Technical Note: Controlled experimental aquarium system for multi-stressor investigation of carbonate chemistry, oxygen saturation, and temperature
Abstract. As the field of ocean acidification has grown, researchers have increasingly turned to laboratory experiments to understand the impacts of increased CO2 on marine organisms. However, other changes such as ocean warming and deoxygenation are occurring concurrently with the increasing CO2 concentrations, complicating the understanding of the impacts of anthropogenic changes on organisms. This experimental aquarium design allows for independent regulation of CO2 concentration, O2 levels, and temperature in a controlled environment to study the impacts of multiple stressors. The system has the flexibility for a wide range of treatment chemistry, seawater volumes, and study organisms. Control of the seawater chemistry is achieved by equilibration of a chosen gas mixture with seawater using a Liqui-Cel® membrane contactor. Included as examples, two experiments performed using the system have shown control of CO2 at values between approximately 500 and 1400 μatm and O2 at values from 80 to 240 μmol kg−1. Temperature has been maintained to 0.5 °C or better in the range of 10–17 °C. On a weeklong timescale, the system has achieved variability in pH of less than 0.007 pH units and in oxygen concentration of less than 3.5 μmol kg−1. Longer experiments, over a month in duration, have been completed with control to better than 0.08 pH units and 13 μmol kg−1 O2. The ability to study the impacts of multiple stressors in the laboratory simultaneously, as well as independently, will be an important part of understanding the response of marine organisms to a high-CO2 world.