Programs and projects
Project 3021

Double Trouble: Consequences of Ocean Acidification - Past, Present and Future - Dinoflagellate component
Project leader: Dr. A. Sluijs
Researcher(s): Msc. M. Hoins
Starting date:

Hardly any information exists on the response of dinoflagellates to current and future increased CO2 concentrations and decreasing ocean pH, let alone the impact of this response to ecosystems. Yet, our pilot studies employing living cells and Holocene records of dinoflagellate remains (organic cysts) reveal strong responses to changing SST and pH in terms of the stable carbon isotopic composition of dinoflagellates (􀀁13CDINO) and growth rates. This project component thus aims to culture various species of dinoflagellates to investigate their biosynthesis, focusing on growth rates and carbon fixation mechanisms (CO2 or HCO3-) with varying CO2 and pH concentrations. This research will be complimented by modeling, calibration for applications, and time series analysis of dinocysts from past high CO2 episodes, such as the Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum. Squarely placed in the larger project, this will assist in identifying critical tipping points at which phytoplankton species significantly alter their growth/bloom intensities, providing the basis for predicting the response of dinoflagellates to increasing CO2 and decreasing pH conditions.