Consortium structure

  • Aim 1: Determine the effect of ocean acidification on the performance, life history and population dynamics of individual benthic species

Coordinated by Nia Whitely, Bangor

The ability of marine invertebrates to function under conditions of OA and elevated seawater temperature is largely unknown and may vary considerably between and within species, and between life stages. As individual survival is dictated by physiological acclimatisation or adaptation to environmental change, it is important to understand the underlying physiological mechanisms and their metabolic limitations. The ability to compensate for OA could impact on other energy demanding processes such as activity, performance (growth and reproduction), and health (immune response).

Aim 1 will therefore determine the effects of the various CO2; x temperature combinations on: key benthic activities (1.1), physiological adjustments and their metabolic consequences (1.2); performance and health (1.1, 1.2); and vulnerability of different life stages (1.3). Resulting data will be used to model implications for population dynamics (1.3), while laboratory-based natural selection experiments will be used to establish whether adaptation to OA and temperature elevation is feasible (1.4).

Task 1.1: Determine the impact of acidification and warming on the function of key species (Coordinated by Martin Solan, Aberdeen U)

Task 1.2: Identify the physiological responses that underpin changes in organism performance and function (Chris Hauton, Southampton U)

Task 1.3: Compare the vulnerability of different life stages and model the implications for population dynamics (Mike Burrows, SAMS)

Task 1.4: Identify the potential for organism resistance and adaptation to prolonged CO2 exposure (John Spicer, Plymouth) 

  • Aim 2: Quantify the impacts of ocean acidification on microbial communities and elemental cycling in coastal ecosystems

Coordinated by Mark Osborn, University of Hull

In order to investigate, understand and quantify the impact of acidification on the coastal and shelf seas it is vital to understand how elevated CO2 x temperature impacts on the biogeochemistry of benthic habitats. In order to study these impacts several highly complementary and multi-facetted approaches are required.

Aim 2 will therefore interrelate the activities of the other Aims using four work tasks. These will focus on (2.1) interrelation between elevated CO2 x temperature and sediment nutrient dynamics, (2.2) sediment microbial community responses to elevated CO2 x temperature, (2.3) refinement of conceptual and numerical modelling tools for predicting and evaluating the impacts of elevated CO2 x temperature on sediment nutrient cycling and (2.4) determination of the impact of elevated CO2 on biofilms inhabiting hard substrata.

Task 2.1: Determine the impact of acidification on the distribution and fluxes of nutrients in sediment (Henrik Stahl, SAMS)

Task 2.2: Quantify the response of sediment microbial communities and N-cycling functional guilds to high CO2 (Mark Osborn, Sheffield)

Task 2.3: Model the impact of ocean acidification on sediment nutrient cycling and shelf productivity (Jerry Blackford, PML)

Task 2.4: Quantify the impact of ocean acidification on biofilms from rocky habitats (Karen Tait, PML) 

  • Aim 3: Determine the effects of ocean acidification on the overall function of key benthic habitats.

Coordinated by David Paterson, St Andrews

Building on the understanding generated from the experimental studies to predict the impacts of OA and warming on the functioning of key benthic habitats. Specifically, we will supplement knowledge gained under previous grants with novel data generated from additional manipulative experiments, field observation and numerical modelling. Further understanding will be acquired through collaboration with researchers from other UK and international OA initiatives.

Aim 3 will organized into 3 tasks; each concentrating on a specific benthic habitat.

Task 3.1: Sediment habitats (Silvana Birchenough, CEFAS)

Task 3.2: Calcifying, biogenic habitats (Murray Roberts, Heriot-Watt)

Task 3.3: Rocky, intertidal habitats (Nova Mieszkowska, MBA)