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PeerJ. 2016 Oct 5;4:e2505. eCollection 2016.

The effect of CO2 enrichment on net photosynthesis of the red alga Furcellaria lumbricalis in a brackish water environment.

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Department of Marine Biology, Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu , Tallinn , Estonia.


Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the atmosphere are causing reduction in the global ocean pH, also known as ocean acidification. This change alters the equilibrium of different forms of dissolved inorganic carbon in seawater that macroalgae use for their photosynthesis. In the Baltic Sea, benthic macroalgae live in a highly variable environment caused by seasonality and rapid changes in meteorological conditions. The effect of increasing water CO2 concentration on the net photosynthesis of the red macroalgae Furcellaria lumbricalis (Hudson) Lamouroux was tested in short-term mesocosm experiments conducted in Kõiguste Bay (N Gulf of Riga) in June-July 2012 and 2013. Separate mesocosms were maintained at different pCO2 levels: ca. 2,000, ca. 1,000 and ca. 200 µatm. In parallel, different environmental factors were measured such as nutrients, light and water temperature. Thus, the current study also investigated whether elevated pCO2 and different environmental factors exerted interactive effects on the photosynthetic rate of F. lumbricalis. In addition, laboratory experiments were carried out to determine the optimal temperature for photosynthesis of F. lumbricalis. The results of our field experiments demonstrated that elevated pCO2 levels may remarkably enhance the photosynthetic rate of F. lumbricalis. However, the magnitude of this effect is altered by different environmental factors, mainly by changes in water temperature.


Baltic Sea; Carbon dioxide; Furcellaria lumbricalis; Macroalgae; Marine acidification; Net photosynthesis

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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