Articles | Volume 6, issue 8
Biogeosciences, 6, 1671–1680, 2009

Special issue: The ocean in the high-CO2 world II

Biogeosciences, 6, 1671–1680, 2009

  14 Aug 2009

14 Aug 2009

Calcification of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa, under ambient and reduced pH

C. Maier1,2, J. Hegeman1, M. G. Weinbauer2, and J.-P. Gattuso2 C. Maier et al.
  • 1Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Dept. of Biological Oceanography, BP 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands
  • 2CNRS-INSU, Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche, BP28, 06234 Villefranche-sur-Mer Cedex, France; Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris6, Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Abstract. The cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa is one of the few species able to build reef-like structures and a 3-dimensional coral framework in the deep oceans. Furthermore, deep cold-water coral bioherms may be among the first marine ecosystems to be affected by ocean acidification. Colonies of L. pertusa were collected during a cruise in 2006 to cold-water coral bioherms of the Mingulay reef complex (Hebrides, North Atlantic). Shortly after sample collection onboard these corals were labelled with calcium-45. The same experimental approach was used to assess calcification rates and how those changed due to reduced pH during a cruise to the Skagerrak (North Sea) in 2007. The highest calcification rates were found in youngest polyps with up to 1% d−1 new skeletal growth and average rates of 0.11±0.02% d−1±S.E.). Lowering pH by 0.15 and 0.3 units relative to the ambient level resulted in calcification being reduced by 30 and 56%. Lower pH reduced calcification more in fast growing, young polyps (59% reduction) than in older polyps (40% reduction). Thus skeletal growth of young and fast calcifying corallites suffered more from ocean acidification. Nevertheless, L. pertusa exhibited positive net calcification (as measured by 45Ca incorporation) even at an aragonite saturation state (Ωa) below 1.

Final-revised paper