Task 3.2: Calcifying, biogenic habitats

Murray Roberts, Heriot-Watt


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

This task will assess whether any changes in the growth, physiology and structural integrity of these species impede the ecosystem engineering function they perform. Cold-water corals are among the most three-dimensionally complex deep-sea habitats known and are associated with high local biodiversity. However, their remoteness and the relatively short history of ecological research in these habitats mean that to date we have little information on carbon and energy flow through these systems. Addressing these questions in terms of L. pertusa habitats is challenging.

Whilst data from the exposure experiments carried out in Aim 1 will be very useful, Task 3.2 will also need to employ field observations to determine whether the aragonite saturation state horizon has an impact on the health and growth of existing reefs.L. pertusa habitats associated with the shallow Mingulay Reef complex (130 m) and deep Rockall Bank coral carbonate mounds (800 m) will be examined. These two sites probably represent the best characterised cold-water coral habitats known to date.