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.
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."
'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
Hannah Johnson | EurekAlert!
Hidden river once flowed beneath Antarctic ice
22.08.2017 | Rice University
Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter
17.08.2017 | Swansea University
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy