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New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

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Big data reveals extraordinary unity underlying life’s diversity

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Jeroen van den Bergh, awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University of the Netherlands

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High lead concentrations found in Amazonian wildlife

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Study gauges trees’ potential to slow global warming in the future

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Why do environmentalists eat meat?

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La gestión del verde urbano permite incrementar la presencia de pájaros en las ciudades

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The Ebro River annually dumps 2.2 billion microplastics into the sea

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MdM Seminar Series: “Assessing and projecting ongoing ocean change (temperature, light, carbonate chemistry) on calcifying marine phytoplankton” by Kai Schulz

Date: 2019-12-12

MdM Seminar Series


Title: “Assessing and projecting ongoing ocean change (temperature, light, carbonate chemistry) on calcifying marine phytoplankton”

Speaker: Kai Schulz, Southern Cross University, Australia.

Date: Thursday, December 12th 2019
Time: 12 h
Venue: Room Z/022- Z/023 ICTA-UAB

Unicellular calcifying phytoplankton (coccolithophores) are at the base of marine food webs and intricate part of ocean carbon cycling. They contribute to the so-called soft-tissue pump that exports carbon dioxide (CO2) fixed into organic matter to the deep ocean, and its cessation would lead to about a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels. They are also key driver of the so-called carbonate counter pump by producing calcium carbonate (CaCO3). And although this process operates opposite to the soft-tissue pump, CaCO3 has been found an effective ballasting mineral that is thought to speed up the transport of organic matter to depth and hence increase the efficiency of the soft-tissue pump. These important eco- and climate-system services are currently at risk, mainly due to human economies largely relying on the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and cement production, all emitting CO2. Increasing atmospheric CO2 levels drive ongoing ocean change, i.e. increasing sea surface temperatures, alter light availability and lead to ocean acidification. In this seminar I will report on past assessments of these climate stressors on coccolitophore physiology, introduce an unifying concept of species dependent coccolithophore sensitivity and show how the response to all three stressors can be combined to project potential future success of this important group of organisms in general. Finally, I will introduce the cellular CaCO3 to organic carbon production ratio as a good predictor of individual species/strain sensitivity to ongoing ocean acidification.

Kai Schulz is an Associate Professor at the School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, Australia. After his PhD at the AWI Bremerhaven/University Bremen, Germany and a position as a Research Scientist at GEOMAR Kiel, Germany, he moved to Australia to further developed his scientific research on a broad spectrum ranging from marine phytoplankton physiology (photosynthesis, calcification and nitrogen fixation) and ecosystem functioning to global element cycling. More specifically Kai works on the impacts of ocean change, such as increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (ocean acidification), on phytoplankton physiology and how this scales up to the ecosystem level. Furthermore, Kai is interested in potential impacts of ocean change on biogeochemical element cycling and feedbacks to Earth's climate system.

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