Calcifying Response and Recovery Potential of the Brown Alga Padina pavonica under Ocean Acidification

David Iluz, Simona Fermani, Michal Ramot, Michela Reggi, Erik Caroselli, Fiorella Prada, Zvy Dubinsky, Stefano Goffredo, Giuseppe Falini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing ocean acidification (OA), which affects calcifying organisms. Recent studies have shown that Padina pavonica investigated along a natural pCO2 gradient seems to acclimate to OA by reducing calcified structures and changing mineralogy from aragonite to calcium sulfate salts. The aim of the present study was to study the potential for acclimation of P. pavonica to OA along the same gradient and in aquaria under controlled conditions. P. pavonica was cross-transplanted for 1 week from a normal pH site (mean values of pHTS 8.1 and pCO2 = 391 μatm) to a low pH site (mean values of pHTS 7.4 and pCO2 = 1044 μatm) and vice versa. Results showed that this calcifying alga did survive under acute environmental pHTS changes but its calcification was significantly reduced. P. pavonica decalcified and changed mineralogy at pHTS 7.4, but once brought back at pHTS 8.1, it partially recovered the aragonite loss while preserving the calcium sulfate phases that formed under low pHTS. These results suggest that P. pavonica could be used as a bioindicator for monitoring OA as well as localized anthropogenic acidity fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-323
Number of pages8
JournalACS Earth and Space Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 17 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement n8 [249930-CoralWarm: Corals and global warming: the Mediterranean versus the Red Sea]. Giuseppe Falini and Simona Fermani thank the Consorzio Interuniversi-tario per la Chimica dei Metalli nei Sistemi Biologici for the support.

FundersFunder number
European Research Council249930-CoralWarm
Seventh Framework Programme


    • Padina pavonica
    • algae
    • calcium carbonate
    • calcium sulfate phases
    • ocean acidification
    • transplanted


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