Toxic algal bloom induced by ocean acidification disrupts the pelagic food web.

Riebesell, Ulf , Aberle-Malzahn, Nicole, Achterberg, Eric P. , Alguero-Muniz, Maria, Alvarez-Fernandez, Santiago, Aristegui, Javier, Bach, Lennart T. , Boersma, Maarten , Boxhammer, Tim , Guan, Wanchun, Haunost, Mathias, Horn, Henriette G., Löscher, Carolin R., Ludwig, Andrea, Spisla, Carsten, Sswat, Michael , Stange, Paul and Taucher, Jan (2018) Toxic algal bloom induced by ocean acidification disrupts the pelagic food web. Nature Climate Change, 8 (12). pp. 1082-1086. DOI 10.1038/s41558-018-0344-1.

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Ocean acidification, the change in seawater carbonate chemistry due to the uptake of anthropogenic CO2, affects the physiology of marine organisms in multiple ways1. Diverse competitive and trophic interactions transform the metabolic responses to changes in community composition, seasonal succession and potentially geographical distribution of species. The health of ocean ecosystems depends on whether basic biotic functions are maintained, ecosystem engineers and keystone species are retained, and the spread of nuisance species is avoided2. Here, we show in a field experiment that the toxic microalga Vicicitus globosus has a selective advantage under ocean acidification, increasing its abundance in natural plankton communities at CO2 levels higher than 600 µatm and developing blooms above 800 µatm CO2. The mass development of V. globosus has had a dramatic impact on the plankton community, preventing the development of the micro- and mesozooplankton communities, thereby disrupting trophic transfer of primary produced organic matter. This has prolonged the residence of particulate matter in the water column and caused a strong decline in export flux. Considering its wide geographical distribution and confirmed role in fish kills3, the proliferation of V. globosus under the IPCC4 CO2 emission representative concentration pathway (RCP4.5 to RCP8.5) scenarios may pose an emergent threat to coastal communities, aquaculture and fisheries.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: RV Hesperides, Cuise 29HE20140924, RV Poseidon, POS463, toxic algal bloom, ocean acidification, pelagic food web
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-CH Chemical Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1038/s41558-018-0344-1
ISSN: 1758-678X
Related URLs:
Projects: BIOACID
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2018 11:08
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2021 07:27

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