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Energetic Costs of Calcification Under Ocean Acidification

Spalding, Christopher and Finnegan, Seth and Fischer, Woodward W. (2017) Energetic Costs of Calcification Under Ocean Acidification. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 31 (5). pp. 866-877. ISSN 0886-6236.

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Anthropogenic ocean acidification threatens to negatively impact marine organisms that precipitate calcium carbonate skeletons. Past geological events, such as the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction, together with modern experiments generally support these concerns. However, the physiological costs of producing a calcium carbonate skeleton under different acidification scenarios remain poorly understood. Here we present an idealized mathematical model to quantify whole-skeleton costs, concluding that they rise only modestly (up to ∼10%) under acidification expected for 2100. The modest magnitude of this effect reflects in part the low energetic cost of inorganic, calcium carbonate relative to the proteinaceous organic matrix component of skeletons. Our analysis does, however, point to an important kinetic constraint that depends on seawater carbonate chemistry, and we hypothesize that the impact of acidification is more likely to cause extinctions within groups where the timescale of larval development is tightly constrained. The cheapness of carbonate skeletons compared to organic materials also helps explain the widespread evolutionary convergence upon calcification within the metazoa.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Spalding, Christopher0000-0001-9052-3400
Fischer, Woodward W.0000-0002-8836-3054
Additional Information:© 2017 American Geophysical Union. Received 10 DEC 2016; Accepted 4 MAY 2017; Accepted article online 5 MAY 2017; Published online 21 MAY 2017. This work was supported by a NASA NESSF Graduate Fellowship in Earth and Planetary Science (C.S.), the Agouron Institute, and a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (W.F.). We would like to thank Christina Frieder, Adam Subhas, and Jess Adkins for helpful feedback. The data used are listed in the references, figures, and supporting information.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Earth and Space Science FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Agouron InstituteUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Acidification; Biomineralization; Extinction
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170508-083356931
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Official Citation:Spalding, C., S. Finnegan, and W. W. Fischer (2017), Energetic costs of calcification under ocean acidification, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 31, 866–877, doi:10.1002/2016GB005597
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:77249
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 May 2017 22:52
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 17:55

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