Tropical CO seeps reveal the impact of ocean acidification on coral reef invertebrate recruitment.
- Citation data:
Marine pollution bulletin, ISSN: 1879-3363, Vol: 124, Issue: 2, Page: 607-613
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- Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Earth and Planetary Sciences; Environmental Science; Medicine
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Rising atmospheric CO concentrations are causing ocean acidification by reducing seawater pH and carbonate saturation levels. Laboratory studies have demonstrated that many larval and juvenile marine invertebrates are vulnerable to these changes in surface ocean chemistry, but challenges remain in predicting effects at community and ecosystem levels. We investigated the effect of ocean acidification on invertebrate recruitment at two coral reef CO seeps in Papua New Guinea. Invertebrate communities differed significantly between 'reference' (median pH7.97, 8.00), 'high CO' (median pH7.77, 7.79), and 'extreme CO' (median pH7.32, 7.68) conditions at each reef. There were also significant reductions in calcifying taxa, copepods and amphipods as CO levels increased. The observed shifts in recruitment were comparable to those previously described in the Mediterranean, revealing an ecological mechanism by which shallow coastal systems are affected by near-future levels of ocean acidification.