Effects of ocean acidification on Posidonia oceanica epiphytic community and shoot productivity

  1. Biological interactions can alter predictions that are based on single-species physiological response. It is known that leaf segments of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica will increase photosynthesis with lowered pH, but it is not clear whether the outcome will be altered when the whole plant and its epiphyte community, with different respiratory and photosynthetic demands, are included. In addition, the effects on the Posidonia epiphyte community have rarely been tested under controlled conditions, at near-future pH levels.2. In order to better evaluate the effects of pH levels as projected for the upcoming decades on seagrass meadows, shoots of P. oceanica with their associated epiphytes were exposed in the laboratory to three pH levels (ambient: 8.1, 7.7 and 7.3, on the total scale) for 4 weeks. Net productivity, respiration, net calcification and leaf fluorescence were measured on several occasions. At the end of the study, epiphyte community abundance and composition, calcareous mass and crustose coralline algae growth were determined. Finally, photosynthesis vs. irradiance curves (PE) was produced from segments of secondary leaves cleaned of epiphytes and pigments extracted.3. Posidonia leaf fluorescence and chlorophyll concentrations did not differ between pH treatments. Net productivity of entire shoots and epiphyte-free secondary leaves increased significantly at the lowest pH level yet limited or no stimulation in productivity was observed at the intermediate pH treatment. Under both pH treatments, significant decreases in epiphytic cover were observed, mostly due to the reduction of crustose coralline algae. The loss of the dominant epiphyte producer yet similar photosynthetic response for epiphyte-free secondary leaves and shoots suggests a minimal contribution of epiphytes to shoot productivity under experimental conditions.4. Synthesis. Observed responses indicate that under future ocean acidification conditions foreseen in the next century an increase in Posidonia productivity is not likely despite the partial loss of epiphytic coralline algae which are competitors for light. A decline in epiphytic cover could, however, reduce the feeding capacity of the meadow for invertebrates. In situ long-term experiments that consider both acidification and warming scenarios are needed to improve ecosystem-level predictions.

In order to allow full comparability with other ocean acidification data sets, the R package seacarb (Gattuso et al, 2015) 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 is 2016-04-14.

Supplement to: Cox, T Erin; Schenone, Stefano; Delille, Jeremy; Díaz-Castañeda, Victoria; Alliouane, Samir; Gattuso, Jean-Pierre; Gazeau, Frédéric (2015): Effects of ocean acidification on Posidonia oceanica epiphytic community and shoot productivity. Journal of Ecology, 103(6), 1594-1609

DOI https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.859956
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12477
Related Identifier https://cran.r-project.org/package=seacarb
Metadata Access https://ws.pangaea.de/oai/provider?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=datacite4&identifier=oai:pangaea.de:doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.859956
Creator Cox, T Erin; Schenone, Stefano ORCID logo; Delille, Jeremy ORCID logo; Díaz-Castañeda, Victoria ORCID logo; Alliouane, Samir; Gattuso, Jean-Pierre ORCID logo; Gazeau, Frédéric ORCID logo
Publisher PANGAEA
Contributor Yang, Yan
Publication Year 2015
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset; Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 13278 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (7.323 LON, 43.679 LAT)