Sensitivity of coral calcification to ocean acidification: a meta-analysis

Chan, Neil C.S., and Connolly, Sean R. (2013) Sensitivity of coral calcification to ocean acidification: a meta-analysis. Global Change Biology, 19 (1). pp. 282-290.

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To date, meta-analyses of effects of acidification have focused on the overall strength of evidence for statistically significant responses; however, to anticipate likely consequences of ocean acidification, quantitative estimates of the magnitude of likely responses are also needed. Herein, we use random effects meta-analysis to produce a systematically integrated measure of the distribution of magnitudes of the response of coral calcification to decreasing Ω(Arag). We also tested whether methodological and biological factors that have been hypothesized to drive variation in response magnitude explain a significant proportion of the among-study variation. We found that the overall mean response of coral calcification is similar to 15% per unit decrease in Ω(Arag) over the range 2 < Ω(Arag) < 4. Among-study variation is large (standard deviation of 8% per unit decrease in Ω(Arag)). Neither differences in carbonate chemistry manipulation method, study duration, irradiance level, nor study species growth rate explained a significant proportion of the among-study variation. However, studies employing buoyant weighting found significantly smaller decreases in calcification per unit Ω(Arag) (similar to 10%), compared with studies using the alkalinity anomaly technique (similar to 25%). These differences may be due to the greater tendency for the former to integrate over light and dark calcification. If the existing body of experimental work is indeed representative of likely responses of corals in nature, our results imply that, under business as usual conditions, declines in coral calcification by end-of-century will be similar to 22%, on average, or similar to 15% if only studies integrating light and dark calcification are considered. These values are near the low end of published projections, but support the emerging view that variability due to local environmental conditions and species composition is likely to be substantial.

Item ID: 25035
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Keywords: aragonite saturation state, carbonate chemistry, climate change, CO2, coral calcification, coral reefs, meta-analysis, pH
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), James Cook University
Projects and Grants: DP0880544, CE0561432
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2013 09:18
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 70%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
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