The influence of deep-seabed CO2 sequestration on small metazoan (meiofaunal) viability and community structure [electronic resource] : final technical report
- Washington, D.C. : United States. Dept. of Energy. Office of Science, 2008.
Oak Ridge, Tenn. : Distributed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Physical Description:
- 67 pages : digital, PDF file
- Additional Creators:
- Florida State University, United States. Department of Energy. Office of Science, and United States. Department of Energy. Office of Scientific and Technical Information
- Restrictions on Access:
- Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- Since the industrial revolution, the burning of fossil fuel has produced carbon dioxide at an increasing rate. Present atmospheric concentration is about ~1.5 times the preindustrial level and is rising. Because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, its increased concentration in the atmosphere is thought to be a cause of global warming. If so, the rate of global warming could be slowed if industrial carbon dioxide were not released into the atmosphere. One suggestion has been to sequester it in the deep ocean, but theory predicts that deep-sea species will be intolerant of the increased concentrations of carbon dioxide and the increased acidity it would cause. The aim of our research was to test for consequences of carbon dioxide sequestration on deep-sea, sediment-dwelling meiofauna. Recent technical advances allowed us to test for effects in situ at depths proposed for sequestration. The basic experimental unit was an open-topped container into which we pumped ~20 L of liquid carbon dioxide. The liquid carbon dioxide mixed with near-bottom sea water, which produced carbon dioxide-rich sea water that flowed out over the near-by seabed. We did 30-day experiments at several locations and with different numbers of carbon dioxide-filled containers. Harpacticoid copepods (Crustacea) were our test taxon. In an experiment we did during a previous grant period, we found that large numbers of individuals exposed to carbon dioxide-rich sea water had been killed (Thistle et al. 2004). During the present grant period, we analyzed the species-level data in greater detail and discovered that, although individuals of many species had been killed by exposure to carbon dioxide-rich sea water, individuals of some species had not (Thistle et al. 2005). This result suggests that seabed sequestration of carbon dioxide will not just reduce the abundance of the meiofauna but will change the composition of the community. In another experiment, we found that some harpacticoid species swim away from an advancing front of carbon dioxide-rich sea water (Thistle et al. 2007). This result demonstrates a second way that deep-sea meiofauna react negatively to carbon dioxide-rich sea water. In summary, we used in situ experiments to show that carbon dioxide-rich sea water triggers an escape response in some harpacticoid species. It kills most individuals of most harpacticoid species that do not flee, but a few species seem to be unaffected. Proposals to reduce global warming by sequestering industrial carbon dioxide in the deep ocean should take note of these environmental consequences when pros and cons are weighed.
- Report Numbers:
- E 1.99:doe/er/64070
- Other Subject(s):
- Published through SciTech Connect.
- Type of Report and Period Covered Note:
- Final; 06/15/2005 - 06/14/2008
- Funding Information:
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