Ocean acidification as a multiple driver: How interactions between changing seawater carbonate parameters affect marine life

Catriona L. Hurd, John Beardall, Steeve Comeau, Christopher E. Cornwall, Jonathan N. Havenhand, Philip L. Munday, Laura M. Parker, John A. Raven, Christina M. McGraw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


'Multiple drivers' (also termed 'multiple stressors') is the term used to describe the cumulative effects of multiple environmental factors on organisms or ecosystems. Here, we consider ocean acidification as a multiple driver because many inorganic carbon parameters are changing simultaneously, including total dissolved inorganic carbon, CO2, HCO3-, CO32-, H+ and CaCO3 saturation state. With the rapid expansion of ocean acidification research has come a greater understanding of the complexity and intricacies of how these simultaneous changes to the seawater carbonate system are affecting marine life. We start by clarifying key terms used by chemists and biologists to describe the changing seawater inorganic carbon system. Then, using key groups of non-calcifying (fish, seaweeds, diatoms) and calcifying (coralline algae, coccolithophores, corals, molluscs) organisms, we consider how various physiological processes are affected by different components of the carbonate system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-274
Number of pages12
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • coccolithophores
  • coralline algae
  • corals
  • diatoms
  • fertilisation
  • fish
  • macroalgae
  • molluscs
  • seaweed

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