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Open AccessArticle

Diatoms Dominate and Alter Marine Food-Webs When CO2 Rises

1
Shimoda Marine Research Center, University of Tsukuba, 5-10-1 Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0025, Japan
2
Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, University of Plymouth, PL4 8AA Plymouth, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(12), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11120242
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 27 November 2019 / Accepted: 9 December 2019 / Published: 16 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Phytoplankton)
Diatoms are so important in ocean food-webs that any human induced changes in their abundance could have major effects on the ecology of our seas. The large chain-forming diatom Biddulphia biddulphiana greatly increases in abundance as pCO2 increases along natural seawater CO2 gradients in the north Pacific Ocean. In areas with reference levels of pCO2, it was hard to find, but as seawater carbon dioxide levels rose, it replaced seaweeds and became the main habitat-forming species on the seabed. This diatom algal turf supported a marine invertebrate community that was much less diverse and completely differed from the benthic communities found at present-day levels of pCO2. Seawater CO2 enrichment stimulated the growth and photosynthetic efficiency of benthic diatoms, but reduced the abundance of calcified grazers such as gastropods and sea urchins. These observations suggest that ocean acidification will shift photic zone community composition so that coastal food-web structure and ecosystem function are homogenised, simplified, and more strongly affected by seasonal algal blooms. View Full-Text
Keywords: ocean acidification; benthic diatoms; ecological shift; CO2 fertilisation; turf algae; habitat-forming; algal blooms; marine food-webs ocean acidification; benthic diatoms; ecological shift; CO2 fertilisation; turf algae; habitat-forming; algal blooms; marine food-webs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Harvey, B.P.; Agostini, S.; Kon, K.; Wada, S.; Hall-Spencer, J.M. Diatoms Dominate and Alter Marine Food-Webs When CO2 Rises. Diversity 2019, 11, 242.

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