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  • 1
  • 2
    Publication Date: 2016-08-25
    Description: Climate change has significant implications for biodiversity and ecosystems. With slow progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, climate engineering (or ‘geoengineering’) is receiving increasing attention for its potential to limit anthropogenic climate change and its damaging effects. Proposed techniques, such as ocean fertilization for carbon dioxide removal or stratospheric sulfate injections to reduce incoming solar radiation, would significantly alter atmospheric, terrestrial and marine environments, yet potential side-effects of their implementation for ecosystems and biodiversity have received little attention. A literature review was carried out to identify details of the potential ecological effects of climate engineering techniques. A group of biodiversity and environmental change researchers then employed a modified Delphi expert consultation technique to evaluate this evidence and prioritize the effects based on the relative importance of, and scientific understanding about, their biodiversity and ecosystem consequences. The key issues and knowledge gaps are used to shape a discussion of the biodiversity and ecosystem implications of climate engineering, including novel climatic conditions, alterations to marine systems and substantial terrestrial habitat change. This review highlights several current research priorities in which the climate engineering context is crucial to consider, as well as identifying some novel topics for ecological investigation.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2016-12-13
    Description: Every year, the oceans absorb about 30% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) leading to a re-equilibration of the marine carbonate system and decreasing seawater pH. Today, there is increasing awareness that these changes–summarized by the term ocean acidification (OA)–could differentially affect the competitive ability of marine organisms, thereby provoking a restructuring of marine ecosystems and biogeochemical element cycles. In winter 2013, we deployed ten pelagic mesocosms in the Gullmar Fjord at the Swedish west coast in order to study the effect of OA on plankton ecology and biogeochemistry under close to natural conditions. Five of the ten mesocosms were left unperturbed and served as controls (~380 μatm pCO2), whereas the others were enriched with CO2-saturated water to simulate realistic end-of-the-century carbonate chemistry conditions (~760 μatm pCO2). We ran the experiment for 113 days which allowed us to study the influence of high CO2 on an entire winter-to-summer plankton succession and to investigate the potential of some plankton organisms for evolutionary adaptation to OA in their natural environment. This paper is the first in a PLOS collection and provides a detailed overview on the experimental design, important events, and the key complexities of such a “long-term mesocosm” approach. Furthermore, we analyzed whether simulated end-of-the-century carbonate chemistry conditions could lead to a significant restructuring of the plankton community in the course of the succession. At the level of detail analyzed in this overview paper we found that CO2-induced differences in plankton community composition were non-detectable during most of the succession except for a period where a phytoplankton bloom was fueled by remineralized nutrients. These results indicate: (1) Long-term studies with pelagic ecosystems are necessary to uncover OA-sensitive stages of succession. (2) Plankton communities fueled by regenerated nutrients may be more responsive to changing carbonate chemistry than those having access to high inorganic nutrient concentrations and may deserve particular attention in future studies.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 4
  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-09-25
    Description: Our study followed the seasonal cycling of soluble (SFe), colloidal (CFe), dissolved (DFe), total dissolvable (TDFe), labile particulate (LPFe) and total particulate (TPFe) iron in the Celtic Sea (NE Atlantic Ocean). Preferential uptake of SFe occurred during the spring bloom, preceding the removal of CFe. Uptake and export of Fe during the spring bloom, coupled with a reduction in vertical exchange, led to Fe deplete surface waters (〈0.2 nM DFe; 0.11 nM LPFe, 0.45 nM TDFe, 1.84 nM TPFe) during summer stratification. Below the seasonal thermocline, DFe concentrations increased from spring to autumn, mirroring NO3- and consistent with supply from remineralised sinking organic material, and cycled independently of particulate Fe over seasonal timescales. These results demonstrate that summer Fe availability is comparable to the seasonally Fe limited Ross Sea shelf, and therefore is likely low enough to affect phytoplankton growth and species composition.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Nutrient addition bioassay experiments were performed in the low-nutrient, low-chlorophyll oligotrophic subtropical North Atlantic Ocean to investigate the influence of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and/or iron (Fe) on phytoplankton physiology and the limitation of primary productivity or picophytoplankton biomass. Additions of N alone resulted in 1.5-2 fold increases in primary productivity and chlorophyll after 48 h, with larger (~threefold) increases observed for the addition of P in combination with N (NP). Measurements of cellular chlorophyll contents permitted evaluation of the physiological response of the photosynthetic apparatus to N and P additions in three picophytoplankton groups. In both Prochlorococcus and the picoeukaryotes, cellular chlorophyll increased by similar amounts in N and NP treatments relative to all other treatments, suggesting that pigment synthesis was N limited. In contrast, the increase of cellular chlorophyll was greater in NP than in N treatments in Synechococcus, suggestive of NP co-limitation. Relative increases in cellular nucleic acid were also only observed in Synechococcus for NP treatments, indicating co-limitation of net nucleic acid synthesis. A lack of response to relief of nutrient stress for the efficiency of photosystem II photochemistry, Fv :Fm, suggests that the low nutrient supply to this region resulted in a condition of balanced nutrient limited growth, rather than starvation. N thus appears to be the proximal (i.e. direct physiological) limiting nutrient in the oligotrophic sub-tropical North Atlantic. In addition, some major picophytoplankton groups, as well as overall autotrophic community biomass, appears to be co-limited by N and P.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-02-22
    Description: Oceanic fixed-nitrogen concentrations are controlled by the balance between nitrogen fixation and denitrification. A number of factors, including iron limitation, can restrict nitrogen fixation, introducing the potential for decoupling of nitrogen inputs and losses. Such decoupling could significantly affect the oceanic fixed-nitrogen inventory and consequently the biological component of ocean carbon storage and hence air–sea partitioning of carbon dioxide. However, the extent to which nutrients limit nitrogen fixation in the global ocean is uncertain. Here, we examined rates of nitrogen fixation and nutrient concentrations in the surface waters of the Atlantic Ocean along a north–south 10,000 km transect during October and November 2005. We show that rates of nitrogen fixation were markedly higher in the North Atlantic compared with the South Atlantic Ocean. Across the two basins, nitrogen fixation was positively correlated with dissolved iron and negatively correlated with dissolved phosphorus concentrations. We conclude that inter-basin differences in nitrogen fixation are controlled by iron supply rather than phosphorus availability. Analysis of the nutrient content of deep waters suggests that the fixed nitrogen enters North Atlantic Deep Water. Our study thus supports the suggestion that iron significantly influences nitrogen fixation5, and that subsequent interactions with ocean circulation patterns contribute to the decoupling of nitrogen fixation and loss.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-02-23
    Description: Despite similar physical properties, the Northern and Southern Atlantic subtropical gyres have different biogeochemical regimes. The Northern subtropical gyre, which is subject to iron deposition from Saharan dust1, is depleted in the nutrient phosphate, possibly as a result of iron-enhanced nitrogen fixation2. Although phosphate depleted, rates of carbon fixation in the euphotic zone of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre are comparable to those of the South Atlantic subtropical gyre3, which is not phosphate limited. Here we use the activity of the phosphorus-specific enzyme alkaline phosphatase to show potentially enhanced utilization of dissolved organic phosphorus occurring over much of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. We find that during the boreal spring up to 30% of primary production in the North Atlantic gyre is supported by dissolved organic phosphorus. Our diagnostics and composite map of the surface distribution of dissolved organic phosphorus in the subtropical Atlantic Ocean reveal shorter residence times in the North Atlantic gyre than the South Atlantic gyre. We interpret the asymmetry of dissolved organic phosphorus cycling in the two gyres as a consequence of enhanced nitrogen fixation in the North Atlantic Ocean4, which forces the system towards phosphorus limitation. We suggest that dissolved organic phosphorus utilization may contribute to primary production in other phosphorus-limited ocean settings as well.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Observations of the tropical atmosphere are fundamental to the understanding of global changes in air quality, atmospheric oxidation capacity and climate, yet the tropics are under-populated with long-term measurements. The first three years (October 2006–September 2009) of meteorological, trace gas and particulate data from the global WMO/Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) Cape Verde Atmospheric Observatory Humberto Duarte Fonseca (CVAO; 16° 51′ N, 24° 52′ W) are presented, along with a characterisation of the origin and pathways of air masses arriving at the station using the NAME dispersion model and simulations of dust deposition using the COSMO-MUSCAT dust model. The observations show a strong influence from Saharan dust in winter with a maximum in super-micron aerosol and particulate iron and aluminium. The dust model results match the magnitude and daily variations of dust events, but in the region of the CVAO underestimate the measured aerosol optical thickness (AOT) because of contributions from other aerosol. The NAME model also captured the dust events, giving confidence in its ability to correctly identify air mass origins and pathways in this region. Dissolution experiments on collected dust samples showed a strong correlation between soluble Fe and Al and measured solubilities were lower at high atmospheric dust concentrations. Fine mode aerosol at the CVAO contains a significant fraction of non-sea salt components including dicarboxylic acids, methanesulfonic acid and aliphatic amines, all believed to be of oceanic origin. A marine influence is also apparent in the year-round presence of iodine and bromine monoxide (IO and BrO), with IO suggested to be confined mainly to the surface few hundred metres but BrO well mixed in the boundary layer. Enhanced CO2 and CH4 and depleted oxygen concentrations are markers for air-sea exchange over the nearby northwest African coastal upwelling area. Long-range transport results in generally higher levels of O3 and anthropogenic non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) in air originating from North America. Ozone/CO ratios were highest (up to 0.42) in relatively fresh European air masses. In air heavily influenced by Saharan dust the O3/CO ratio was as low as 0.13, possibly indicating O3 uptake to dust. Nitrogen oxides (NOx and NOy) show generally higher concentrations in winter when air mass origins are predominantly from Africa. High photochemical activity at the site is shown by maximum spring/summer concentrations of OH and HO2 of 9 × 106 molecule cm−3 and 6 × 108 molecule cm−3, respectively. After the primary photolysis source, the most important controls on the HOx budget in this region are IO and BrO chemistry, the abundance of HCHO, and uptake of HOx to aerosol.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2017-10-24
    Description: Mass coral bleaching, resulting from the breakdown of coral-algal symbiosis has been identified as the most severe threat to coral reef survival on a global scale. Regionally, nutrient enrichment of reef waters is often associated with a significant loss of coral cover and diversity. Recently, increased dissolved inorganic nitrogen concentrations have been linked to a reduction of the temperature threshold of coral bleaching, a phenomenon for which no mechanistic explanation is available. Here we show that increased levels of dissolved inorganic nitrogen in combination with limited phosphate concentrations result in an increased susceptibility of corals to temperature-and light-induced bleaching. Mass spectrometric analyses of the algal lipidome revealed a marked accumulation of sulpholipids under these conditions. Together with increased phosphatase activities, this change indicates that the imbalanced supply of dissolved inorganic nitrogen results in phosphate starvation of the symbiotic algae. Based on these findings we introduce a conceptual model that links unfavourable ratios of dissolved inorganic nutrients in the water column with established mechanisms of coral bleaching. Notably, this model improves the understanding of the detrimental effects of coastal nutrient enrichment on coral reefs, which is urgently required to support knowledge-based management strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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