over the coming century. We present the first long-term perturbation experiment on the cold-water coralline algae, which are important marine calcifiers in the benthic ecosystems particularly at the higher latitudes. Lithothamnion glaciale, after three months incubation, continued to calcify even in undersaturated conditions with a significant trend towards lower growth rates with increasing pCO2. However, the major changes in the ultra-structure occur by 589 µatm (i.e. in saturated waters). Finite element models of the algae grown at these heightened levels show an increase in the total strain energy of nearly an order of magnitude and an uneven distribution of the stress inside the skeleton when subjected to similar loads as algae grown at ambient levels. This weakening of the structure is likely to reduce the ability of the alga to resist boring by predators and wave energy with severe consequences to the benthic community structure in the immediate future (50 years).

In order to allow full comparability with other ocean acidification data sets, the R package seacarb (Lavigne and Gattuso, 2011) 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 2013-11-29.

Supplement to: Ragazzola, Federica; Foster, Laura C; Form, Armin; Anderson, Phillip S L; Hansteen, Thor H; Fietzke, Jan (2012): Ocean acidification weakens the structural integrity of coralline algae. Global Change Biology, 18(9), 2804-2812

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Metadata Access
Creator Ragazzola, Federica ORCID logo; Foster, Laura C; Form, Armin; Anderson, Phillip S L; Hansteen, Thor H ORCID logo; Fietzke, Jan ORCID logo
Publisher PANGAEA
Contributor Yang, Yan
Publication Year 2012
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset; Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 152 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (11.583 LON, 57.010 LAT)
Temporal Coverage Begin 2010-06-01T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2010-06-30T00:00:00Z