How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Rising CO2 Concentrations and European Trees
Medlyn, B.E., Badeck. F.-W., De Pury, D.G.G., Barton, C.V.M., Broadmeadow, M., Ceulemans, R., De Angelis, P., Forstreuter, M., Jach, M.E., Kellomaki, S., Laitat, E., Marek, M., Philippot, S., Rey, A., Strassemeyer, J., Laitinen, K., Liozon, R., Portier, B., Roberntz, P., Wang, K. and Jarvis, P.G.  1999.  Effects of elevated [CO2] on photosynthesis in European forest species: a meta-analysis of model parameters.  Plant, Cell and Environment 22: 1475-1495.

What was done
The authors conducted a meta-analysis of data obtained from 15 atmospheric CO2 enrichment studies of European forest species growing in field environments in order to determine their overall photosynthetic response to elevated (approximately doubled) atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

What was learned
Results of the meta-analysis indicated there was an average 19% reduction in photosynthetic rates measured at ambient CO2 concentrations in the CO2-enriched trees, suggestive of the likelihood that photosynthetic acclimation to elevated CO2 had occurred.  Nevertheless, the twice-ambient CO2 concentrations utilized in the studies were found to have stimulated the trees' net photosynthetic rates by an average of 51%.

What it means
As the air's CO2 content continues to rise, European forests will likely respond by significantly increasing their rates of photosynthesis.  In turn, this phenomenon should lead to greater biomass production and, hence, greater carbon sequestration.  Thus, European forests will likely grow more robustly while increasing their sink strength for carbon as the engines of industry continue to enrich the air with CO2.

Reviewed 25 September 2002