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Award Abstract #1315944

Ocean Acidification: Coral Inorganic Carbon Processing in Response to Ocean Acidification

Emerging Frontiers
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Initial Amendment Date: June 7, 2013
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Latest Amendment Date: April 22, 2016
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Award Number: 1315944
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Gregory W. Warr
EF Emerging Frontiers
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: September 1, 2013
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End Date: August 31, 2016 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $312,328.00
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Investigator(s): Brian Hopkinson bmhopkin@uga.edu (Principal Investigator)
Christof Meile (Co-Principal Investigator)
William Fitt (Co-Principal Investigator)
Yongchen Wang (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc
310 East Campus Rd
ATHENS, GA 30602-1589 (706)542-5939
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NSF Program(s): CRI-OA,
Cellular Dynamics and Function
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Program Reference Code(s): 7465, 8001, 9104, 9117, 9177, 9178, 9179, 9180, 9183
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Program Element Code(s): 8001, 1114


A significant portion of the carbon dioxide generated by human activity and released into the atmosphere dissolves into ocean waters, leading to ocean acidification. Acidification can impair the ability of many calcifying organisms, including reef-building corals, to form their calcium carbonate shells or skeletons but the mechanism of these effects is not well understood. This project will improve understanding of inorganic carbon processing in corals thereby providing insight into the effects of ocean acidification on calcification and photosynthesis in corals. Microelectrodes and membrane inlet mass spectrometry (MIMS) will be applied to measure the concentration and reaction rates of inorganic carbon and other chemical species involved in calcification and photosynthesis in three species of Caribbean corals. A major goal is to validate the use of MIMS techniques and microelectrodes in corals. Measurements will be used to develop a numerical model of inorganic carbon processing in corals, allowing chemical fluxes and the composition of the calcifying fluid to be constrained. Improved mechanistic understanding of the effects of ocean acidification on corals will permit robust predications about the longer-term effects of ocean acidification on corals and coral reefs. Broader Impacts: This project will improve predictions of the effects of ocean acidification on corals and coral reef ecosystems. Undergraduate and graduate students will be trained on the project and outreach activities include educating K-12 students and the general public about ocean acidification. A teaching module on the effects of ocean acidification on corals will be added to an existing set of ocean acidification lesson plans and a collaboration with the Driftwood Education Center will be established to make use of the ocean acidification teaching module. The investigators will host an annual mini-symposium called "Symbiofest", which attracts scientists working on corals and other symbioses from around the south-east and beyond.


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Tansik, AL
Fitt, WK
Hopkinson, BM. "External carbonic anhydrase in three Caribbean corals: quantification of activity and role in CO2 uptake," Coral Reefs, v.34, 2015, p. 703.

Hopkinson, B. M.
Tansik, A. L.
Fitt, W. K.. "Internal carbonic anhydrase activity in the tissue of scleractinian corals is sufficient to support proposed roles in photosynthesis and calcification," Journal of Experimental Biology, v.218, 2015, p. 2039.


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