Claim: Ocean acidification locks algal communities in a simplified state

Researchers from the University of Tsukuba find that ocean acidification restricts algal communities to a state of low biodiversity and complexity

UNIVERSITY OF TSUKUBA

Research News

Tsukuba, Japan – Out with the old, in with the new, as the New Year’s saying goes, but not where the marine environment is concerned. Researchers from Japan have discovered that ocean acidification keeps algal communities locked in a simplified state of low biodiversity.

In a study published on 11th January 2021 in Global Change Biology, researchers from the University of Tsukuba have revealed that as oceanic carbon dioxide levels rise, the biodiversity and ecological complexity of marine algal communities decline.

Ocean acidification is the continuing increase in the acidity of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The largest contributor to this acidification is human-caused CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

“Ocean acidification is harmful to a lot of different marine organisms,” says lead author of the study Professor Ben P. Harvey. “This affects not only ecosystem functions, but the goods and services that people get from marine resources.”

To examine the changes caused by CO2-enriched waters in algal communities, the researchers anchored tiles in the ocean for the algae to grow on. The tiles were placed in reference conditions (i.e., ones that represent the structure and function of biological communities subject to no/very minor human-caused disturbances) and acidified conditions. The team used a natural CO2 seep for the acidified conditions to represent the CO2 conditions at the end of this century, and compared differences between the cooler months (January to July) and warmer months (July to January).

“We found that the tiles ended up being taken over by turf algae in the acidified conditions, and the communities had lower diversity, complexity and biomass,” explains Professor Harvey. “This pattern was consistent throughout the seasons, keeping these communities locked in simplified systems that had low biodiversity.”

The team also transplanted established communities between the two conditions. The transplanted communities ultimately matched the other communities around them (i.e., high biodiversity, complexity and biomass in the reference conditions, and vice versa for the acidified conditions).

“By understanding the ecological processes that change community structure, we can better evaluate how ocean acidification is likely to alter communities in the future,” says Professor Harvey.

The results of this study highlight that if atmospheric CO2 emissions are not reduced, we may see an increased loss of large algal habitats (such as kelp forests). But the study also shows that shallow-water marine communities can recover if significant reductions in CO2 emissions are achieved, such as those urged by the Paris Agreement.

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The article, “Ocean acidification locks algal communities in a species-poor early successional stage,” was published in Global Change Biology at DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15455

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Scissor
January 17, 2021 10:04 am

I just swallowed a glass of water that was over 1000% more acidic than sea water. Wish me luck.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Scissor
January 17, 2021 1:47 pm

Here, we deployed recruitment tiles in reference (pHT 8.137 ± 0.056 SD) and CO2‐enriched conditions (pHT 7.788 ± 0.105 SD) at a volcanic CO2 seep in Japan

Just don’t swallow the volcanic seep water. They don’t mention temperature or mineral differences in the abstract. Extreme conditions are dominated by extremophiles? Shocking, must be global warming.

BCBill
Reply to  Robert W Turner
January 17, 2021 3:48 pm

Here is a good paper on the chemistry of CO2 seeps:https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10533-020-00737-9

CO2 seeps apparently often include H2S, that perfectly benign compound (sarc) that is only mildly acidifying and therefore of no concern.

Scissor
Reply to  Robert W Turner
January 17, 2021 6:12 pm

I survived and am about to experiment with a fully carbonated beverage, which contains CO2, CH3CH2OH and various other fermentation products. Most scary, the acidity of this beverage is one million % greater than that of sea water.

Reply to  Scissor
January 18, 2021 2:45 am

I hope you gag! Because of you almost killing my granma by not wearing a mask just 15 000 miles away, my entire country has been proscribed alcohol, and all the liquor stores are boarded up.
I hate you and your bragging about committing suicide by fermentation product, you…you…denier!

January 17, 2021 10:15 am

Climate alarmism locks the scientific community in a simplified state.

Editor
Reply to  Phil Salmon
January 17, 2021 8:38 pm

Yeah somehow a tiny inflow of CO2 over time is a concern in a body of water already loaded with around the estimated 38,000 PgC of CO2, it is so silly.

Source

Oceans: The Earth’s oceans contain 38,000 PgC, most of which is in the form of dissolved inorganic carbon stored at great depths where it resides for long periods of time. A much smaller amount of carbon, approximately 1,000 Pg, is located near the ocean surface. This carbon is exchanged rapidly with the atmosphere through both physical processes, such as CO2 gas dissolving into the water, and biological processes, such as the growth, death and decay of plankton. Although most of this surface carbon cycles rapidly, some of it can also be transferred by sinking to the deep ocean pool where it can be stored for a much longer time.

Last edited 8 months ago by Sunsettommy
Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Sunsettommy
January 18, 2021 5:26 am

How many olympic swimming pools is that?

Gregory Woods
January 17, 2021 10:19 am

No doubt that soon seawater will be a good substitute for sulpheric acid…

Kpar
Reply to  Gregory Woods
January 17, 2021 3:05 pm

And we could all charge our batteries! Finally, a renewable that might work!

January 17, 2021 10:21 am

Using “acidification”, the paper doesn’t woth the ink it’s printed with.

Latitude
Reply to  Krishna Gans
January 17, 2021 11:37 am

worse…much much worse….these people are idiots…on flat out lying cons

“We found that the tiles ended up being taken over by turf algae in the acidified conditions”

turf algae is always the first to establish….it creates a strata for the higher algae to attach to

…and then go on to admit their lying…by saying this

CO2 had no effect at all……

====================

The team also transplanted established communities between the two conditions. The transplanted communities ultimately matched the other communities around them (i.e., high biodiversity, complexity and biomass in the reference conditions, and vice versa for the acidified conditions).

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  Latitude
January 17, 2021 3:43 pm

Of course but Caveat–I know nothing about volcanic seeps in Japan or anywhere else and this is only the abstract, the first line of which is their conclusion
“Long term exposure to CO2 enriched waters can considerably alter marine biological community development, often resulting in simplified systems dominated by turf algae that possess reduced biodiversity and low ecological complexity.” Second to last line has more to do about telling what we need to do
“This shows that meaningful reductions in pCO2 can enable the recovery of algal communities” They used recruitment tiles at “(pHT 8.137 ± 0.056 SD) and CO2 enriched conditions (pHT 7.788 ± 0.105 SD)” I have a little experience with recruitment tiles, yes as they conclude–“This locked the community in a species poor early successional stage.” First come, first serve.

Never mind as this has me confused “Our transplant of preestablished communities from enriched CO2 to reference conditions demonstrated their high resilience, since they became indistinguishable from communities maintained entirely in reference conditions.” At three decimal places they are also.

Latitude
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
January 17, 2021 4:18 pm

they set up clean tiles…and assumed it stopped with turf algae
…if they had given it enough time…the other plants, animals, etc would have colonized it

…and proved it by moving communities (rocks with crap growing on them) and they grew and flourished

the bigger question is…how do they get away with writing this crap?
doesn’t anyone at “UNIVERSITY OF TSUKUBA” know any better?

Last edited 8 months ago by Latitude
Editor
January 17, 2021 10:30 am

First, anyone talking about “acidification” is an alarmist. I remember titration in high school chemistry, where adding a small amount of a base to an acid or a small amount of acid to a base is called “neutralization”. The ocean is slowly neutralizing.

Next, these folks talk as though going from a pH of 8.1 to a pH of 7.8 is some kind of death sentence from the ocean. According to them its gonna “lock algal communities in a simplified state.

Seems they never noticed that the pH in Alaska is on the order of 7.7, and those are some of the most productive marine regions on the planet.

Finally, people think of the pH as being both the same everywhere and constant over time. Here is the average, standard deviation and range of some locations.
comment image

And here are the changes at the inlet pipe for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
comment image

They go past the range of the study at the high and low ends, and guess what?

All of the creatures in the aquarium are doing just fine.

As you can see, these alarmist “scientists” are just hyping their results. Why? Likely for further funding, perhaps for professional advancement, I don’t know … but they are clearly alarmists.

w.

Scissor
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 17, 2021 10:35 am

Nice graphs!

fred250
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 17, 2021 11:02 am

“The ocean is slowly neutralizing”

Are they? or are they just “theoretically” neutralizing.

The Aloha study showed a change, but it was too short to be any significance given the oscillations seen as other places in the Pacific.

comment image

A composition of all surface pH readings taken around the world shows a very slight increase in pH

comment image

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  fred250
January 17, 2021 7:03 pm

Fred, sounds like one of those things that shouldn’t be averaged. Like “global temperature” or “global sea level”.

Mr.
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 17, 2021 1:03 pm

The ocean is slowly neutralizing.

Which ocean, Willis?

Is it THE ocean that is reported to be in extremis by THE science?

philincalifornia
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 17, 2021 2:16 pm

Great graphs Willis, and Fred too. My confession is that as an organic chemist I would have probably said “acidification” for neutralizing a solution. Then again, who would have predicted the perversion of the words “progressive” and “liberal” and the more recent “insurrection”. If someone had told me that these freaks would battle fascism by banning free speech, I probably could have predicted it.

Redge
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 17, 2021 11:37 pm

I had the same argument with Richard Black formerly the BBC’s environmental activist, er, I mean editor.

This is a guy whos column was read by many, knew the impression he was creating, the lie he was spreading and still had the gall to push the party line.

mikebartnz
January 17, 2021 10:35 am

Why is my BS detector on high alert.
So a process that might take 80 years and might not even occur they have sped up so it takes a fraction of the time and they think that is scientific.

January 17, 2021 10:39 am

“But the study also shows that shallow-water marine communities can recover if significant reductions in CO2 emissions are achieved, such as those urged by the Paris Agreement.”

That’a a Garbage disinformation statement thrown in for virtue signaling and propaganda.
The Paris agreement makes no reductions for all the developing world, including the world’s largest emitter of CO2 by a long ways, China.

A CO2 seep can cause highly saturated CO2 conditions in the surrounding water that far exceed any high end emissions scenarios. Without quantifying the CO2 saturation levels at both locations in the water surrounding the tiles, this is a useless study that tells us nothing about ocean water pH and algae growth. High saturation levels of CO2 can make the water toxic for animal life that the diversity of algal colonies depends on.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 17, 2021 3:01 pm

Waters around Dobu Island in the Trobriands. On top of the Ring of Fire. Those bubbles are almost neat CO2 pouring out of the sea bed. Sea grass lush, nearby corals lush etc. Things are a bit different very close to the fumaroles, but they teem with life as well.
http://jennifermarohasy.com/2008/07/ocean-acidification-photographs-from-bob-halstead-and-a-note-from-floor-anthoni/

fred250
January 17, 2021 10:55 am

The study does not show the oceans are “acidifying”

It shows that algae in a rich CO2 seep is different from in normal seawater.

This is entirely expected.

A real case of a “SO WHAT” study. pertaining to NOTHING.

Reply to  fred250
January 17, 2021 2:23 pm

Having had aquaria as scholar, I always had a bottle with sugarwater and yeast, a flexible tube leading the CO2 in the water, plants were happy, as were the algae 😀

Last edited 8 months ago by Krishna Gans
Rory Forbes
January 17, 2021 11:04 am

What utter nonsense. I can’t believe anyone is still talking about “ocean acidification” after years of continual correction by real scientists. The word “acidification” is a meaningless neologism intended to scare uninformed hysterics. Anyone using the term except as a parody, should be laughed out of the science department.

fred250
Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 17, 2021 12:04 pm

“I can’t believe anyone is still talking about……”

Hey, they also continue to show steam from power station cooling towers to indicate CO2 “pollution”

Its a CON to fool the lowest form of human mind.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  fred250
January 17, 2021 1:49 pm

They can either have ocean warming c/w decreased CO2 saturation (increased pH) or they can have ocean cooling with increased saturation and lower pH. They can’t have both at the same time.

Scary ocean acidification is just something to stir up the thumb suckers.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 20, 2021 7:34 am

YES but logic and reason have no place in “Climate Science.”

Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 17, 2021 9:01 pm
fred250
January 17, 2021 11:15 am
Dave Fair
January 17, 2021 11:32 am

I’d be interested in learning how the study authors controlled for the differences in study site conditions other than CO2 concentrations. Temperatures, mineral concentrations, tides and etc.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Dave Fair
January 17, 2021 12:01 pm

VERY, VERY good point!

JCalvertN(UK)
Reply to  Dave Fair
January 18, 2021 5:34 pm

Yes. But that would be doing science properly.

They used a “CO2 seep”. What else was seeping out?

I have obtained the paper. So far, I have not found any evidence of the kind of “bending over backwards to get it right” – as advocated by Feynman.

January 17, 2021 12:34 pm

CO2 is supposed to be leaving the oceans due to higher temp and thus less tendency towards acidity? Coastal waters can be different from open ocean due to man made and natural runoff. The world’s oceans have a huge amount of limestone which over time will offset any tendency towards becoming acidic.

Kpar
January 17, 2021 12:40 pm

“in a simplified state…”
You mean like Illinois? I am “locked in” by the collapse of my property values.

Thank You, Governor Jelly Belly Pritzker.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Kpar
January 17, 2021 1:51 pm

“in a simplified state…”

I think they’re talking about the mind of the “president elect”.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 20, 2021 7:36 am

You mean the “President Defect?” LOL

Kevin A
January 17, 2021 12:47 pm

“The largest contributor to this acidification is human-caused CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.”
Trolling for money, that is all this paper did.

Last edited 8 months ago by Kevin A
chemman
January 17, 2021 1:05 pm

Please. Human’s are responsible for around 3% of the annual CO2 budget so they can’t be responsible for the major portion of “Ocean Acidification”

BTW until the ocean achieves a pH value of 7.0 you can’t talk about increasing acidification because the ocean is still alkaline.

Notanacademic
January 17, 2021 1:13 pm

Hang on a minute the oceans are getting warmer, the world is getting warmer catastrophically apparently. Warm oceans outgas co2 so this shouldn’t be a problem for the oceans. This new religion seems to have some bloody big holes in it

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Notanacademic
January 17, 2021 7:08 pm

This new religion seems to have some bloody big holes in it”

They all do. It’s a feature, not a bug.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Notanacademic
January 20, 2021 7:45 am

No, you don’t get it. Warming oceans, according to the Eco-Fascists, can only cause sea level rise that “threatens” coastal developments and cities. They can’t admit that warming oceans outgas CO2, because that undermines their claim that all of the CO2 level increase is due to human fossil fuel use, AND undermines their claim that “ocean acidification” via an increase in CO2 content is ALSO caused by human fossil fuel use..

Climate “Science” is a textbook example of the old saying “What tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Rich Davis
January 17, 2021 1:49 pm

“This affects not only ecosystem functions, but the goods and services that people get from marine resources.”

Services? What services do people get from marine resources?

Mr.
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 17, 2021 1:56 pm

Recreational angler licenses?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Mr.
January 17, 2021 2:27 pm

Is that like the service we get from the Department of Motor Vehicles when we want permission to drive? So the DMV is a resource I guess.

No, I don’t consider government fees to be a service.

lackawaxen123
January 17, 2021 1:54 pm

anyone who uses the term ocean acidification is no scientist … they are a propagandist …

a happy little debunker
January 17, 2021 2:15 pm

Ocean acidification is the continuing increase in the acidity of the Earth’s oceans,

An Alkaline solution cannot become more acidic – it can only become less alkaline.
Either we listen to the science or we are practicing scientism!

Right-Handed Shark
January 17, 2021 4:22 pm

So carbon dioxide is toxic to carbon-based life forms in the ocean.. who’da thunk it?

JohnHSC
January 17, 2021 6:16 pm

The last time I opened a warm can of soda much of the CO2 came fizzing out. Solubility of gas in a liquid is a function of temperature, so to prevent “acidification” we would want warmer oceans that would absorb less gas. “Save the whales, I mean save the algae, warm the oceans!!”

Pat Frank
January 17, 2021 10:19 pm

The actual problem is that the AGW narrative keeps scientific communities locked in a simplified state of enfeebled intelligence.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Pat Frank
January 20, 2021 7:48 am

Nicely put, Pat. I like to say that “climate science is in its infancy, and will remain there until the so-called “climate scientists” get over their CO2 fetish.”

JCalvertN(UK)
January 18, 2021 1:54 am

I was hoping the East Asian universities, scholars and scientists could provide a bulwark of sanity while Western academe dissolves into a mush of Post-Modern nonsense.

So I’m quite disappointed to discover that they are importing half-baked western junk-scientists like Prof Harvey.

Last edited 8 months ago by JCalvertN(UK)
Geoff Sherrington
January 24, 2021 2:10 am
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