Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-13-2016


Carbon dioxide, algae, Estuaries, Sea water, Ocean acidification, Ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase, Nitrates, Salinity


While there is growing interest in understanding how marine life will respond to future ocean acidification, many coastal ecosystems currently experience intense acidification in response to upwelling, eutrophication, or riverine discharge. Such acidification can be inhibitory to calcifying animals, but less is known regarding how non-calcifying macroalgae may respond to elevated CO2. Here, we report on experiments performed during summer through fall with North Atlantic populations of Gracilaria and Ulva that were grown in situ within a mesotrophic estuary (Shinnecock Bay, NY, USA) or exposed to normal and elevated, but environmentally realistic, levels of pCO2 and/or nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus). In nearly all experiments, the growth rates of Gracilaria were significantly increased by an average of 70% beyond in situ and control conditions when exposed to elevated levels of pCO2 (pUlva was more complex as this alga experienced significantly (pUlva. Across all experiments, elevated pCO2significantly increased Ulva growth rates by 30% (pp>0.05). The δ13C content of both Gracilaria and Ulva decreased two-to-three fold when grown under elevated pCO2 (p


PLoS ONE 11(5): e0155152. doi:

Data Availability: DNA sequences have been submitted to Genbank to accession and have been assigned Genbank Accession #KU306346.

Funding: This work was supported by the Laurie Landeau Foundation to CJG, the Simons Foundation to CJG, and NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program through award #NA12NOS4780148 from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to CJG.



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