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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-424
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-424
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 24 Oct 2016

Submitted as: research article | 24 Oct 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Acidification counteracts negative effects of warming on diatom silicification

Alexandra Coello-Camba1 and Susana Agustí1,2 Alexandra Coello-Camba and Susana Agustí
  • 1Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • 2Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, Faculty of Bioscience, Fishery and Economy, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, 9037 , Norway

Abstract. Diatoms are a significant group contributing up to 40 % of annual primary production in the oceans. They have a special siliceous cell wall that, acting as a ballast, plays a key role in the sequestration of global carbon and silica. Diatoms dominate primary production in the Arctic Ocean, where global climate change is causing increases in water temperature and in the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2). Here we show that as water temperature increases diatoms become stressed, grow to smaller sizes, and decrease their silicification rates. But at higher pCO2, as the pH of seawater decreases, silica incorporation rates are increased. In a future warmer Arctic ocean diatoms may have a competitive advantage under increased ocean acidification, as increased pCO2 counteracts the adverse effects of increasing temperature on silicification and buffers its consequences in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and silica.

Alexandra Coello-Camba and Susana Agustí
Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Alexandra Coello-Camba and Susana Agustí
Alexandra Coello-Camba and Susana Agustí
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Short summary
We demonstrated that the effects of increased temperature and pCO2 on the silicification process in diatoms are interactive, showing a temperature dependent capacity of increased pCO2 to buffer the negative effects of warming. Therefore, as long as the increase in temperature does not surpass the buffering capacity of pCO2, the increase of this latter stressor will help diatoms to retain their sinking properties, preserving their role in the biogeochemical cycles of silica and carbon.
We demonstrated that the effects of increased temperature and pCO2 on the silicification...
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