Macroalgae may mitigate ocean acidification effects on mussel calcification by increasing pH and its fluctuations

M. Wahl*, S. Schneider Covachã, V. Saderne, C. Hiebenthal, J. D. Müller, C. Pansch, Y. Sawall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ocean acidification (OA) is generally assumed to negatively impact calcification rates of marine organisms. At a local scale however, biological activity of macrophytes may generate pH fluctuations with rates of change that are orders of magnitude larger than the long-term trend predicted for the open ocean. These fluctuations may in turn impact benthic calcifiers in the vicinity. Combining laboratory, mesocosm and field studies, such interactions between OA, the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus, the sea grass Zostera marina and the blue mussel Mytilus edulis were investigated at spatial scales from decimetres to 100s of meters in the western Baltic. Macrophytes increased the overall mean pH of the habitat by up to 0.3 units relative to macrophyte-free, but otherwise similar, habitats and imposed diurnal pH fluctuations with amplitudes ranging from 0.3 to more than 1 pH unit. These amplitudes and their impact on mussel calcification tended to increase with increasing macrophyte biomass to bulk water ratio. At the laboratory and mesocosm scales, biogenic pH fluctuations allowed mussels to maintain calcification even under acidified conditions by shifting most of their calcification activity into the daytime when biogenic fluctuations caused by macrophyte activity offered temporal refuge from OA stress. In natural habitats with a low biomass to water body ratio, the impact of biogenic pH fluctuations on mean calcification rates of M. edulis was less pronounced. Thus, in dense algae or seagrass habitats, macrophytes may mitigate OA impact on mussel calcification by raising mean pH and providing temporal refuge from acidification stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Macroalgae may mitigate ocean acidification effects on mussel calcification by increasing pH and its fluctuations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this