BIOACID III – Theme 1: Pelagic Ecosystems and Biogeochemistry

The goal of this consortium is to deepen and consolidate our understanding of ocean acidification effects and other stressors on plankton communities in terms of plankton ecology and biogeochemical functioning. This information will be implemented into an integrated assessment of ocean acidification effects on mainly pelagic ecosystem including possible feedback mechanisms.

We will synthesize the results of previous experiments obtained in BIOACID I and II and in related projects such as the Pelagic Ecosystem CO2 Enrichment Studies (PeECE) and Surface Ocean Processes in the Anthropocene (SOPRAN). Data-model synthesis will provide the necessary information on how to implement CO2/pH sensitivities into biogeochemical models that are used for regional to global scale simulations and future projections. These projections will provide a basis for better risk assessments, management options, and policy advice and will allow for evaluation of socio-economic consequences under different ocean acidification scenario

Theme 1 will address the following questions:

  • What is the plankton community response to ocean acidification?
  • Which biogeochemical impacts derive from changes in plankton community composition and activity?
  • Are elemental budgets affected by ocean acidification?
  • Which global ocean feedbacks might result from changes in ecological and biogeochemical states?

Research approaches

We will combine budget calculations, meta-analysis, and modelling to obtain a sound understanding of the effects of ocean acidification in combination with rising temperatures on the entire plankton food- web and fluxes of major elements.

The first step is a comprehensive review on the impacts of ocean acidification on marine planktonic communities, their vulnerabilities, and potential carry-on effects on higher trophic levels.

The second step is a network and meta-analysis aiming to assess the potential vulnerability of ocean acidification-induced changes in species composition and concomitant changes in the productivity of marine systems.

The final step is a dynamic modelling that synthesises information from the meta-analyses and improved process understanding at the community level. The findings will be extrapolated to the global ocean considering the complex interactions between atmospheric forcing, ocean dynamics, and biogeochemistry. Finally, three-dimensional scenarios will be generated on system-wide, large-scale responses on ocean acidification and other stressors.

Our synthesizing approach is essential to forecast how, when and where the impact of ocean acidification and co-occurring stressors act on the ecosystems and biogeochemistry of the ocean.

Workpackages and structure of Theme 1.

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