Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ocean acidification makes coralline algae less robust

08.02.2016

Ocean acidification (the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere), is affecting the formation of the skeleton of coralline algae which play an important part in marine biodiversity, new research from the University of Bristol, UK has found.

Coralline red algae form maerl beds which provide important habitat in shallow waters, including the UK coastal shelf. Maerl hosts a high diversity of organisms by providing habitats, shelter and nursery areas for, amongst others, fish larvae and young scallops. Both coralline algae and the maerl beds they generate are protected by national and international regulation as they form biodiversity hotspots and support fisheries.


This is coralline algae (with a scale bar of 1cm). New research from the University of Bristol, UK has found that ocean acidification is affecting the formation of the skeleton of coralline algae which play an important part in marine biodiversity.

Credit: Leanne Melbourne

The skeletal structure of coralline algae is composed of high- magnesium calcite, the most soluble form of calcium carbonate, and is therefore potentially vulnerable to the change in carbonate chemistry resulting from the absorption of man-made CO2 by the ocean.

Previous Bristol-led research has shown that ocean acidification affects coralline algae by reducing the thickness of their cell walls and thus their structural strength, crucial for withstanding natural stresses such as wave movement or grazing. It also showed that, given enough time, the algae can acclimatise and continue to grow.

In a new study, published today in Scientific Reports, Dr Federica Ragazzola and colleagues assessed this new growth to see whether it is of the same quality as before and hence whether coralline algae are able to grow as strong a skeleton under climate change conditions. The strength of this skeletal structure is important as it impacts the ability of alga to provide shelter for other species.

The researchers found that, under ocean acidification, the chemical composition of the skeleton is changing, making it potentially more brittle.

Professor Daniela Schmidt, Head of Global Change at the Cabot Institute and senior author of the study said: "Our research suggests that in the near future these organisms are not sufficiently calcified to provide habitat for other species. Coralline algae support a huge variety of marine life, with more than 460 species associated with their beds including economically important species such as scallops.

"While a number of studies have now shown that coralline algae can continue to grow even in challenging environmental conditions, it is fundamentally important that we combine these physiological studies with potential impacts on the structural integrity of the skeleton and its consequences to habitat formation."

###

Paper

'Impact of high CO2 on the geochemistry of the coralline algae Lithothamnion glaciale' by F. Ragazzola, L.C. Foster, C.J. Jones, T B. Scott, J. Fietzke, Matt R. Kilburn and D.N. Schmidt in Scientific Reports

Media Contact

Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8896

 @BristolUni

http://www.bristol.ac.uk 

Hannah Johnson | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How gut bacteria can make us ill

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

On track to heal leukaemia

18.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>