The combined effects of ocean acidification and copper on the physiological responses of the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata

Sarah Cryer*, Christian Schlosser, Nicola Allison

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

A decrease in ocean pH of 0.3 units will likely double the proportion of dissolved copper (Cu) present as the free metal ion, Cu2+, the most bioavailable form of Cu, and one of the most common marine pollutants. We assess the impact of ocean acidification and Cu, separately and in combination, on calcification, photosynthesis and respiration of sub-colonies of a single tropical Stylophora pistillata colony. After 15 days of treatment, total calcification rates were significantly decreased in corals exposed to high seawater pCO2 (~1000-µatm, 2100 scenario) and at both ambient (1.6 - 1.9 nmols) and high (2.5 - 3.6 nmols) dissolved Cu concentrations compared to controls. The effect was increased when both stressors were combined. Coral respiration rates were significantly reduced by the combined stressors after 2 weeks of exposure, indicating the importance of experiment duration. It is therefore likely rising atmospheric CO2 will exacerbate the negative effects of Cu pollution to S. pistillata.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105610
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Volume176
Early online date18 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Coral
  • Copper
  • Ocean acidification
  • Calcification
  • Respiration

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