This project will serve to (1) synthesize National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) OA Enterprise observations; (2) compare reef OA observations to oceanic end members to infer reefscale biogeochemical processes, and finally (3) use these synthesis products to better link projection models of oceanic carbonate systems to reef-scale OA impacts. The NCRMP OA enterprise supports: our collection of seawater samples from reef and surface observations; a set of MapCO2 buoys in the Caribbean and Hawaii; diurnal monitoring instruments (e.g. CREP's diurnal suite, AOML's/McGillis' BEAMS); and metrics of ecosystem response to OA (e.g. CAUs, coral coring, etc.). The datasets generated by these activities will be the focus of this wide-ranging synthesis.
The goal of this project is to improve our understanding of the effects of ocean acidification and warming on coral reef communities by examining responses of entire suites of reef organisms recruiting to Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) in benthic mesocosms. We will perform a fully factorial experiment that consists of four treatments of low and high temperature and pCO₂ levels. ARMS are the leading long-term monitoring tool to measure biodiversity on reef systems and are integrated into the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) Class II and Class III climate stations dedicated to monitor and access the physical, chemical and biological impacts associated with climate change over time. We propose to examine the effects of elevated temperature and pCO₂ on recruitment, biomass, biodiversity, and community structure over a multiannual time frame to increase our understanding of how biodiversity, ecosystem function, and their relationship will be impacted under future climate scenarios.
As part of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, efforts to establish baselines and monitor changes in both carbonate chemistry and the associated ecological impacts of OA were first initiated in 2005. In FY13, a joint CRCP/OAP project began with two components, which together comprise a more comprehensive biogeochemical and ecological monitoring effort:
1. OAP Carbonate Chemistry Monitoring: carbonate system monitoring focused on determining spatial patterns and temporal variability of seawater dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity concentrations across many gradients of biogeography, oceanographic/ environmental conditions, habitat types (pelagic, forereef, backreef, lagoon, etc), and human impacts; and
2. CRCP Biological and Ecological Monitoring: efforts to assess and monitor the broad-scale, long-term ecological impacts of OA on coral reef ecosystems through biological surveys of coral and fish, which include quantitative spatial and temporal monitoring of composition, abundance, distribution, size, and condition of non-cryptic biota, and key ecological parameters, including coral growth rates, calcification rates, bioerosion rates, and cryptofauna diversity.
This project is directly determining if the rates/magnitudes of OA are the same in coral reef environments as they are in the open ocean. This project is also on the cutting edge to determine if the footprint of OA is measureable in coral reef ecosystems and, if so, how much, if any, OA can be attributed to the world-wide trajectory of coral reef decline. In partnership with CRCP, we will have the opportunity in each coral reef area to recover and analyze coral cores, CAUs and ARMS, with the goal of providing an ecosystem, island-scale, comparison of near-reef aragonite saturation states and net calcification rates, as well as provide novel insight into cryptic biodiversity and invertebrate community composition found within the coral reefs.