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Phytoplankton blooms at increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide: experimental evidence for negative effects on prymnesiophytes and positive on small picoeukaryotes
Frontiers in Marine Science
  • Kai G Schulz, Southern Cross University
  • Lennart T Bach, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Richard G J Bellerby, East China Normal University
  • Rafael Bermudez, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Jan Budenbender, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Tim Boxhammer, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Jan Czerny, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Anja Engel, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Andrea Ludwig, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Michael Meyerhofer, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Aud Larsen, Hjort Centre for Marine Ecosystems Dynamics
  • Allanah J Paul, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Michael Sswat, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Ulf Riebesell, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2017
Peer Reviewed
Peer-Reviewed
Abstract
Anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the ongoing accumulation in the surface ocean together with concomitantly decreasing pH and calcium carbonate saturation states have the potential to impact phytoplankton community composition and therefore biogeochemical element cycling on a global scale. Here we report on a recent mesocosm CO2 perturbation study (Raunefjorden, Norway), with a focus on organic matter and phytoplankton dynamics. Cell numbers of three phytoplankton groups were particularly affected by increasing levels of seawater CO2 throughout the entire experiment, with the cyanobacterium Synechococcus and picoeukaryotes (prasinophytes) profiting, and the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (prymnesiophyte) being negatively impacted. Combining these results with other phytoplankton community CO2 experiments into a data-set of global coverage suggests that, whenever CO2 effects are found, prymnesiophyte (especially coccolithophore) abundances are negatively affected, while the opposite holds true for small picoeukaryotes belonging to the class of prasinophytes, or the division of chlorophytes in general. Future reductions in calcium carbonate-producing coccolithophores, providing ballast which accelerates the sinking of particulate organic matter, together with increases in picoeukaryotes, an important component of the microbial loop in the euphotic zone, have the potential to impact marine export production, with feedbacks to Earth’s climate system.
Citation Information

Schulz KG, Bach LT, Bellerby RGJ, Bermúdez R, Büdenbender J, Boxhammer T, Czerny J, Engel A, Ludwig A, Meyerhöfer M, Larsen A, Paul AJ, Sswat M & Riebesell U 2017, 'Phytoplankton blooms at increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide: Experimental evidence for negative effects on prymnesiophytes and positive on small picoeukaryotes', Frontiers in Marine Science vol. 4, no. 64. pp. 1-18.

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