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17 Research products, page 1 of 2

  • European Marine Science
  • Other research products
  • 2013-2022
  • European Commission
  • GB
  • RO
  • SDSN - Greece

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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Vries, Joost; Monteiro, Fanny; Wheeler, Glen; Poulton, Alex; Godrijan, Jelena; Cerino, Federica; Malinverno, Elisa; Langer, Gerald; Brownlee, Colin;
    Project: UKRI | GW4+ - a consortium of ex... (NE/L002434/1), UKRI | NSFGEO-NERC An unexpected... (NE/N011708/1), MZOS | Mechanism of long-term ch... (098-0982705-2731), EC | MEDSEA (265103), EC | SEACELLS (670390)

    Coccolithophores are globally important marine calcifying phytoplankton that utilize a haplo-diplontic life cycle. The haplo-diplontic life cycle allows coccolithophores to divide in both life cycle phases and potentially expands coccolithophore niche volume. Research has, however, to date largely overlooked the life cycle of coccolithophores and has instead focused on the diploid life cycle phase of coccolithophores. Through the synthesis and analysis of global scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coccolithophore abundance data (n=2534), we find that calcified haploid coccolithophores generally constitute a minor component of the total coccolithophore abundance (≈ 2 %–15 % depending on season). However, using case studies in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, we show that, depending on environmental conditions, calcifying haploid coccolithophores can be significant contributors to the coccolithophore standing stock (up to ≈30 %). Furthermore, using hypervolumes to quantify the niche of coccolithophores, we illustrate that the haploid and diploid life cycle phases inhabit contrasting niches and that on average this allows coccolithophores to expand their niche by ≈18.8 %, with a range of 3 %–76 % for individual species. Our results highlight that future coccolithophore research should consider both life cycle stages, as omission of the haploid life cycle phase in current research limits our understanding of coccolithophore ecology. Our results furthermore suggest a different response to nutrient limitation and stratification, which may be of relevance for further climate scenarios. Our compilation highlights the spatial and temporal sparsity of SEM measurements and the need for new molecular techniques to identify uncalcified haploid coccolithophores. Our work also emphasizes the need for further work on the carbonate chemistry niche of the coccolithophore life cycle.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Friedrich, J.; Janssen, F.; Aleynik, D.; Bange, H. W.; Boltacheva, N.; Çagatay, M. N.; Dale, A. W.; Etiope, G.; Erdem, Z.; Geraga, M.; +29 more
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    In this paper we provide an overview of new knowledge on oxygen depletion (hypoxia) and related phenomena in aquatic systems resulting from the EU-FP7 project HYPOX ("In situ monitoring of oxygen depletion in hypoxic ecosystems of coastal and open seas, and landlocked water bodies", http://www.hypox.net). In view of the anticipated oxygen loss in aquatic systems due to eutrophication and climate change, HYPOX was set up to improve capacities to monitor hypoxia as well as to understand its causes and consequences. Temporal dynamics and spatial patterns of hypoxia were analyzed in field studies in various aquatic environments, including the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, Scottish and Scandinavian fjords, Ionian Sea lagoons and embayments, and Swiss lakes. Examples of episodic and rapid (hours) occurrences of hypoxia, as well as seasonal changes in bottom-water oxygenation in stratified systems, are discussed. Geologically driven hypoxia caused by gas seepage is demonstrated. Using novel technologies, temporal and spatial patterns of water-column oxygenation, from basin-scale seasonal patterns to meter-scale sub-micromolar oxygen distributions, were resolved. Existing multidecadal monitoring data were used to demonstrate the imprint of climate change and eutrophication on long-term oxygen distributions. Organic and inorganic proxies were used to extend investigations on past oxygen conditions to centennial and even longer timescales that cannot be resolved by monitoring. The effects of hypoxia on faunal communities and biogeochemical processes were also addressed in the project. An investigation of benthic fauna is presented as an example of hypoxia-devastated benthic communities that slowly recover upon a reduction in eutrophication in a system where naturally occurring hypoxia overlaps with anthropogenic hypoxia. Biogeochemical investigations reveal that oxygen intrusions have a strong effect on the microbially mediated redox cycling of elements. Observations and modeling studies of the sediments demonstrate the effect of seasonally changing oxygen conditions on benthic mineralization pathways and fluxes. Data quality and access are crucial in hypoxia research. Technical issues are therefore also addressed, including the availability of suitable sensor technology to resolve the gradual changes in bottom-water oxygen in marine systems that can be expected as a result of climate change. Using cabled observatories as examples, we show how the benefit of continuous oxygen monitoring can be maximized by adopting proper quality control. Finally, we discuss strategies for state-of-the-art data archiving and dissemination in compliance with global standards, and how ocean observations can contribute to global earth observation attempts.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Hoppe, C. J. M.; Langer, G.; Rokitta, S. D.; Wolf-Gladrow, D. A.; Rost, B.;
    Project: EC | NEWLOG (267931), EC | PHYTOCHANGE (205150), EC | MEDSEA (265103), EC | MOLSPINQIP (211284)

    The growing field of ocean acidification research is concerned with the investigation of organism responses to increasing pCO2 values. One important approach in this context is culture work using seawater with adjusted CO2 levels. As aqueous pCO2 is difficult to measure directly in small-scale experiments, it is generally calculated from two other measured parameters of the carbonate system (often AT, CT or pH). Unfortunately, the overall uncertainties of measured and subsequently calculated values are often unknown. Especially under high pCO2, this can become a severe problem with respect to the interpretation of physiological and ecological data. In the few datasets from ocean acidification research where all three of these parameters were measured, pCO2 values calculated from AT and CT are typically about 30% lower (i.e. ~300 μatm at a target pCO2 of 1000 μatm) than those calculated from AT and pH or CT and pH. This study presents and discusses these discrepancies as well as likely consequences for the ocean acidification community. Until this problem is solved, one has to consider that calculated parameters of the carbonate system (e.g. pCO2, calcite saturation state) may not be comparable between studies, and that this may have important implications for the interpretation of CO2 perturbation experiments.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Chivers, A. J.; Narayanaswamy, B. E.; Lamont, P. A.; Dale, A.; Turnewitsch, R.;
    Project: UKRI | Impact of the Geometry of... (NE/G006415/1), EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    Interest in seamount research has gathered momentum over the past five years in an effort to understand the physical, geochemical and biological characteristics as well as the interconnectedness of seamount ecosystems. The majority of biological seamount research has concentrated upon the rich and diverse suspension feeding organisms that dominate the megafauna, such as gorgonians and antipatharian corals; by comparison there have been few studies that have investigated the no less enigmatic, but possibly just as important infauna. To help fill this knowledge gap, the macrofaunal community was sampled from a total of five stations along a northerly transect (capturing water depths from ∼130 m to ∼3300 m), on Senghor Seamount (NE Atlantic). The focus of this study is on the polychaete communities. Polychaete abundance peaked at the summit and a mid-slope station (∼1500 m), a pattern mirrored by the biomass values. The polychaete community along the transect appeared to be particularly diverse, with 135 species nominally identified to putative species from a total of 954 individuals. A diversity maximum was identified on the upper slope at ∼800 m depth, with species diversity, richness and evenness also all peaking at this station. Depth is likely to be a significant factor in determining levels of similarity between stations.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Holt, J.; Butenschön, M.; Wakelin, S. L.; Artioli, Y.; Allen, J. I.;
    Project: EC | MEECE (212085)

    In this paper we clearly demonstrate that changes in oceanic nutrients are a first order factor in determining changes in the primary production of the northwest European continental shelf on time scales of 5–10 yr. We present a series of coupled hydrodynamic ecosystem modelling simulations, using the POLCOMS-ERSEM system. These are forced by both reanalysis data and a single example of a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model (OA-GCM) representative of possible conditions in 2080–2100 under an SRES A1B emissions scenario, along with the corresponding present day control. The OA-GCM forced simulations show a substantial reduction in surface nutrients in the open-ocean regions of the model domain, comparing future and present day time-slices. This arises from a large increase in oceanic stratification. Tracer transport experiments identify a substantial fraction of on-shelf water originates from the open-ocean region to the south of the domain, where this increase is largest, and indeed the on-shelf nutrient and primary production are reduced as this water is transported on-shelf. This relationship is confirmed quantitatively by comparing changes in winter nitrate with total annual nitrate uptake. The reduction in primary production by the reduced nutrient transport is mitigated by on-shelf processes relating to temperature, stratification (length of growing season) and recycling. Regions less exposed to ocean-shelf exchange in this model (Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel, and Southern North Sea) show a modest increase in primary production (of 5–10%) compared with a decrease of 0–20% in the outer shelf, Central and Northern North Sea. These findings are backed up by a boundary condition perturbation experiment and a simple mixing model.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Pape, E.; Bezerra, T. N.; Jones, D. O. B.; Vanreusel, A.;
    Project: EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    Alongside a primary productivity gradient between the Galicia Bank region in the Northeast Atlantic and the more oligotrophic eastern Mediterranean Basin, we investigated the bathymetric (1200–3000 m) and longitudinal variation in several measures for nematode taxon (Shannon–Wiener genus diversity, expected genus richness and generic evenness) and functional diversity (trophic diversity, diversity of life history strategies, biomass diversity and phylogenetic diversity). Our goals were to establish the form of the relation between diversity and productivity (measured as seafloor particulate organic carbon or POC flux), and to verify the positive and negative effect of sediment particle size diversity (SED) and the seasonality in POC flux (SVI), respectively, on diversity, as observed for other oceanographic regions and taxa. In addition, we hypothesised that higher taxon diversity is associated with higher functional diversity, which in turn stimulates nematode carbon mineralisation rates (determined from biomass-dependent respiration estimates). Taxon diversity related positively to seafloor POC flux. Phylogenetic diversity (measured as average taxonomic distinctness) was affected negatively by the magnitude and variability in POC flux, and positively by SED. The latter also showed an inverse relation with trophic diversity. Accounting for differences in total biomass between samples, we observed a positive linear relation between taxon diversity and carbon mineralisation in nematode communities. We could, however, not identify the potential mechanism through which taxon diversity may promote this ecosystem function since none of the functional diversity indices related to both diversity and nematode respiration. The present results suggest potential effects of climate change on deep-sea ecosystem functioning, but further also emphasise the need for a better understanding of nematode functions and their response to evolutionary processes.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Ingels, J.; Vanreusel, A.;
    Project: EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    The urge to understand spatial distributions of species and communities and their causative processes has continuously instigated the development and testing of conceptual models in spatial ecology. For the deep sea, there is evidence that structural and functional characteristics of benthic communities are regulated by a multitude of biotic and environmental processes that act in concert on different spatial scales, but the spatial patterns are poorly understood compared to those for terrestrial ecosystems. Deep-sea studies generally focus on very limited scale ranges, thereby impairing our understanding of which spatial scales and associated processes are most important in driving structural and functional diversity of communities. Here, we used an extensive integrated dataset of free-living nematodes from deep-sea sediments to unravel the importance of different spatial scales in determining benthic infauna communities. Multiple-factor multivariate permutational analyses were performed on different sets of community descriptors (structure, structural and functional diversity, standing stock). The different spatial scales investigated cover two margins in the northeast Atlantic, several submarine canyons/channel/slope areas, a bathymetrical range of 700–4300 m, different sampling locations at each station, and vertical sediment profiles. The results indicated that the most important spatial scale for structural and functional diversity and standing stock variability is the smallest one; infauna communities changed substantially more with differences between sediment depth layers than with differences associated to larger geographical or bathymetrical scales. Community structure differences were greatest between stations at both margins. Important regulating ecosystem processes and the scale on which they occur are discussed. The results imply that, if we are to improve our understanding of ecosystem patterns of deep-sea infauna and the relevant processes driving their structure, structural and functional diversity, and standing stock, we must pay particular attention to the small-scale heterogeneity or patchiness and the causative mechanisms acting on that scale.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Artioli, Y.; Blackford, J. C.; Nondal, G.; Bellerby, R. G. J.; Wakelin, S. L.; Holt, J. T.; Butenschön, M.; Allen, J. I.;
    Publisher: Copernicus Publications
    Project: EC | EPOCA (211384), EC | MEECE (212085), UKRI | Regional Ecosystem & ... (NE/H017372/1)

    The increase in atmospheric CO2 is a dual threat to the marine environment: from one side it drives climate change, leading to modifications in water temperature, circulation patterns and stratification intensity; on the other side it causes a decrease in marine pH (ocean acidification, or OA) due to the increase in dissolved CO2. Assessing the combined impact of climate change and OA on marine ecosystems is a challenging task. The response of the ecosystem to a single driver can be highly variable and remains still uncertain; additionally the interaction between these can be either synergistic or antagonistic. In this work we use the coupled oceanographic–ecosystem model POLCOMS-ERSEM driven by climate forcing to study the interaction between climate change and OA. We focus in particular on carbonate chemistry, primary and secondary production. The model has been run in three different configurations in order to assess separately the impacts of climate change on net primary production and of OA on the carbonate chemistry, which have been strongly supported by scientific literature, from the impact of biological feedbacks of OA on the ecosystem, whose uncertainty still has to be well constrained. The global mean of the projected decrease of pH at the end of the century is about 0.27 pH units, but the model shows significant interaction among the drivers and high variability in the temporal and spatial response. As a result of this high variability, critical tipping point can be locally and/or temporally reached: e.g. undersaturation with respect to aragonite is projected to occur in the deeper part of the central North Sea during summer. Impacts of climate change and of OA on primary and secondary production may have similar magnitude, compensating in some area and exacerbating in others.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Ziveri Patrizia; Thoms Silke; Probert Ian; Geisen Markus; Langer Gerald;
    Project: EC | MEDSEA (265103), EC | NEWLOG (267931)

    The oxygen isotopic composition (δ18O) of calcium carbonate of planktonic calcifying organisms is a key tool for reconstructing both past seawater temperature and salinity. The calibration of paloeceanographic proxies relies in general on empirical relationships derived from field experiments on extant species. Laboratory experiments have more often than not revealed that variables other than the target parameter influence the proxy signal, which makes proxy calibration a challenging task. Understanding these secondary or "vital" effects is crucial for increasing proxy accuracy. We present data from laboratory experiments showing that oxygen isotope fractionation during calcification in the coccolithophore Calcidiscus leptoporus and the calcareous dinoflagellate Thoracosphaera heimii is dependent on carbonate chemistry of seawater in addition to its dependence on temperature. A similar result has previously been reported for planktonic foraminifera, supporting the idea that the [CO32−] effect on δ18O is universal for unicellular calcifying planktonic organisms. The slopes of the δ18O/[CO32−] relationships range between –0.0243‰ (μmol kg−1)−1 (calcareous dinoflagellate T. heimii) and the previously published –0.0022‰ (μmol kg−1)−1 (non-symbiotic planktonic foramifera Orbulina universa), while C. leptoporus has a slope of –0.0048 ‰ (μmol kg−1)−1. We present a simple conceptual model, based on the contribution of δ18O-enriched HCO3− to the CO32− pool in the calcifying vesicle, which can explain the [CO32−] effect on δ18O for the different unicellular calcifiers. This approach provides a new insight into biological fractionation in calcifying organisms. The large range in δ18O/[CO32−] slopes should possibly be explored as a means for paleoreconstruction of surface [CO32−], particularly through comparison of the response in ecologically similar planktonic organisms.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Frigola, J.; Canals, M.; Cacho, I.; Moreno, A.; Sierro, F. J.; Flores, J. A.; Berné, S.; Jouet, G.; Dennielou, B.; Herrera, G.; +4 more
    Project: EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    Borehole PRGL1-4 drilled in the upper slope of the Gulf of Lion provides an exceptional record to investigate the impact of late Pleistocene orbitally-driven glacio-eustatic sea-level oscillations on the sedimentary outbuilding of a river fed continental margin. High-resolution grain-size and geochemical records supported by oxygen isotope chronostratigraphy allow reinterpreting the last 500 ka upper slope seismostratigraphy of the Gulf of Lion. Five main sequences, stacked during the sea-level lowering phases of the last five glacial-interglacial 100-kyr cycles, form the upper stratigraphic outbuilding of the continental margin. The high sensitivity of the grain-size record down the borehole to sea-level oscillations can be explained by the great width of the Gulf of Lion continental shelf. Sea level driven changes in accommodation space over the shelf cyclically modified the depositional mode of the entire margin. PRGL1-4 data also illustrate the imprint of sea-level oscillations at millennial time-scale, as shown for Marine Isotopic Stage 3, and provide unambiguous evidence of relative high sea-levels at the onset of each Dansgaard-Oeschger Greenland warm interstadial. The PRGL1-4 grain-size record represents the first evidence for a one-to-one coupling of millennial time-scale sea-level oscillations associated with each Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle.

Advanced search in Research products
Research products
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The following results are related to European Marine Science. Are you interested to view more results? Visit OpenAIRE - Explore.
17 Research products, page 1 of 2
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Vries, Joost; Monteiro, Fanny; Wheeler, Glen; Poulton, Alex; Godrijan, Jelena; Cerino, Federica; Malinverno, Elisa; Langer, Gerald; Brownlee, Colin;
    Project: UKRI | GW4+ - a consortium of ex... (NE/L002434/1), UKRI | NSFGEO-NERC An unexpected... (NE/N011708/1), MZOS | Mechanism of long-term ch... (098-0982705-2731), EC | MEDSEA (265103), EC | SEACELLS (670390)

    Coccolithophores are globally important marine calcifying phytoplankton that utilize a haplo-diplontic life cycle. The haplo-diplontic life cycle allows coccolithophores to divide in both life cycle phases and potentially expands coccolithophore niche volume. Research has, however, to date largely overlooked the life cycle of coccolithophores and has instead focused on the diploid life cycle phase of coccolithophores. Through the synthesis and analysis of global scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coccolithophore abundance data (n=2534), we find that calcified haploid coccolithophores generally constitute a minor component of the total coccolithophore abundance (≈ 2 %–15 % depending on season). However, using case studies in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, we show that, depending on environmental conditions, calcifying haploid coccolithophores can be significant contributors to the coccolithophore standing stock (up to ≈30 %). Furthermore, using hypervolumes to quantify the niche of coccolithophores, we illustrate that the haploid and diploid life cycle phases inhabit contrasting niches and that on average this allows coccolithophores to expand their niche by ≈18.8 %, with a range of 3 %–76 % for individual species. Our results highlight that future coccolithophore research should consider both life cycle stages, as omission of the haploid life cycle phase in current research limits our understanding of coccolithophore ecology. Our results furthermore suggest a different response to nutrient limitation and stratification, which may be of relevance for further climate scenarios. Our compilation highlights the spatial and temporal sparsity of SEM measurements and the need for new molecular techniques to identify uncalcified haploid coccolithophores. Our work also emphasizes the need for further work on the carbonate chemistry niche of the coccolithophore life cycle.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Friedrich, J.; Janssen, F.; Aleynik, D.; Bange, H. W.; Boltacheva, N.; Çagatay, M. N.; Dale, A. W.; Etiope, G.; Erdem, Z.; Geraga, M.; +29 more
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    In this paper we provide an overview of new knowledge on oxygen depletion (hypoxia) and related phenomena in aquatic systems resulting from the EU-FP7 project HYPOX ("In situ monitoring of oxygen depletion in hypoxic ecosystems of coastal and open seas, and landlocked water bodies", http://www.hypox.net). In view of the anticipated oxygen loss in aquatic systems due to eutrophication and climate change, HYPOX was set up to improve capacities to monitor hypoxia as well as to understand its causes and consequences. Temporal dynamics and spatial patterns of hypoxia were analyzed in field studies in various aquatic environments, including the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, Scottish and Scandinavian fjords, Ionian Sea lagoons and embayments, and Swiss lakes. Examples of episodic and rapid (hours) occurrences of hypoxia, as well as seasonal changes in bottom-water oxygenation in stratified systems, are discussed. Geologically driven hypoxia caused by gas seepage is demonstrated. Using novel technologies, temporal and spatial patterns of water-column oxygenation, from basin-scale seasonal patterns to meter-scale sub-micromolar oxygen distributions, were resolved. Existing multidecadal monitoring data were used to demonstrate the imprint of climate change and eutrophication on long-term oxygen distributions. Organic and inorganic proxies were used to extend investigations on past oxygen conditions to centennial and even longer timescales that cannot be resolved by monitoring. The effects of hypoxia on faunal communities and biogeochemical processes were also addressed in the project. An investigation of benthic fauna is presented as an example of hypoxia-devastated benthic communities that slowly recover upon a reduction in eutrophication in a system where naturally occurring hypoxia overlaps with anthropogenic hypoxia. Biogeochemical investigations reveal that oxygen intrusions have a strong effect on the microbially mediated redox cycling of elements. Observations and modeling studies of the sediments demonstrate the effect of seasonally changing oxygen conditions on benthic mineralization pathways and fluxes. Data quality and access are crucial in hypoxia research. Technical issues are therefore also addressed, including the availability of suitable sensor technology to resolve the gradual changes in bottom-water oxygen in marine systems that can be expected as a result of climate change. Using cabled observatories as examples, we show how the benefit of continuous oxygen monitoring can be maximized by adopting proper quality control. Finally, we discuss strategies for state-of-the-art data archiving and dissemination in compliance with global standards, and how ocean observations can contribute to global earth observation attempts.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Hoppe, C. J. M.; Langer, G.; Rokitta, S. D.; Wolf-Gladrow, D. A.; Rost, B.;
    Project: EC | NEWLOG (267931), EC | PHYTOCHANGE (205150), EC | MEDSEA (265103), EC | MOLSPINQIP (211284)

    The growing field of ocean acidification research is concerned with the investigation of organism responses to increasing pCO2 values. One important approach in this context is culture work using seawater with adjusted CO2 levels. As aqueous pCO2 is difficult to measure directly in small-scale experiments, it is generally calculated from two other measured parameters of the carbonate system (often AT, CT or pH). Unfortunately, the overall uncertainties of measured and subsequently calculated values are often unknown. Especially under high pCO2, this can become a severe problem with respect to the interpretation of physiological and ecological data. In the few datasets from ocean acidification research where all three of these parameters were measured, pCO2 values calculated from AT and CT are typically about 30% lower (i.e. ~300 μatm at a target pCO2 of 1000 μatm) than those calculated from AT and pH or CT and pH. This study presents and discusses these discrepancies as well as likely consequences for the ocean acidification community. Until this problem is solved, one has to consider that calculated parameters of the carbonate system (e.g. pCO2, calcite saturation state) may not be comparable between studies, and that this may have important implications for the interpretation of CO2 perturbation experiments.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Chivers, A. J.; Narayanaswamy, B. E.; Lamont, P. A.; Dale, A.; Turnewitsch, R.;
    Project: UKRI | Impact of the Geometry of... (NE/G006415/1), EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    Interest in seamount research has gathered momentum over the past five years in an effort to understand the physical, geochemical and biological characteristics as well as the interconnectedness of seamount ecosystems. The majority of biological seamount research has concentrated upon the rich and diverse suspension feeding organisms that dominate the megafauna, such as gorgonians and antipatharian corals; by comparison there have been few studies that have investigated the no less enigmatic, but possibly just as important infauna. To help fill this knowledge gap, the macrofaunal community was sampled from a total of five stations along a northerly transect (capturing water depths from ∼130 m to ∼3300 m), on Senghor Seamount (NE Atlantic). The focus of this study is on the polychaete communities. Polychaete abundance peaked at the summit and a mid-slope station (∼1500 m), a pattern mirrored by the biomass values. The polychaete community along the transect appeared to be particularly diverse, with 135 species nominally identified to putative species from a total of 954 individuals. A diversity maximum was identified on the upper slope at ∼800 m depth, with species diversity, richness and evenness also all peaking at this station. Depth is likely to be a significant factor in determining levels of similarity between stations.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Holt, J.; Butenschön, M.; Wakelin, S. L.; Artioli, Y.; Allen, J. I.;
    Project: EC | MEECE (212085)

    In this paper we clearly demonstrate that changes in oceanic nutrients are a first order factor in determining changes in the primary production of the northwest European continental shelf on time scales of 5–10 yr. We present a series of coupled hydrodynamic ecosystem modelling simulations, using the POLCOMS-ERSEM system. These are forced by both reanalysis data and a single example of a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model (OA-GCM) representative of possible conditions in 2080–2100 under an SRES A1B emissions scenario, along with the corresponding present day control. The OA-GCM forced simulations show a substantial reduction in surface nutrients in the open-ocean regions of the model domain, comparing future and present day time-slices. This arises from a large increase in oceanic stratification. Tracer transport experiments identify a substantial fraction of on-shelf water originates from the open-ocean region to the south of the domain, where this increase is largest, and indeed the on-shelf nutrient and primary production are reduced as this water is transported on-shelf. This relationship is confirmed quantitatively by comparing changes in winter nitrate with total annual nitrate uptake. The reduction in primary production by the reduced nutrient transport is mitigated by on-shelf processes relating to temperature, stratification (length of growing season) and recycling. Regions less exposed to ocean-shelf exchange in this model (Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel, and Southern North Sea) show a modest increase in primary production (of 5–10%) compared with a decrease of 0–20% in the outer shelf, Central and Northern North Sea. These findings are backed up by a boundary condition perturbation experiment and a simple mixing model.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Pape, E.; Bezerra, T. N.; Jones, D. O. B.; Vanreusel, A.;
    Project: EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    Alongside a primary productivity gradient between the Galicia Bank region in the Northeast Atlantic and the more oligotrophic eastern Mediterranean Basin, we investigated the bathymetric (1200–3000 m) and longitudinal variation in several measures for nematode taxon (Shannon–Wiener genus diversity, expected genus richness and generic evenness) and functional diversity (trophic diversity, diversity of life history strategies, biomass diversity and phylogenetic diversity). Our goals were to establish the form of the relation between diversity and productivity (measured as seafloor particulate organic carbon or POC flux), and to verify the positive and negative effect of sediment particle size diversity (SED) and the seasonality in POC flux (SVI), respectively, on diversity, as observed for other oceanographic regions and taxa. In addition, we hypothesised that higher taxon diversity is associated with higher functional diversity, which in turn stimulates nematode carbon mineralisation rates (determined from biomass-dependent respiration estimates). Taxon diversity related positively to seafloor POC flux. Phylogenetic diversity (measured as average taxonomic distinctness) was affected negatively by the magnitude and variability in POC flux, and positively by SED. The latter also showed an inverse relation with trophic diversity. Accounting for differences in total biomass between samples, we observed a positive linear relation between taxon diversity and carbon mineralisation in nematode communities. We could, however, not identify the potential mechanism through which taxon diversity may promote this ecosystem function since none of the functional diversity indices related to both diversity and nematode respiration. The present results suggest potential effects of climate change on deep-sea ecosystem functioning, but further also emphasise the need for a better understanding of nematode functions and their response to evolutionary processes.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Ingels, J.; Vanreusel, A.;
    Project: EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    The urge to understand spatial distributions of species and communities and their causative processes has continuously instigated the development and testing of conceptual models in spatial ecology. For the deep sea, there is evidence that structural and functional characteristics of benthic communities are regulated by a multitude of biotic and environmental processes that act in concert on different spatial scales, but the spatial patterns are poorly understood compared to those for terrestrial ecosystems. Deep-sea studies generally focus on very limited scale ranges, thereby impairing our understanding of which spatial scales and associated processes are most important in driving structural and functional diversity of communities. Here, we used an extensive integrated dataset of free-living nematodes from deep-sea sediments to unravel the importance of different spatial scales in determining benthic infauna communities. Multiple-factor multivariate permutational analyses were performed on different sets of community descriptors (structure, structural and functional diversity, standing stock). The different spatial scales investigated cover two margins in the northeast Atlantic, several submarine canyons/channel/slope areas, a bathymetrical range of 700–4300 m, different sampling locations at each station, and vertical sediment profiles. The results indicated that the most important spatial scale for structural and functional diversity and standing stock variability is the smallest one; infauna communities changed substantially more with differences between sediment depth layers than with differences associated to larger geographical or bathymetrical scales. Community structure differences were greatest between stations at both margins. Important regulating ecosystem processes and the scale on which they occur are discussed. The results imply that, if we are to improve our understanding of ecosystem patterns of deep-sea infauna and the relevant processes driving their structure, structural and functional diversity, and standing stock, we must pay particular attention to the small-scale heterogeneity or patchiness and the causative mechanisms acting on that scale.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Artioli, Y.; Blackford, J. C.; Nondal, G.; Bellerby, R. G. J.; Wakelin, S. L.; Holt, J. T.; Butenschön, M.; Allen, J. I.;
    Publisher: Copernicus Publications
    Project: EC | EPOCA (211384), EC | MEECE (212085), UKRI | Regional Ecosystem & ... (NE/H017372/1)

    The increase in atmospheric CO2 is a dual threat to the marine environment: from one side it drives climate change, leading to modifications in water temperature, circulation patterns and stratification intensity; on the other side it causes a decrease in marine pH (ocean acidification, or OA) due to the increase in dissolved CO2. Assessing the combined impact of climate change and OA on marine ecosystems is a challenging task. The response of the ecosystem to a single driver can be highly variable and remains still uncertain; additionally the interaction between these can be either synergistic or antagonistic. In this work we use the coupled oceanographic–ecosystem model POLCOMS-ERSEM driven by climate forcing to study the interaction between climate change and OA. We focus in particular on carbonate chemistry, primary and secondary production. The model has been run in three different configurations in order to assess separately the impacts of climate change on net primary production and of OA on the carbonate chemistry, which have been strongly supported by scientific literature, from the impact of biological feedbacks of OA on the ecosystem, whose uncertainty still has to be well constrained. The global mean of the projected decrease of pH at the end of the century is about 0.27 pH units, but the model shows significant interaction among the drivers and high variability in the temporal and spatial response. As a result of this high variability, critical tipping point can be locally and/or temporally reached: e.g. undersaturation with respect to aragonite is projected to occur in the deeper part of the central North Sea during summer. Impacts of climate change and of OA on primary and secondary production may have similar magnitude, compensating in some area and exacerbating in others.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Ziveri Patrizia; Thoms Silke; Probert Ian; Geisen Markus; Langer Gerald;
    Project: EC | MEDSEA (265103), EC | NEWLOG (267931)

    The oxygen isotopic composition (δ18O) of calcium carbonate of planktonic calcifying organisms is a key tool for reconstructing both past seawater temperature and salinity. The calibration of paloeceanographic proxies relies in general on empirical relationships derived from field experiments on extant species. Laboratory experiments have more often than not revealed that variables other than the target parameter influence the proxy signal, which makes proxy calibration a challenging task. Understanding these secondary or "vital" effects is crucial for increasing proxy accuracy. We present data from laboratory experiments showing that oxygen isotope fractionation during calcification in the coccolithophore Calcidiscus leptoporus and the calcareous dinoflagellate Thoracosphaera heimii is dependent on carbonate chemistry of seawater in addition to its dependence on temperature. A similar result has previously been reported for planktonic foraminifera, supporting the idea that the [CO32−] effect on δ18O is universal for unicellular calcifying planktonic organisms. The slopes of the δ18O/[CO32−] relationships range between –0.0243‰ (μmol kg−1)−1 (calcareous dinoflagellate T. heimii) and the previously published –0.0022‰ (μmol kg−1)−1 (non-symbiotic planktonic foramifera Orbulina universa), while C. leptoporus has a slope of –0.0048 ‰ (μmol kg−1)−1. We present a simple conceptual model, based on the contribution of δ18O-enriched HCO3− to the CO32− pool in the calcifying vesicle, which can explain the [CO32−] effect on δ18O for the different unicellular calcifiers. This approach provides a new insight into biological fractionation in calcifying organisms. The large range in δ18O/[CO32−] slopes should possibly be explored as a means for paleoreconstruction of surface [CO32−], particularly through comparison of the response in ecologically similar planktonic organisms.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Frigola, J.; Canals, M.; Cacho, I.; Moreno, A.; Sierro, F. J.; Flores, J. A.; Berné, S.; Jouet, G.; Dennielou, B.; Herrera, G.; +4 more
    Project: EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    Borehole PRGL1-4 drilled in the upper slope of the Gulf of Lion provides an exceptional record to investigate the impact of late Pleistocene orbitally-driven glacio-eustatic sea-level oscillations on the sedimentary outbuilding of a river fed continental margin. High-resolution grain-size and geochemical records supported by oxygen isotope chronostratigraphy allow reinterpreting the last 500 ka upper slope seismostratigraphy of the Gulf of Lion. Five main sequences, stacked during the sea-level lowering phases of the last five glacial-interglacial 100-kyr cycles, form the upper stratigraphic outbuilding of the continental margin. The high sensitivity of the grain-size record down the borehole to sea-level oscillations can be explained by the great width of the Gulf of Lion continental shelf. Sea level driven changes in accommodation space over the shelf cyclically modified the depositional mode of the entire margin. PRGL1-4 data also illustrate the imprint of sea-level oscillations at millennial time-scale, as shown for Marine Isotopic Stage 3, and provide unambiguous evidence of relative high sea-levels at the onset of each Dansgaard-Oeschger Greenland warm interstadial. The PRGL1-4 grain-size record represents the first evidence for a one-to-one coupling of millennial time-scale sea-level oscillations associated with each Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle.