Aggregation and Sedimentation of Thalassiosira weissflogii (diatom) in a Warmer and More Acidified Future Ocean

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Seebah, Shalin
Fairfield, Caitlin
Ullrich, Matthias S.
Passow, Uta
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Increasing Transparent Exopolymer Particle (TEP) formation during diatom blooms as a result of elevated temperature and pCO2 have been suggested to result in enhanced aggregation and carbon flux, therewith potentially increasing the sequestration of carbon by the ocean. We present experimental results on TEP and aggregate formation by Thalassiosira weissflogii (diatom) in the presence or absence of bacteria under two temperature and three pCO2 scenarios. During the aggregation phase of the experiment TEP formation was elevated at the higher temperature (20°C vs. 15°C), as predicted. However, in contrast to expectations based on the established relationship between TEP and aggregation, aggregation rates and sinking velocity of aggregates were depressed in warmer treatments, especially under ocean acidification conditions. If our experimental findings can be extrapolated to natural conditions, they would imply a reduction in carbon flux and potentially reduced carbon sequestration after diatom blooms in the future ocean.
© The Author(s), 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 9 (2014): e112379, doi:10.1575/1912/6845.
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PLoS One 9 (2014): e112379
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