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Global CO2 Rise: A Blessing or a Curse

Timmermans, B.M. (2009) Global CO2 Rise: A Blessing or a Curse. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Global anthropogenic CO2 rise is currently creating new environments and niches for microalgae living in the coastal and open oceans. These microalgae harness carbon concentrating mechanims (CCM) as a means of increasing their dissolved inorganic carbon uptake to overcome inherent problems that the enzyme RubisCO possesses. With algal blooms apparently becoming more frequent in the oceans, the possible harmful effects that they can cause are becoming a bigger problem for the local environment and populace. In this thesis brief summaries of the following three subjects are given: global CO2 rise and its most direct implications for algae (CO2 concentration and pH decrease); the reasons as to why algae use carbon concentrating mechanisms and its probable energetic costs, and finally algal bloom characteristics, specifically bloom onset, pH effects and ecological impacts. While these three themes are inherently more complex it is predicted that CO2 rise will impact the bloom species at several levels. Algae like Emiliana huxleyi will suffer from the pH decrease, however at present times it still is a dominating blooming species due to other characteristics, like a highly regulated CCM-system, high growth rate and recycling of HCO3-. All else being equal in time it will probably be the algae with a strongly regulated or possibly no CCM, who posses a better RubisCO enzyme than other algae, who draw the longest straw due to decreased energetic costs. Research on these algae has only just started. However, CO2 rise will not be solely responsible for dramatic species shifts in algal blooms due to aforementioned complexity of these described subjects. To gain insight in the interactions within and between the three subjects, studies should combine both focus on large scale experiments and on the molecular level.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:29
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:29

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