Significant warming and acidification of the oceans is projected to occur by the end of the century. CO2 vents, areas of upwelling and downwelling, and potential leaks from carbon capture and storage facilities may also cause localised environmental changes, enhancing or depressing the effect of global climate change. Cold-water coral ecosystems are threatened by future changes in carbonate chemistry, yet our knowledge of the response of these corals to high temperature and high CO2 conditions is limited. Dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP), and its breakdown product dimethylsulphide (DMS), are putative antioxidants that may be accumulated by invertebrates via their food or symbionts, although recent research suggests that some invertebrates may also be able to synthesise DMSP. This study provides the first information on the impact of high temperature (12 °C) and high CO2 (817 ppm) on intracellular DMSP in the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa from the Mingulay Reef Complex, Scotland (56°49' N, 07°23' W), where in situ environmental conditions are meditated by tidally induced downwellings. An increase in intracellular DMSP under high CO2 conditions was observed, whilst water column particulate DMS + DMSP was reduced. In both high temperature treatments, intracellular DMSP was similar to the control treatment, whilst dissolved DMSP + DMS was not significantly different between any of the treatments. These results suggest that L. pertusa accumulates DMSP from the surrounding water column; uptake may be up-regulated under high CO2 conditions, but mediated by high temperature. These results provide new insight into the biotic control of deep-sea biogeochemistry and may impact our understanding of the global sulphur cycle, and the survival of cold-water corals under projected global change.
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