Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/bg-2017-70
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
03 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).
Quantification of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) production in the sea anemone Aiptasia sp. to simulate the sea-to-air flux from coral reefs
Filippo Franchini and Michael Steinke Coral Reef Research Unit, School of Biological Science, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ, United Kingdom
Abstract. The production of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is poorly quantified in tropical reef environments but forms an essential process that couples marine and terrestrial sulfur cycles and affects climate. Here we used gas chromatography to quantify net DMS production and the concentration of its cellular precursor dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in the sea anemone Aiptasia sp., a model organism to study coral-related processes. Bleached anemones did not show net DMS production whereas symbiotic anemones produced DMS concentrations (mean ± standard error) of 160.7 ± 44.22 nmol g−1 dry weight (DW) after 48 h incubation. Symbiotic and bleached individuals showed DMSP concentrations of 32.7 ± 6.00 and 0.6 ± 0.19 μmol g−1 DW, respectively. We applied these findings to a Monte-Carlo simulation of DMS flux into the atmosphere and demonstrate that net aqueous DMS production accounts for only 0.5–2.0 % of gross aqueous DMS production, and that reefs may release up to 15 μmol DMS m−2 coral surface area d−1 into the atmosphere with 40 % probability for rates between 0.5 and 1.5 μmol m d−1. Conversion to a flux rate normalised to sea surface area (range 0.3–10 with highest probability for 0.3–1 μmol DMS m−2 d−1) suggests that coral reefs continuously emit DMS at lower rates than the average global oceanic DMS flux of 6.7 μmol m−2 d−1. The high gross DMS-production rates in corals suggest that it is important to assess the sensitivity of DMS-consumption pathways to environmental change before addressing the impact of predicted degradation of coral reefs on DMS production in tropical coastal ecosystems and its impact on future atmospheric DMS concentrations and climate.

Citation: Franchini, F. and Steinke, M.: Quantification of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) production in the sea anemone Aiptasia sp. to simulate the sea-to-air flux from coral reefs, Biogeosciences Discuss., doi:10.5194/bg-2017-70, in review, 2017.
Filippo Franchini and Michael Steinke
Filippo Franchini and Michael Steinke
Filippo Franchini and Michael Steinke

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Short summary
Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is a biogenic gas known to many as the smell of the sea but it also stimulates the formation of clouds and cools our planet. Few data are available on its production along tropical coasts and here we quantify DMS release in a sea anemone. We then use this information to model the release of DMS in coral reefs and highlight that we lack information on DMS-consumption processes if we were to quantify the effect of environmental change on DMS emission from tropical reefs.
Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is a biogenic gas known to many as the smell of the sea but it also...
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