The influence of seawater calcium ions on coral calcification mechanisms: Constraints from boron and carbon isotopes and B/Ca ratios in Pocillopora damicornis

Sharmila J. Giri, Peter K. Swart, Ali Pourmand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In order to better understand the response of coral calcification to changes in seawater chemistry, fragments of the coral Pocillopora damicornis were grown in seawater with varying [Ca 2+ ]. Using a combined trace element (B/Ca) and stable isotope (δ 11 B, δ 13 C) approach, this paper explores the effect of seawater calcium concentrations ([Ca 2+ ] SW ) on coral calcification mechanisms and describes the manipulation of the extracellular calcifying fluid (ECF) pH (pH ECF ), saturation state (Ω ECF ) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) speciation of the ECF. In these experiments, increases in [Ca 2+ ] SW did not significantly influence calcification rates but caused the skeletal B/Ca ratio to significantly increase. To explain these results we propose a mechanism by which [CO 3 2− ] ECF is influenced by [Ca 2+ ] SW . This mechanism suggests that the pH ECF will be lowest in our highest [Ca 2+ ] treatment and using this relationship we can place constraints on the pH ECF . The difference in pH ECF in our treatments is supported in part by a slight, but insignificant decrease in skeletal δ 11 B and δ 13 C values. We propose a novel dual-proxy approach to estimate pH ECF , where calcification occurs at a pH ECF > 9. This work emphasizes the importance of multi-element proxy approaches in understanding pH up-regulation and CO 3 2− concentrations during calcification of corals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-140
Number of pages11
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume519
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Keywords

  • boron
  • carbon isotopes
  • dissolved inorganic carbon
  • pH proxy
  • seawater chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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