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      Technical Note: Weight approximation of coccoliths using a circular polarizer and interference colour derived retardation estimates – (The CPR Method)

      Biogeosciences
      Copernicus GmbH

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          Abstract

          Abstract. A circular polarizer is used for the first time to image coccoliths without the extinction pattern of crossed polarized light at maximum interference colour. The combination of a circular polarizer with retardation measurements based on grey values derived from theoretical calculations allows for the first time accurate calculations of the weight of single coccoliths thinner than 1.37 μm. The weight estimates of 364 Holocene coccoliths using this new method are in good agreement with published volumetric estimates. A robust calibration method based on the measurement of a calibration target of known retardation enables the comparison of data between different imaging systems. Therefore, the new method overcomes the shortcomings of the error prone empirical calibration procedure of a previously reported method based on birefringence of calcite. Furthermore, it greatly simplifies the identification of coccolithophore species on the light microscope as well as the calculation of the area and thus weight of a coccolith.

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          Most cited references31

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          Ocean acidification: the other CO2 problem.

          Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), primarily from human fossil fuel combustion, reduces ocean pH and causes wholesale shifts in seawater carbonate chemistry. The process of ocean acidification is well documented in field data, and the rate will accelerate over this century unless future CO2 emissions are curbed dramatically. Acidification alters seawater chemical speciation and biogeochemical cycles of many elements and compounds. One well-known effect is the lowering of calcium carbonate saturation states, which impacts shell-forming marine organisms from plankton to benthic molluscs, echinoderms, and corals. Many calcifying species exhibit reduced calcification and growth rates in laboratory experiments under high-CO2 conditions. Ocean acidification also causes an increase in carbon fixation rates in some photosynthetic organisms (both calcifying and noncalcifying). The potential for marine organisms to adapt to increasing CO2 and broader implications for ocean ecosystems are not well known; both are high priorities for future research. Although ocean pH has varied in the geological past, paleo-events may be only imperfect analogs to current conditions.
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            Sensitivity of coccolithophores to carbonate chemistry and ocean acidification.

            About one-third of the carbon dioxide (CO(2)) released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity has been absorbed by the oceans, where it partitions into the constituent ions of carbonic acid. This leads to ocean acidification, one of the major threats to marine ecosystems and particularly to calcifying organisms such as corals, foraminifera and coccolithophores. Coccolithophores are abundant phytoplankton that are responsible for a large part of modern oceanic carbonate production. Culture experiments investigating the physiological response of coccolithophore calcification to increased CO(2) have yielded contradictory results between and even within species. Here we quantified the calcite mass of dominant coccolithophores in the present ocean and over the past forty thousand years, and found a marked pattern of decreasing calcification with increasing partial pressure of CO(2) and concomitant decreasing concentrations of CO(3)(2-). Our analyses revealed that differentially calcified species and morphotypes are distributed in the ocean according to carbonate chemistry. A substantial impact on the marine carbon cycle might be expected upon extrapolation of this correlation to predicted ocean acidification in the future. However, our discovery of a heavily calcified Emiliania huxleyi morphotype in modern waters with low pH highlights the complexity of assemblage-level responses to environmental forcing factors.
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              Calculation of coccolith volume and it use in calibration of carbonate flux estimates

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biogeosciences
                Biogeosciences
                Copernicus GmbH
                1726-4189
                2014
                April 08 2014
                : 11
                : 7
                : 1899-1910
                Article
                10.5194/bg-11-1899-2014
                b4cb3d55-850c-4e1e-93d8-f7378a17c43a
                © 2014

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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