Consequences of a simulated rapid ocean acidification event for benthic ecosystem processes and functions

Fiona Murray*, Stephen Widdicombe, C Louise McNeill, Martin Solan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Whilst the biological consequences of long-term, gradual changes in acidity associated with the oceanic uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) are increasingly studied, the potential effects of rapid acidification associated with a failure of sub-seabed carbon storage infrastructure have received less attention. This study investigates the effects of severe short-term (8 days) exposure to acidified seawater on infaunal mediation of ecosystem processes (bioirrigation and sediment particle redistribution) and functioning (nutrient concentrations). Following acidification, individuals of Amphiura filiformis exhibited emergent behaviour typical of a stress response, which resulted in altered bioturbation, but limited changes in nutrient cycling. Under acidified conditions, A. filiformis moved to shallower depths within the sediment and the variability in occupancy depth reduced considerably. This study indicated that rapid acidification events may not be lethal to benthic invertebrates, but may result in behavioural changes that could have longer-term implications for species survival, ecosystem structure and functioning. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-442
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2013


  • Amphiura filiformis
  • carbon capture and storage (CCS)
  • ocean acidification
  • ecosystem function
  • bioturbation
  • bioirrigation
  • amphiura-filiformis echinodermata
  • sediment-profile imagery
  • acid-base-balance
  • carbon-dioxide
  • in-situ
  • seawater acidification
  • animal physiology
  • luminophore tracers
  • marine ecosystems
  • climate-change


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