Aquatic Geochemistry

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 459–485 | Cite as

Dissolution Rates of Biogenic Carbonates in Natural Seawater at Different pCO2 Conditions: A Laboratory Study

  • Mallory PickettEmail author
  • Andreas J. Andersson
Original Paper


The bulk dissolution rates of six biogenic carbonates (goose barnacle, benthic foraminifera, bryozoan, sea urchin, and two types of coralline algae) and a sample of mixed sediment from the Bermuda carbonate platform were measured in natural seawater at pCO2 values ranging from approximately 3000 to 5500 μatm. This range of pCO2 values encompassed values regularly observed in porewaters at a depth of a few cm in carbonate sediments at shallow water depths (<15 m) on the Bermuda carbonate platform. The biogenic carbonates included calcites of varying Mg content (2–17 mol%) and a range of specific surface areas (0.01–2.7 m2 g−1) as determined by BET gas adsorption. Measured rates of dissolution increased with increasing pCO2 treatment for all substrates and ranged from 2.5 to 18 μmol g−1 h−1. The highest rates of dissolution were observed for the bryozoans and the lowest rates for the goose barnacles. The relative ranking in dissolution rates between different substrates was consistent at all pCO2 levels, indicating that substrates dissolve sequentially and that some substrates will be more vulnerable than others to rising CO2 and ocean acidification. Furthermore, dissolution rates were found to increase with increasing Mg content, though the relative dissolution rates were observed to be a function of both Mg content and microstructure (surface area).


CaCO3 dissolution Mg-calcite Biogenic Carbonate Ocean acidification CO2 



A.J.A gratefully acknowledges support from NSF Grants OCE 09-28406 and OCE 12-55042 and NOAA Grant NA10AR4310094. We are also grateful for the excellent comments provided by two anonymous reviewers, which significantly helped to improve an early version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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