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Organic matter flow through the benthic communities under current and ocean acidification conditions

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Camila Ortulan Pereira
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto Oceanográfico (IO/DIDC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Paulo Yukio Gomes Sumida; Thais Navajas Corbisier; Tania Marcia Costa; Tatiana Fabricio Maria; Alexander Turra
Advisor: Paulo Yukio Gomes Sumida

Increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the atmosphere is causing global warming and ocean acidification (OA) which are increasingly recognized as important drivers of changes in biological systems. The OA has the potential to change in various ways the biogeochemical dynamics of organic carbon in the ocean, leading to a change in the quality of the organic matter (OM) available to marine organisms. So far, very little is known about how the sediments, the organisms that live in it and the processes that occur in it will respond to changes in the acidity of seawater. In the Brazilian coast, in particular, the study on the effects of climate change on benthic processes is still incipient. The present study was an experimental investigation in order to follow the incorporation of organic carbon and its destination over the marine benthic community after the arrival of fresh food, in current conditions and low pH. Our results indicated that when there is arrival of fresh OM, benthic community present in the first few centimeters of sediment responds quickly incorporating this material. In bacterial biomass, after 2 days of experiment, high incorporation values (7283.04 μg13C.m-2) were detected. Among the macrofaunal groups, polychaetes had the highest incorporation of the tracer, and after 4 days of experiment, the key players in the incorporation of the tracer were Prionospio steenstrupi (51291.9 μg13C.m-2, 0-4 cm), Leodice rubra (20971.5 μg13C.m-2, 0-4 cm) and Poecilochaetus perequensis (6171.8 and 7263.2 μg13C.m-2, 0-4 and 4-10 cm, respectively), besides the mollusk bivalve Eurytellina nitens (10600.4 μg13C.m-2, 0-4 cm). Under conditions of OA, the polychaete Leitoscoloplos sp. (2.02 μg13C.m-2) and anthozoa Edwarsia sp. (0.16 μg13C.m-2) stood out in the incorporation of the tracer at low pH (7.3). In contrast, the mollusk Dosinia concentrica (2.77 μg13C.m-2) and the polychaete Poecilochaetus perequenses (2.68 μg13C.m-2) were important agents of processing organic carbon in the first centimeters of sediment in control (pH 8.1). Our results showed that episodic events of fresh food arrival, coming from processes that enhance the primary production (i.e., intrusion of SACW and resuspension of sediment) in this meso-oligotrophic region, appears to be essential not only for the maintenance and survival of benthic community, but also to carbon cycling in these relatively food poor environments. Furthermore, in conditions of climate change, the incorporation and the flow of the organic carbon by part of benthic macrofaunal can be potentially affected by OA. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/14032-9 - Organic matter flow through the benthic communities under higher ocean acidification conditions
Grantee:Camila Ortulan Pereira
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)