Anthropogenic acidification of surface waters drives decreased biogenic calcification in the Mediterranean Sea

Sven Pallacks, Patrizia Ziveri, Ralf Schiebel, Hubert Vonhof, James W. B. Rae, Eloise Littley, Jordi Garcia-Orellana, Gerald Langer, Michael Grelaud, Belen Martrat

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Abstract

Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions directly or indirectly drive ocean acidification, warming and enhanced stratification. The combined effects of these processes on marine planktic calcifiers at decadal to centennial timescales are poorly understood. Here, we analyze size normalized planktic foraminiferal shell weight, shell geochemistry, and supporting proxies from 3 sediment cores in the Mediterranean Sea spanning several centuries. Our results allow us to investigate the response of surface-dwelling planktic foraminifera to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. We find that increased anthropogenic carbon dioxide levels led to basin wide reductions in size normalized weights by modulating foraminiferal calcification. Carbon (δ13C) and boron (δ11B) isotopic compositions also indicate the increasing influence of fossil fuel derived carbon dioxide and decreasing pH, respectively. Alkenone concentrations and test accumulation rates indicate that warming and changes in biological productivity are insufficient to offset acidification effects. We suggest that further increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will drive ongoing reductions in marine biogenic calcification in the Mediterranean Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Article number301
Number of pages10
JournalCommunications Earth & Environment
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2023

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