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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 674:103-113 (2021)  -  DOI:

Low irradiance amplifies negative effects of ocean acidification on recruitment of coralline algae communities

Anna Kluibenschedl1,*, Miles D. Lamare1, Wendy A. Nelson2,3, Neill G. Barr2, Christopher D. Hepburn1

1Department of Marine Science, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
2National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Private Bag 14-901, Wellington 6241, New Zealand
3School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92-019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Coralline algae play foundational roles in coastal ecosystems and are globally significant components of benthic habitats down to the limits of the photic zone. Despite their vulnerability to ocean acidification (OA) and importance in low light environments, there is a limited understanding of how the interplay between irradiance and OA influences coralline reproduction and recruitment. To better understand this interaction, a 212 d experiment was run exposing coralline communities to 2 pH levels (present-day pH 8.03, OA pH 7.65) and a gradient of daily light dose (0.35, 0.17 and 0.1 mol m-2 d-1), based on in situ measurements. In the highest light dose treatment, lowered seawater pH projected for 2100 (pH(T) 7.65) reduced recruitment by 56%. This OA-driven reduction in recruitment was amplified under reduced light, with recruitment near zero in the lowest light treatment. This study shows, for the first time, the increased vulnerability of coralline community recruitment to OA under low light. Coralline algae are known to be the deepest growing macroalgae and thus, in these low light zones, OA may have the potential to reduce coralline depth distribution.

KEY WORDS: Coralline algae · Recruitment · Irradiance · Ocean acidification · Turbidity · New Zealand

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Cite this article as: Kluibenschedl A, Lamare MD, Nelson WA, Barr NG, Hepburn CD (2021) Low irradiance amplifies negative effects of ocean acidification on recruitment of coralline algae communities. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 674:103-113.

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