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Ecol Evol. 2015 Sep 30;5(20):4555-66. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1670. eCollection 2015 Oct.

A novel marine mesocosm facility to study global warming, water quality, and ocean acidification.

Author information

1
Instituto Coral Vivo Rio de Janeiro Brazil ; Museu Nacional Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro Brazil.
2
Instituto Coral Vivo Rio de Janeiro Brazil.
3
Instituto Coral Vivo Rio de Janeiro Brazil ; Pós-Graduação em Oceanografia Biológica Instituto de Oceanografia Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Rio Grande Brazil.
4
Instituto Coral Vivo Rio de Janeiro Brazil ; Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes UFRJ Rio de Janeiro Brazil.
5
Instituto Coral Vivo Rio de Janeiro Brazil ; Instituto de Ciências Biológicas Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Rio Grande Brazil.

Abstract

We describe a completely randomizable flow-through outdoor mesocosm for climate change and ecotoxicology studies that was built with inexpensive materials. The 16 raceway tanks allow up to 6× water renewal per hour, avoiding changes in natural abiotic seawater conditions. We use an open-source hardware board (Arduino) that was adapted to control heaters and an innovative CO 2 injection system. This system reduced seawater pH up to -0.9 units and increased temperature up to +6°C in three treatments and a control. Treatments can be continuously compared with the control and vary according to diel fluctuations, thus following the diel range observed in the sea. The mesocosm facility also includes an integrated secondary system of 48 aquaria for ecotoxicology studies. We validated the reproducibility and relevance of our experimental system by analyzing the variation of the total DNA of the microbial community extracted from corals in three elevated temperature scenarios during a 40-day experiment. We also present data from temperature, acidification, and copper contamination trials, which allowed continuous, reliable, and consistent treatment manipulations.

KEYWORDS:

Experimental biology; flow‐through system; marine mesocosm; open‐source board control system; pCO2 reactor; realism; stress physiology

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