Ocean acidification disrupts induced defences in the intertidal gastropod Littorina littorea.

Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK.
Biology letters (Impact Factor: 3.43). 01/2008; 3(6):699-701. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0457
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Carbon dioxide-induced ocean acidification is predicted to have major implications for marine life, but the research focus to date has been on direct effects. We demonstrate that acidified seawater can have indirect biological effects by disrupting the capability of organisms to express induced defences, hence, increasing their vulnerability to predation. The intertidal gastropod Littorina littorea produced thicker shells in the presence of predation (crab) cues but this response was disrupted at low seawater pH. This response was accompanied by a marked depression in metabolic rate (hypometabolism) under the joint stress of high predation risk and reduced pH. However, snails in this treatment apparently compensated for a lack of morphological defence, by increasing their avoidance behaviour, which, in turn, could affect their interactions with other organisms. Together, these findings suggest that biological effects from ocean acidification may be complex and extend beyond simple direct effects.

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    Journal of Sea Research 01/2015; · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Sea Research 03/2015; 97. DOI:10.1016/j.seares.2014.12.006 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the current context of environmental change, ocean acidification is predicted to affect the cellular processes, physiology and behaviour of all marine organisms, impacting survival, growth and reproduction. In relation to thermal tolerance limits, the effects of elevated pCO2 could be expected to be more pronounced at the upper limits of the thermal tolerance window. Our study focused on Crepidula fornicata, an invasive gastropod which colonized shallow waters around European coasts during the 20th century. We investigated the effects of 10 weeks’ exposure to current (380 matm) and elevated (550, 750, 1,000 matm) pCO2 on this engineer species using an acute temperature increase (1 8C 12 h21) as the test. Respiration rates were measured on both males (small individuals) and females (large individuals). Mortality increased suddenly from 34 8C, particularly in females. Respiration rate in C. fornicata increased linearly with temperature between 18 and 34 8C, but no differences were detected between the different pCO2 conditions either in the regressions between respiration rate and temperature or in Q10 values. In the same way, condition indices were similar in all the pCO2 treatments at the end of the experiment, but decreased from the beginning of the experiment. This species was highly resistant to acute exposure to high temperature regardless of pCO2 levels, even though food was limited during the experiment. Crepidula fornicata appears to have either developed resistance mechanisms or a strong phenotypic plasticity to deal with fluctuations of physicochemical parameters in its habitat. This suggests that invasive species may be more resistant to future environmental changes than its native competitors.
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