Ocean acidification - the effect on biological availability of metal nutrients
What is it about?
Rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide are causing acidification of the oceans. This results in changes to the concentrations of key chemical species such as hydroxide, carbonate and bicarbonate ions. These changes will affect the distribution of different forms of trace metals. We used a chemical model to predict changes in the distribution of different forms of trace metals.
Why is it important?
Under a scenario where emissions peak after the year 2100 we predicted that free ion concentrations (the simplest form of a metal ion in water) of aluminium, iron, copper and lead increase by up to a factors of 21. Concentrations of organically complexed metal (which may more accurately reflect an organisms availability to access essential elements) typically have a lower sensitivity to ocean acidification induced changes. Although modest, these changes may have significance for the biological availability of metals given the close adaptation of marine microorganisms to their environment.
The following have contributed to this page: Anthony Stockdale