How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volume 2 Number 13:  1 July 1999

Once Again, It's Measurements Versus Models: There's the real world, and there's the virtual world - the world in which we live and move and have our being and the world of models, which draws its life from a wonderful mix of the minds of men and the wizardry of computers.  Time was when we only had the former; and projections about the future were based on experiences of the past.  But no more.  Now, with the click of a mouse, one can call up a program that contains everything we think we know about the innermost workings of earth's climate system and ask it "what will be?"  And just as quickly, we see the future spread before us...

Journal Reviews
The Distant Past is a Key to the Recent Past: A taxonomic study of living, dead and fossil Caribbean coral reefs reveals an ongoing community transition that is without historical precedent and unrelated to climate change.

Getting the Baseline Right: An accurate assessment of the species composition of Caribbean coral reefs throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene demonstrates that recent coral die-offs in the Bahamas are not the result of global warming but of direct anthropogenic disturbance.

Will Coral Reefs Survive Global Change?: Predictions of future sea level rise by general circulation models may be beneficial to reef growth and development.

Coral Reef Diversity and Global Change: A 240-million-year history of reef-building corals is examined.  Based upon that history, the author of the article suggests that coral reefs are likely to survive the climate changes that are predicted by general circulation models of earth's climate system.

Remote Sensing as a Technique to Document Coral Bleaching Events: The authors developed a remote sensing technique to objectively characterize the presence and extent of coral bleaching.

Effects of Elevated CO2 and Nitrogen Supply on Rice: Rice seedlings grown in glasshouses with 895 ppm CO2 displayed greater photosynthetic rates and total plant dry weights than those grown at 373 ppm CO2, regardless of soil nitrogen content.  However, the CO2-induced increases in these parameters increased with increasing nitrogen fertilization.

Effects of Elevated CO2, Temperature, and Nitrogen on Sugar Beet: Three years of sugar beet data revealed that atmospheric CO2 enrichment enhances total plant and tap root biomass by about 25 and 12% at high and low nitrogen levels, respectively.  In addition, elevated CO2 reduces the amount of nitrogen-rich compounds in the tap root, which compounds typically lower the efficiency of sucrose extraction when they are present.

Interactive Effects of Elevated CO2 and O3 on Soybean Leaf Properties: CO2-enriched soybean plants that were grown in pots within open-top chambers displayed less O3-induced foliar injury and chlorophyll loss than plants grown at ambient CO2 concentration.  Although elevated CO2 and O3 affected foliar contents of some minerals, no adverse effects on growth and yield were reported.

Effects of Elevated CO2 and O3 on Soybean Biomass: Soybean plants grown at an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 713 ppm exhibited greater biomass stimulation when concomitantly exposed to higher, rather than lower, concentrations of ozone.

Interactive Effects of Elevated CO2 and O3 on Soybean Yield: Atmospheric CO2 enrichment decreased the negative impacts of O3 stress on soybean yield.  Moreover, the CO2-induced yield stimulation of soybean increased with increasing O3 concentrations; and at the most stressful O3 level, the absolute yield was actually 6% higher than it was at the least stressful O3 concentration.