The impact of ocean acidification on the functional morphology of foraminifera

Nikki Khanna, J A Godbold, William Austin, David Maxwell Paterson

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31 Citations (Scopus)
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Culturing experiments were performed on sediment samples from the Ythan Estuary, N. E. Scotland, to assess the impacts of ocean acidification on test surface ornamentation in the benthic foraminifer Haynesina germanica. Specimens were cultured for 36 weeks at either 380, 750 or 1000 ppm atmospheric CO2. Analysis of the test surface using SEM imaging reveals sensitivity of functionally important ornamentation associated with feeding to changing seawater CO2 levels. Specimens incubated at high CO2 levels displayed evidence of shell dissolution, a significant reduction and deformation of ornamentation. It is clear that these calcifying organisms are likely to be vulnerable to ocean acidification. A reduction in functionally important ornamentation could lead to a reduction in feeding efficiency with consequent impacts on this organism’s survival and fitness.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere83118
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Early online date17 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2013


  • Ocean acidification
  • Foraminifera
  • Teeth
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Diatoms


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