Hidden impacts of ocean acidification to live and dead coral framework

S. J. Hennige, L. C. Wicks, N. A. Kamenos, G. Perna, H. S. Findlay, J. M. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Cold-water corals, such as Lophelia pertusa, are key habitat-forming organisms found throughout the world’s oceans to 3000 m deep. The complex threedimensional framework made by these vulnerable marine ecosystems support high biodiversity and commercially important species. Given their importance, a key question is how both the living and the dead framework will fare under projected climate change. Here, we demonstrate that over 12 months L. pertusa can physiologically acclimate to increased CO<inf>2</inf>, showing sustained net calcification. However, their new skeletal structure changes and exhibits decreased crystallographic and molecular-scale bonding organization. Although physiological acclimatization was evident, we also demonstrate that there is a negative correlation between increasing CO<inf>2</inf> levels and breaking strength of exposed framework (approx. 20–30% weaker after 12 months), meaning the exposed bases of reefs will be less effective ‘load-bearers’, and will become more susceptible to bioerosion and mechanical damage by 2100.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20150990
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume282
Issue number1813
Early online date19 Aug 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

Keywords

  • Biomineralization
  • Calcification
  • Climate change
  • Cold-water corals
  • Lophelia pertusa
  • Ocean acidification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Hennige, S. J., Wicks, L. C., Kamenos, N. A., Perna, G., Findlay, H. S., & Roberts, J. M. (2015). Hidden impacts of ocean acidification to live and dead coral framework. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1813), [20150990]. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.0990