Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Biogeosciences, 7, 81–93, 2010

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

Biogeosciences, 7, 81–93, 2010

  07 Jan 2010

07 Jan 2010

Impact of seawater pCO2 on calcification and Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios in benthic foraminifera calcite: results from culturing experiments with Ammonia tepida

D. Dissard1, G. Nehrke1, G. J. Reichart1,2, and J. Bijma1 D. Dissard et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Abstract. Evidence of increasing concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide, especially in the surface ocean and its associated impacts on calcifying organisms, is accumulating. Among these organisms, benthic and planktonic foraminifera are responsible for a large amount of the globally precipitated calcium carbonate. Hence, their response to an acidifying ocean may have important consequences for future inorganic carbon cycling. To assess the sensitivity of benthic foraminifera to changing carbon dioxide levels and subsequent alteration in seawater carbonate chemistry, we cultured specimens of the shallow water species Ammonia tepida at two concentrations of atmospheric CO2 (230 and 1900 ppmv) and two temperatures (10 °C and 15 °C). Shell weights and elemental compositions were determined. Impact of high and low pCO2 on elemental composition are compared with results of a previous experiment were specimens were grown under ambient conditions (380 ppvm, no shell weight measurements of specimen grown under ambient conditions are, however, available). Results indicate that shell weights decrease with decreasing [CO32−], although calcification was observed even in the presence of calcium carbonate under-saturation, and also decrease with increasing temperature. Thus both warming and ocean acidification may act to decrease shell weights in the future. Changes in [CO32−] or total dissolved inorganic carbon do not affect the Mg distribution coefficient. On the contrary, Sr incorporation is enhanced under increasing [CO32−]. Implications of these results for the paleoceanographic application of foraminifera are discussed.

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