Optimizing marine macrophyte capacity to locally ameliorate ocean acidification under variable light and flow regimes: Insights from an experimental approach
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Optimizing marine macrophyte capacity to locally ameliorate ocean acidification under variable light and flow regimes: Insights from an experimental approach

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  • Journal Title:
    PLOS ONE
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    The urgent need to remediate ocean acidification has brought attention to the ability of marine macrophytes (seagrasses and seaweeds) to take up carbon dioxide (CO2) and locally raise seawater pH via primary production. This physiological process may represent a powerful ocean acidification mitigation tool in coastal areas. However, highly variable nearshore environmental conditions pose uncertainty in the extent of the amelioration effect. We developed experiments in aquaria to address two interconnected goals. First, we explored the individual capacities of four species of marine macrophytes (Ulva lactuca, Zostera marina, Fucus vesiculosus and Saccharina latissima) to ameliorate seawater acidity in experimentally elevated pCO2. Second, we used the most responsive species (i.e., S. latissima) to assess the effects of high and low water residence time on the amelioration of seawater acidity in ambient and simulated future scenarios of climate change across a gradient of irradiance. We measured changes in dissolved oxygen, pH, and total alkalinity, and derived resultant changes to dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and calcium carbonate saturation state (Ω). While all species increased productivity under elevated CO2, S. latissima was able to remove DIC and alter pH and Ω more substantially as CO2 increased. Additionally, the amelioration of seawater acidity by S. latissima was optimized under high irradiance and high residence time. However, the influence of water residence time was insignificant under future scenarios. Finally, we applied predictive models as a function of macrophyte biomass, irradiance, and residence time conditions in ambient and future climatic scenarios to allow projections at the ecosystem level. This research contributes to understanding the biological and physical drivers of the coastal CO2 system.
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    PLOS ONE, 18(10), e0288548
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    1932-6203
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    CC BY
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    Library
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