Coral Reefs

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 37–53 | Cite as

Reef-scale modeling of coral calcification responses to ocean acidification and sea-level rise

  • Takashi Nakamura
  • Kazuo Nadaoka
  • Atsushi Watanabe
  • Takahiro Yamamoto
  • Toshihiro Miyajima
  • Ariel C. Blanco


To predict coral responses to future environmental changes at the reef scale, the coral polyp model (Nakamura et al. in Coral Reefs 32:779–794, 2013), which reconstructs coral responses to ocean acidification, flow conditions and other factors, was incorporated into a reef-scale three-dimensional hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model. This coupled reef-scale model was compared to observations from the Shiraho fringing reef, Ishigaki Island, Japan, where the model accurately reconstructed spatiotemporal variation in reef hydrodynamic and geochemical parameters. The simulated coral calcification rate exhibited high spatial variation, with lower calcification rates in the nearshore and stagnant water areas due to isolation of the inner reef at low tide, and higher rates on the offshore side of the inner reef flat. When water is stagnant, bottom shear stress is low at night and thus oxygen diffusion rate from ambient water to the inside of the coral polyp limits respiration rate. Thus, calcification decreases because of the link between respiration and calcification. A scenario analysis was conducted using the reef-scale model with several pCO2 and sea-level conditions based on IPCC (Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013) scenarios. The simulation indicated that the coral calcification rate decreases with increasing pCO2. On the other hand, sea-level rise increases the calcification rate, particularly in the nearshore and the areas where water is stagnant at low tide under present conditions, as mass exchange, especially oxygen exchange at night, is enhanced between the corals and their ambient seawater due to the reduced stagnant period. When both pCO2 increase and sea-level rise occur concurrently, the calcification rate generally decreases due to the effects of ocean acidification. However, the calcification rate in some inner-reef areas will increase because the positive effects of sea-level rise offset the negative effects of ocean acidification, and total calcification rate will be positive only under the best-case scenario (RCP 2.6).


Numerical simulation Calcification rate Coral polyp model Hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model Ocean acidification Sea-level rise 



We thank Prof. H. Kayanne, Dr. H. Kurihara, Prof. Y. Suzuki, Dr. S. Yamamoto, and Mr. L. P. C. Bernardo for their helpful comments and support. We thank anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on our manuscript. This work was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (Nos. 20121007, 21121501) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan, Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) (Nos. 24246086, 25257305, 15H02268) from The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (No. 22740336) from JSPS, a Grant-in-Aid for Exploratory Research (No. 26610167) from JSPS, and the JSPS Japan-Philippines Research Cooperative Program.

Supplementary material

338_2017_1632_MOESM1_ESM.docx (211 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 211 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM2_ESM.gif (6.7 mb)
Animation S1 Time-dependent changes in significant wave height and wave direction (arrow) (GIF 6872 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM3_ESM.gif (8.3 mb)
Animation S2 Time-dependent changes in sea surface velocity (GIF 8528 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM4_ESM.gif (5.7 mb)
Animation S3 Time-dependent changes in sea surface temperature (GIF 5870 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM5_ESM.gif (4.7 mb)
Animation S4 Time-dependent changes in sea surface DIC (GIF 4851 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM6_ESM.gif (4.5 mb)
Animation S5 Time-dependent changes in sea surface TA (GIF 4652 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM7_ESM.gif (4.9 mb)
Animation S6 Time-dependent changes in sea surface DO (GIF 4985 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM8_ESM.gif (4.4 mb)
Animation S7 Time-dependent changes in sea surface pH (total scale) (GIF 4484 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM9_ESM.gif (5 mb)
Animation S8 Time-dependent changes in pCO2 in surface seawater (GIF 5073 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM10_ESM.gif (5.1 mb)
Animation S9 Time-dependent changes in sea surface aragonite saturation state (GIF 5256 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM11_ESM.gif (1.3 mb)
Animation S10 Time-dependent changes in polyp gross photosynthetic rate of inner reef corals under present conditions (GIF 1302 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM12_ESM.gif (2.4 mb)
Animation S11 Time-dependent changes in polyp respiration rate of inner reef corals under present conditions (GIF 2469 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM13_ESM.gif (2.1 mb)
Animation S12 Time-dependent changes in polyp net photosynthetic rate of inner reef corals under present conditions (GIF 2104 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM14_ESM.gif (2.5 mb)
Animation S13 Time-dependent changes in polyp calcification rate of inner reef corals under present conditions (GIF 2588 kb)
338_2017_1632_MOESM15_ESM.gif (2.3 mb)
Animation S14 Time-dependent changes in polyp stored organic carbon of inner reef corals under present conditions (GIF 2373 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering, School of Environment and SocietyTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Environment and Life Science Research CenterKuwait Institute for Scientific ResearchSalmiya, HawallyKuwait
  3. 3.Marine Biogeochemistry GroupAtmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of TokyoChibaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Geodetic Engineering, College of EngineeringUniversity of the Philippines DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines

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