Effects of temperature and acidity on Mediterranean benthic calcifiers, in the face of globale climate change

Prada, Fiorella (2014) Effects of temperature and acidity on Mediterranean benthic calcifiers, in the face of globale climate change, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biodiversità ed evoluzione, 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6351.
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The Mediterranean Sea is expected to react faster to global change compared to the ocean and is already showing more pronounced warming and acidification rates. A study performed along the Italian western coast showed that porosity of the skeleton increases with temperature in the zooxanthellate (i.e. symbiotic with unicellular algae named zooxanthellae) solitary scleractinian Balanophyllia europaea while it does not vary with temperature in the solitary non-zooxanthellate Leptopsammia pruvoti. These results were confirmed by another study that indicated that the increase in porosity was accompanied by an increase of the fraction of the largest pores in the pore-space, perhaps due to an inhibition of the photosynthetic process at elevated temperatures, causing an attenuation of calcification. B. europaea, L. pruvoti and the colonial non-zooxanthellate Astroides calycularis, transplanted along a natural pH gradient, showed that high temperature exacerbated the negative effect of lowered pH on their mortality rates. The growth of the zooxanthellate species did not react to reduced pH, while the growth of the two non-zooxanthellate species was negatively affected. Reduced abundance of naturally occurring B. europaea, a mollusk, a calcifying and a non-calcifying macroalgae were observed along the gradient while no variation was seen in the abundance of a calcifying green alga. With decreasing pH, the mineralogy of the coral and mollusk did not change, while the two calcifying algae decreased the content of aragonite in favor of the less soluble calcium sulphates and whewellite (calcium oxalate), possibly as a mechanism of phenotypic plasticity. Increased values of porosity and macroporosity with CO2 were observed in B. europaea specimens, indicating reduces the resistance of its skeletons to mechanical stresses with increasing acidity. These findings, added to the negative effect of temperature on various biological parameters, generate concern on the sensitivity of this zooxanthellate species to the envisaged global climate change scenarios.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Prada, Fiorella
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
ocean acidification, global warming, Mediterranean Sea, zooxanthellate corals, non-zooxanthellate corals
Data di discussione
8 Maggio 2014

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