MEPS 432:53-67 (2011)  -  doi:10.3354/meps09138

Biometry and dissolution features of the benthic foraminifer Ammonia aomoriensis at high pCO2

Kristin Haynert1,*, Joachim Schönfeld1, Ulf Riebesell1, Irina Polovodova2

1Leibniz-Institute of Marine Sciences, IFM-GEOMAR, Wischhofstrasse 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany
2Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, PO Box 460, 40530 Göteborg, Sweden

ABSTRACT: Culturing experiments were performed with the benthic foraminifer Ammonia aomoriensis from Flensburg Fjord, western Baltic Sea. The experiments simulated a projected rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. We exposed specimens to 5 seawater pCO2 levels ranging from 618 µatm (pH 7.9) to 3130 µatm (pH 7.2) for 6 wk. Growth rates and mortality differed significantly among pCO2 treatments. The highest increase of mean test diameter (19%) was observed at 618 µatm. At partial pressures >1829 µatm, the mean test diameter was observed to decrease, by up to 22% at 3130 µatm. At pCO2 levels of 618 and 751 µatm, A. aomoriensis tests were found intact after the experiment. The outer chambers of specimens incubated at 929 and 1829 µatm were severely damaged by corrosion. Visual inspection of specimens incubated at 3130 µatm revealed wall dissolution of all outer chambers, only their inner organic lining stayed intact. Our results demonstrate that pCO2 values of ≥929 µatm in Baltic Sea waters cause reduced growth of A. aomoriensis and lead to shell dissolution. The bottom waters in Flensburg Fjord and adjacent areas regularly experience pCO2 levels in this range during summer and fall. Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are likely to extend and intensify these periods of undersaturation. This may eventually slow down calcification in A. aomoriensis to the extent that net carbonate precipitation terminates. The possible disappearance of this species from the Baltic Sea and other areas prone to seasonal undersaturation would likely cause significant shifts in shallow-water benthic ecosystems in the near future.

KEY WORDS: Benthic foraminifera · Biometry · Test dissolution · Carbon dioxide · Baltic Sea

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Cite this article as: Haynert K, Schönfeld J, Riebesell U, Polovodova I (2011) Biometry and dissolution features of the benthic foraminifer Ammonia aomoriensis at high pCO2. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 432:53-67

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