How good are we at assessing the impact of ocean acidification in coastal systems? Limitations, omissions and strengths of commonly used experimental approaches with a special emphasis on the neglected role of fluctuations.

Wahl, Martin , Saderne, Vincent and Sawall, Yvonne (2016) How good are we at assessing the impact of ocean acidification in coastal systems? Limitations, omissions and strengths of commonly used experimental approaches with a special emphasis on the neglected role of fluctuations. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67 (1). pp. 25-36. DOI 10.1071/MF14154.

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Abstract

Much of our past research on ocean acidification has focussed on direct responses to pCO2 increase at the (sub-) organism level, but does not produce findings that can be projected into the natural context. On the basis of a review of ~350 recent articles mainly on ocean acidification effects, we highlight major limitations of commonly used experimental approaches. Thus, the most common type of investigation, simplified and tightly controlled laboratory experiments, has yielded a wealth of findings on short-term physiological responses to acidification, but any extrapolation to the natural ecosystem level is still problematic. For this purpose, an upscaling is required regarding the number of stressors, of ontogenetic stages, of species, of populations, of generations as well as the incorporation of fluctuating intensities of stress. Because the last aspect seems to be the least recognised, we treat in more detail the natural fluctuations of the carbonate system at different temporal and spatial scales. We report on the very rare investigations that have assessed the biological relevance of natural pH or pCO2 fluctuations. We conclude by pleading the case for more natural research approaches that integrate several organisational levels on the response side, several drivers, biological interactions and environmental fluctuations at various scales.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000367259300004
Keywords: amplitudes at different scales, boundary layers, coastal habitats, fluctuations v. constant regimes, global change
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R08
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1071/MF14154
ISSN: 1323-1650
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2014 08:41
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:17
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/26109

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