Community-level response of coastal microbial biofilms to ocean acidification in a natural carbon dioxide vent ecosystem.
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The impacts of ocean acidification on coastal biofilms are poorly understood. Carbon dioxide vent areas provide an opportunity to make predictions about the impacts of ocean acidification. We compared biofilms that colonised glass slides in areas exposed to ambient and elevated levels of pCO(2) along a coastal pH gradient, with biofilms grown at ambient and reduced light levels. Biofilm production was highest under ambient light levels, but under both light regimes biofilm production was enhanced in seawater with high pCO(2). Uronic acids are a component of biofilms and increased significantly with high pCO(2). Bacteria and Eukarya denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profile analysis showed clear differences in the structures of ambient and reduced light biofilm communities, and biofilms grown at high pCO(2) compared with ambient conditions. This study characterises biofilm response to natural seabed CO(2) seeps and provides a baseline understanding of how coastal ecosystems may respond to increased pCO(2) levels.
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