Biomineralization control related to population density under ocean acidification

Stefano Goffredo, Fiorella Prada, Erik Caroselli, Bruno Capaccioni, Francesco Zaccanti, Luca Pasquini, Paola Fantazzini, Simona Fermani, Michela Reggi, Oren Levy, Katharina E. Fabricius, Zvy Dubinsky, Giuseppe Falini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Anthropogenic CO2 is a major driver of present environmental change in most ecosystems1, and the related ocean acidification is threatening marine biota2. With increasing pCO2, calcification rates of several species decrease3, although cases of upregulation are observed4. Here, we show that biological control over mineralization relates to species abundance along a natural pH gradient. As pCO2 increased, the mineralogy of a scleractinian coral (Balanophyllia europaea) and a mollusc (Vermetus triqueter) did not change. In contrast, two calcifying algae (Padina pavonica and Acetabularia acetabulum) reduced and changed mineralization with increasing pCO2, from aragonite to the less soluble calcium sulphates and whewellite, respectively. As pCO2 increased, the coral and mollusc abundance was severely reduced, with both species disappearing at pH < 7.8. Conversely, the two calcifying and a non-calcifying algae (Lobophora variegata) showed less severe or no reductions with increasing pCO2, and were all found at the lowest pH site. The mineralization response to decreasing pH suggests a link with the degree of control over the biomineralization process by the organism, as only species with lower control managed to thrive in the lowest pH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-597
Number of pages5
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number7
Early online date25 May 2014
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I. Berman-Frank helped with alkalinity measurements. B. Basile, F. Sesso, and Eolo Sub diving centre assisted in the field. F. Gizzi and G. Polimeni helped during preparation and participated in field surveys. The Scientific Diving School supplied scientific, technical and logistical support. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement no. [249930 - CoralWarm].


Dive into the research topics of 'Biomineralization control related to population density under ocean acidification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this