Task 3.1: Sediment habitats

Silvana Birchenough, CEFAS


H0 Future high CO2 scenarios will have no significant impact on the functioning of sediment habitats

This task will integrate previous understanding gained from high CO2 environments, field and lab experiments with results from observations and experiments from this study to provide an overview of the effect of OA on sediment functions. These data will be used to develop and test site specific or regional impact models of OA against baseline sediment functions. Site specific and regional knowledge of assemblage distributions, combined with site specific or experimental impact / sensitivity models will allow predictions of OA regional effects within a shelf sea area such as the North Sea and provide greater understanding of overall impact of OA on benthic assemblages and sediment nutrient / carbon cycling.

Building on wider knowledge of shelf sea sediment function, Task 3.1 will integrate experimental and observational information into overall assessments of biologically controlled sediment function (biogeochemistry, C and N cycling, storage, production and link to commercial species). We will follow a standard methodology to model site specific and regional scale impacts of OA on function using the empirical data to force species and assemblage changes or direct/indirect function changes. This will also involve adaptation of the Tett et al. model of ‘undesirable disturbance’ to address sediment functional response (extent, significance and rate) to increasing OA pressure and expand impact assessment to a regional scale using GIS and dynamic ecosystem modelling approaches.