Experimental Evaluation of the Response of Coastal Mediterranean Planktonic and Benthic Metabolism to Warming

Raquel Vaquer-Sunyer*, Carlos M. Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The Mediterranean Sea has been identified as one of the hotspots for climate change. Intense warming in the Mediterranean Sea may have strong implications for biological activity and ecosystem functioning. To elucidate the effects of warming on planktonic and benthic metabolism, we performed experiments under different increasing temperature regimes, ranging from three to six different temperatures. The lowest range of temperatures assessed was of 2.6 °C and the maximum was 7.5 °C. Our results suggest that a 6 °C warming of the Mediterranean waters may yield a mean increment in planktonic respiration rates of coastal communities of 24 %, higher than the mean increase expected for planktonic gross primary production (9 %). These results confirm earlier theories, and agree with previous experiments, of a higher increase in respiration rates than in primary production with warming, with the subsequent consequences for the carbon cycle, resulting in a negative feedback to climate warming, as ocean communities will capture less CO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-707
Number of pages11
JournalEstuaries and Coasts
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research is a contribution to the “Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery (WISER)” project, funded by FP7 (contract 226273) and project MEDEICG, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (number CTM2009-07013), and to the project “Estructur-ación filogeográfica de especies marinas durante el cambio climático: alteración de los límites anterior y posterior de las poblaciones móviles (MARINERA)”, funded by the Spanish Government (Ref. CTM-2008-04183-E/MAR). R. Vaquer-Sunyer was funded by the THRESHOLDS integrated project, funded by the European Union 6th Framework Program and WISER project. We thank R. Martínez, P. de la Fuente, L. Royo, M. Noguera, A. Steckbauer, and R. García for help on sampling; M. Sánchez-Camacho for help on controlling experimental temperature and setting of experimental tanks; and M.A. Piazzon and W. Clymans for help on application of mixed-effects models. We thank Gabriel Yvon-Durocher, Jose M. Montoya, and two anonymous reviewers as well as the associated editor A.V. Borges and the coeditor in chief Iris C. Anderson for their valuable comments that helped to improve the manuscript.


  • Activation energy
  • Benthic metabolism
  • Global warming
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Planktonic community metabolism
  • Primary production
  • Q10
  • Respiration
  • Warming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental Evaluation of the Response of Coastal Mediterranean Planktonic and Benthic Metabolism to Warming'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this