More CO2 will make it harder for tiny shelled organisms to maintain the ocean’s carbon cycle, new research suggests.
For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists at the University of California, Davis, raised foraminifera—single-celled organisms about the size of a grain of sand—under future, high CO2 conditions. These tiny organisms, commonly called “forams,” are ubiquitous in marine environments and play a key role in food webs and the ocean carbon cycle.
After exposing them to a range of acidity levels, scientists found that under high CO2, or more acidic, conditions, the foraminifera had trouble building their shells and making spines, an important feature of their shells.
They also showed signs of physiological stress, reducing their metabolism and slowing their respiration to undetectable levels.
This is the first study of its kind to show the combined impact of shell building, spine repair, and physiological stress in foraminifera under high CO2 conditions. The study suggests that stressed and impaired foraminifera could indicate a larger scale disruption of carbon cycling in the ocean.
‘Not out-of-sight, out-of-mind’
As a marine calcifier, foraminifera use calcium carbonate to build their shells, a process that plays an integral part in balancing the carbon cycle.
Normally, healthy foraminifera calcify their shells and sink to the ocean floor after they die, taking the calcite with them. This moves alkalinity, which helps neutralize acidity, to the seafloor.
When foraminifera calcify less, their ability to neutralize acidity also lessens, making the deep ocean more acidic.
But what happens in the deep ocean doesn’t stay in the deep ocean.
“It’s not out-of-sight, out-of-mind,” says lead author Catherine Davis, a doctoral student at UC Davis during the study and now a postdoctoral associate at the University of South Carolina. “That acidified water from the deep will rise again. If we do something that acidifies the deep ocean, that affects atmospheric and ocean carbon dioxide concentrations on time scales of thousands of years.”
Davis says the geologic record shows that such imbalances have occurred in the world’s oceans before, but only during times of major change.
“This points to one of the longer time-scale effects of anthropogenic climate change that we don’t understand yet,” Davis says.
A window into the future
One way acidified water returns to the surface is through upwelling, when strong winds periodically push nutrient-rich water from the deep ocean up to the surface. Upwelling supports some of the planet’s most productive fisheries and ecosystems. But additional anthropogenic, or human-caused, CO2 in the system is expected to impact fisheries and coastal ecosystems.
UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Laboratory in Northern California is near one of the world’s most intense coastal upwelling areas. At times, it experiences conditions most of the ocean isn’t expected to experience for decades or hundreds of years.
“Seasonal upwelling means that we have an opportunity to study organisms in high CO2, acidic waters today—a window into how the ocean may look more often in the future,” says coauthor Tessa Hill, an associate professor in earth and planetary sciences. “We might have expected that a species of foraminifera well-adapted to Northern California wouldn’t respond negatively to high CO2 conditions, but that expectation was wrong.
“This study provides insight into how an important marine calcifier may respond to future conditions, and send ripple effects through food webs and carbon The study’s other coauthors are from UC Davis and Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The National Science Foundation and the Cushman Foundation Johanna M. Resig Fellowship supported the study.
Source: UC Davis
Sale Price: $28.00 $18.30 You save: $9.70
Ocean's plan includes 31 simple and affordable step-by-step actions that give you a road map to healthy, ethical, and sustainable food. He breaks it down into four parts:
- Detoxify: Get rid of the unhealthy foods and environmental factors making you sick.
- Nourish: Fuel your body with the healthy micronutrients you need to thrive.
- Gather: Build your community and surround yourself with supportive, positive people.
- Transform: YOU can be part of the solution. It's a lot easier to change the world than you imagine!
You'll discover amazing secrets, such as how to stop food cravings, why nuts are one of the best snack foods, time-saving habits, and how to catch dangerous ingredients hiding in food labels.
In his nonjudgmental and down-to-earth way, Ocean Robbins meets you wherever you are on your personal journey with food. Then, he provides you with tools that make it easy to eat less sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy animal products-and to happily enjoy whole plant foods, and more fair trade, local, organic, and otherwise consciously sourced fare. Ocean helps you make small improvements that lead to big results. If you want to feel better, enjoy your food more, and help sustain the planet, start reading this book today. In just 31 days you can change your health for the better. And your body will thank you for the rest of your life.
Learn how to...
*Awake with energy and enthusiasm each day
*Let go of toxic Age Myths thwarting your happiness
*Keep your brain fit regardless of age
*Nourish your mind and ward off dementia
*Reverse self-defeating thinking habits sabotaging your health and well-being
*Enjoy life in spite of challenges you face
*Break free from barriers to happy aging
Discover essential tools and strategies for healthy and vibrant aging!
Sale Price: $17.00 $13.74 You save: $3.26
--John Gray, PhD., bestselling author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
We already rely on science to tell us what to eat, when to exercise, and how long to sleep. Why not use science to help us improve our relationships? In this revolutionary book, psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller scientifically explain why why some people seem to navigate relationships effortlessly, while others struggle.
Discover how an understanding of adult attachment—the most advanced relationship science in existence today—can help us find and sustain love. Pioneered by psychologist John Bowlby in the 1950s, the field of attachment posits that each of us behaves in relationships in one of three distinct ways:
• Avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.
• Secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.
Attached guides readers in determining what attachment style they and their mate (or potential mate) follow, offering a road map for building stronger, more fulfilling connections with the people they love.