Impact of ocean acidification on phytoplankton growth and aggregation

Rossi, Tullio (2012) Impact of ocean acidification on phytoplankton growth and aggregation. [Laurea magistrale], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Biologia marina [LM-DM270] - Ravenna, Documento ad accesso riservato.
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Since the industrial revolution, the ocean has absorbed around one third of the anthropogenic CO2, which induced a profound alteration of the carbonate system commonly known as ocean acidification. Since the preindustrial times, the average ocean surface water pH has fallen by 0.1 units, from approximately 8.2 to 8.1 and a further decrease of 0.4 pH units is expected for the end of the century. Despite their microscopic size, marine diatoms are bio-geo-chemically a very important group, responsible for the export of massive amount of carbon to deep waters and sediments. The knowledge of the potential effects of ocean acidification on the phytoplankton growth and on biological pump is still at its infancy. This study wants to investigate the effect of ocean acidification on the growth of the diatom Skeletonema marinoi and on its aggregation, using a mechanistic approach. The experiment consisted of two treatments (Present and Future) representing different pCO2 conditions and two sequential experimental phases. During the cell growth phase a culture of S. marinoi was inoculated into transparent bags and the effect of ocean acidification was studied on various growth parameters, including DOC and TEP production. The aggregation phase consisted in the incubation of the cultures into rolling tanks where the sinking of particles through the water column was simulated and aggregation promoted. Since few studies investigated the effect of pH on the growth of S. marinoi and none used pH ranges that are compatible with the OA scenarios, there were no baselines. I have shown here, that OA does not affect the cell growth of S. marinoi, suggesting that the physiology of this species is robust in respect to the changes in the carbonate chemistry expected for the end of the century. Furthermore, according to my results, OA does not affect the aggregation of S. marinoi in a consistent manner, suggesting that this process has a high natural variability but is not influenced by OA in a predictable way. The effect of OA was tested over a variety of factors including the number of aggregates produced, their size and sinking velocity, the algal, bacterial and TEP content. Many of these variables showed significant treatment effects but none of these were consistent between the two experiments.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di laurea (Laurea magistrale)
Autore della tesi
Rossi, Tullio
Relatore della tesi
Correlatore della tesi
Corso di studio
Ordinamento Cds
Data di discussione della Tesi
18 Luglio 2012

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