Date: 21 May 2010

Physiological Responses of Seaweeds to Elevated Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations

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Abstract

The atmospheric CO2 concentration has been rising since the industrial revolution, and will continue to rise from the present 375 to about 1,000 ppmv by 2100 (Pearson and Palmer, 2000), increasing dissolution of CO2 from the air and altering the carbonate system of Surface Ocean (Stumm and Morgan, 1996; Takahashi et al., 1997; Riebesell et al., 2007). For example, an increase in atmospheric CO2 from 330 to 1,000 ppmv will lead to an increase in CO2 concentration from 12.69 to 38.46 μM in seawater (at 15°C and total alkalinity of 2.47 eq m−3) and an increase in the concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC, i.e., CO2(aq), HCO3 , and CO3 2−) from 2.237 to 2.412 mM, with a concurrent decrease in the pH of the surface seawater from 8.168 to 7.735 (Raven, 1991; Stumm and Morgan, 1996). Increasing atmospheric CO2 and its associated changes in the carbonate system can influence the physiology and ecology of seaweeds.