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Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 23;7:45227. doi: 10.1038/srep45227.

Variation in sensitivity of large benthic Foraminifera to the combined effects of ocean warming and local impacts.

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ARC Centre of Excellent for Coral Reef Studies and School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia.
ARC Centre of Excellent for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia.


Large benthic foraminifera (LBF) are crucial marine calcifiers in coral reefs, and sensitive to environmental changes. Yet, many species successfully colonise a wide range of habitats including highly fluctuating environments. We tested the combined effects of ocean warming, local impacts and different light levels on populations of the common LBF Amphistegina lobifera collected along a cross-shelf gradient of temperature and nutrients fluctuations. We analysed survivorship, bleaching frequency, chlorophyll a content and fecundity. Elevated temperature and nitrate significantly reduced survivorship and fecundity of A. lobifera across populations studied. This pattern was exacerbated when combined with below optimum light levels. Inshore populations showed a consistent resistance to increased temperature and nitrate levels, but all populations studied were significantly affected by light reduction. These findings demonstrated the capacity of some populations of LBF to acclimate to local conditions; nonetheless improvements in local water quality can ultimately ameliorate effects of climate change in local LBF populations.

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