Bacteria in the sea are sensitive to ocean acidification caused by carbon dioxide emissions
January 12, 2016
Marine bacteria are heavily influenced by ongoing ocean acidification caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide. This discovery is made by researchers at the Institute of Marine Science (Eva Calvo, Josep Maria Gasol, Cèlia Marrasé and Carles Pelejero), together with researchers of the Linnaeus University in Sweden, the La Laguna University in Tenerife and the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC). The results are presented in an article in the prestigious journal Nature Climate Change. Bacteria in the sea play a crucial role in the global cycling of elements necessary to life. They act as the primary degraders of organic material produced through photosynthesis of microscopic algae in the ocean, or material released through wastewater. When algae or other organisms die, they are degraded by bacteria and, at the same time, bacteria mediate the release of elements like nitrogen or phosphorous that are essential to the food chain. Now the researchers at the ICM show that bacteria in the sea that experience ocean acidification significantly alter their metabolism. They need to invest extra energy for activating mechanisms to counterbalance the stress produced by acidification.
Bunse, C., Lundin, D., Karlsson, C.M.G., Akram, N., Vila-Costa, M., Palovaara, J., Svensson, L., Holmfeldt, K., González, J.M., Calvo, E., Pelejero, C., Marrasé, C., Dopson, M., Gasol, J.M., Pinhassi, J. (2016) Response of marine bacterioplankton pH homeostasis gene expression to elevated CO2. Nature Climate Change. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2914.