Studying the impacts of ocean acidification and                                       warming on the cold-water coral Loph...
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Ocean Acidification and Lophelia pertusa - MASTS


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Poster presented by Sebastian Hennige at the Annual Meeting of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland 2011.

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Ocean Acidification and Lophelia pertusa - MASTS

  1. 1. Studying the impacts of ocean acidification and warming on the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa Hennige SJ, Wicks LC, Roberts JM Background UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme Increasing acidity in the oceans linked to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (ocean acidification) could seriously damage marine creatures such as corals, which need calcium carbonate (CaCO3) to build their skeletons. Cold-water corals (CWC) are among the most three-dimensionally complex deep-sea habitats known and are associated with high local biodiversity, however, despite their importance, little is known of their long-term response to ocean acidification, both ecophysiologically and functionally. The aim of the project is to therefore assess the impact of ocean acidification upon growth, physiology and structural integrity of the most widespread framework building CWC species, Lophelia pertusa, and to consider how it will impede the ecosystem engineering function CWCs perform. Long-term experiments Nubbins of Lophelia pertusa were collected from the Mingulay Reef Complex, Scotland, UK in June 2011. Following acclimation to aquaria conditions, nubbins will be subject to a range of temperature and pCO2 treatments for an 18 month period. This Lophelia pertusa polyps and reef forming colonies long-term approach will help us to understand whether corals have the ability to acclimate to new No. systems Coral nubbins pCO2 Temperature per treatment per system conditions. 9C Every 3 months, we will assess: o 380 ppm 4 Every 3 months, we will assess: 12 C o 380 ppm 4 • Metabolic rates 9C o 750 ppm 4 • Growth 750 ppm 12 C 4 • Calcification o 1000 ppm 9Co 4 • Dissolution of dead coral skeleton Short-term experiments Aboard the RRS Discovery in summer 2011, short- term experiments were conducted on freshly collected L. pertusa. Coral fragments were subject to a range of environmental conditions, including increased temperatures and altered CO2 levels and their metabolic and growth responses recorded. L. pertusa fragments in respiration Aquaria set-up for long term chambers experiment Additionally, metabolic rates, growth rates, mucus excretion rates, and ingestion were measured in freshly collected corals to allow estimations of the carbon budget of L. pertusa. Such parameters will allow us to assess which fraction of the carbon budget is affected by future warming and Feeding L. pertusa in their ‘coral Setting up respiration chambers hotel’ on RRS Discovery in water bathCentre for Marine Biodiversity & For more informationBiotechnology, School of Life Caldiera & Wickett (2003) Anthropogenic Carbon and Ocean pH. Nature 425: 365Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Maier et al. (2009) Calcification of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa, under ambient and reduced pH. Biogeosciences 6(8): 1671-1680 Roberts et al. (2006) Reefs of the deep: the biology and geology of cold-water coral ecosystems. Science 312: 543-547Edinburgh, Scotland, EH14 4AS Roberts et al. (2009) Cold-water Corals: The Biology and Geology of Deep-sea Coral Habitats. Cambridge University PressT: +44 (0) 131 451 3463 Acknowledgements Heriot-Watt University’s Environment and Climate Change theme.F: +44 (0) 131 451 3009 The UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme. Marine Alliance for Science & Technology for Scotland