Meyer, Friedrich W., Vogel, Nikolas, Diele, Karen, Kunzmann, Andreas, Uthicke, Sven and Wild, Christian (2016) Effects of High Dissolved Inorganic and Organic Carbon Availability on the Physiology of the Hard Coral Acropora millepora from the Great Barrier Reef. PLOS ONE, 11 (3). e0149598. DOI

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Coral reefs are facing major global and local threats due to climate change-induced increases in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and because of land-derived increases in organic and inorganic nutrients. Recent research revealed that high availability of labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC) negatively affects scleractinian corals. Studies on the interplay of these factors, however, are lacking, but urgently needed to understand coral reef functioning under present and near future conditions. This experimental study investigated the individual and combined effects of ambient and high DIC (pCO2 403 μatm/ pHTotal 8.2 and 996 μatm/pHTotal 7.8) and DOC (added as Glucose 0 and 294 μmol L-1, background DOC concentration of 83 μmol L-1) availability on the physiology (net and gross photosynthesis, respiration, dark and light calcification, and growth) of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora (Ehrenberg, 1834) from the Great Barrier Reef over a 16 day interval. High DIC availability did not affect photosynthesis, respiration and light calcification, but significantly reduced dark calcification and growth by 50 and 23%, respectively. High DOC availability reduced net and gross photosynthesis by 51% and 39%, respectively, but did not affect respiration. DOC addition did not influence calcification, but significantly increased growth by 42%. Combination of high DIC and high DOC availability did not affect photosynthesis, light calcification, respiration or growth, but significantly decreased dark calcification when compared to both controls and DIC treatments. On the ecosystem level, high DIC concentrations may lead to reduced accretion and growth of reefs dominated by Acropora that under elevated DOC concentrations will likely exhibit reduced primary production rates, ultimately leading to loss of hard substrate and reef erosion. It is therefore important to consider the potential impacts of elevated DOC and DIC simultaneously to assess real world scenarios, as multiple rather than single factors influence key physiological processes in coral reefs.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology
Ecology > Experimental Aquaculture
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2019 13:47
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 12:59

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