Alterations in microbial community composition with increasing fCO2: a mesocosm study in the eastern Baltic Sea
- 1NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry and Utrecht University, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, the Netherlands
- 2Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, 27498 Helgoland, Germany
- 3Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Cordley Hall 2082, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331-29052, USA
- 4GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Biological Oceanography, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
- 5Aquatic Microbiology, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94248, 1090 GE Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Abstract. Ocean acidification resulting from the uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) by the ocean is considered a major threat to marine ecosystems. Here we examined the effects of ocean acidification on microbial community dynamics in the eastern Baltic Sea during the summer of 2012 when inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus were strongly depleted. Large-volume in situ mesocosms were employed to mimic present, future and far future CO2 scenarios. All six groups of phytoplankton enumerated by flow cytometry ( < 20 µm cell diameter) showed distinct trends in net growth and abundance with CO2 enrichment. The picoeukaryotic phytoplankton groups Pico-I and Pico-II displayed enhanced abundances, whilst Pico-III, Synechococcus and the nanoeukaryotic phytoplankton groups were negatively affected by elevated fugacity of CO2 (fCO2). Specifically, the numerically dominant eukaryote, Pico-I, demonstrated increases in gross growth rate with increasing fCO2 sufficient to double its abundance. The dynamics of the prokaryote community closely followed trends in total algal biomass despite differential effects of fCO2 on algal groups. Similarly, viral abundances corresponded to prokaryotic host population dynamics. Viral lysis and grazing were both important in controlling microbial abundances. Overall our results point to a shift, with increasing fCO2, towards a more regenerative system with production dominated by small picoeukaryotic phytoplankton.