Alterations in microbial community composition with increasing fCO 2: a mesocosm study in the eastern Baltic Sea
Ocean acidification resulting from the uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO 2) by the ocean is considered a major threat to marine ecosystems. Here we examined the effects of ocean acidification on microbial community dynamics in the eastern Baltic Sea during the summer of 2012 when inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus were strongly depleted. Large-volume in situ mesocosms were employed to mimic present, future and far future CO 2 scenarios. All six groups of phytoplankton enumerated by flow cytometry ( < 20 µm cell diameter) showed distinct trends in net growth and abundance with CO 2 enrichment. The picoeukaryotic phytoplankton groups Pico-I and Pico-II displayed enhanced abundances, whilst Pico-III, Synechococcus and the nanoeukaryotic phytoplankton groups were negatively affected by elevated fugacity of CO 2 ( fCO 2). Specifically, the numerically dominant eukaryote, Pico-I, demonstrated increases in gross growth rate with increasing fCO 2 sufficient to double its abundance. The dynamics of the prokaryote community closely followed trends in total algal biomass despite differential effects of fCO 2 on algal groups. Similarly, viral abundances corresponded to prokaryotic host population dynamics. Viral lysis and grazing were both important in controlling microbial abundances. Overall our results point to a shift, with increasing fCO 2, towards a more regenerative system with production dominated by small picoeukaryotic phytoplankton.