Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are acidifying the world’s oceans. A growing body of evidence is showing that ocean acidification impacts growth and developmental rates of marine invertebrates. Here we test the impact of elevated seawater pCO2 (129 Pa, 1271 μatm) on early development, larval metabolic and feeding rates in a marine model organism, the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Growth and development was assessed by measuring total body length, body rod length, postoral rod length and posterolateral rod length. Comparing these parameters between treatments suggests that larvae suffer from a developmental delay (by ca. 8%) rather than from the previously postulated reductions in size at comparable developmental stages. Further, we found maximum increases in respiration rates of + 100 % under elevated pCO2, while body length corrected feeding rates did not differ between larvae from both treatments. Calculating scope for growth illustrates that larvae raised under high pCO2 spent an average of 39 to 45% of the available energy for somatic growth, while control larvae could allocate between 78 and 80% of the available energy into growth processes. Our results highlight the importance of defining a standard frame of reference when comparing a given parameter between treatments, as observed differences can be easily due to comparison of different larval ages with their specific set of biological characters.
Archive for July 1st, 2011
Tags: calcification, chemistry, dissolution, methods
In recent years, ocean acidification has gained continuously increasing attention from scientists and a number of stakeholders and has raised serious concerns about its effects on marine organisms and ecosystems. With the increase in interest and the number of scientific investigations of this environmental problem, the number of opinions, often emotional, and misinterpretations of the issue have also increased. Regrettably, this is not necessarily helping to advance scientific understanding of the problem. In this article, we revisit a number of issues relevant to ocean acidification that we think require thoughtful consideration including: (1) surface seawater CO2 chemistry in shallow water coastal areas, (2) experimental manipulation of marine systems using CO2 gas or by acid addition, (3) net versus gross calcification and dissolution, and (4) CaCO3 mineral dissolution and seawater buffering.
Ocean acidification could threaten the safety of baby clownfish say researchers in Bristol, who believe increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the ocean is playing havoc with the fish’s senses.
The Catch of Climate Change is an exclusive Talking Fish series that will look at the potential impacts of ocean acidification from climate change on New England’s oceans and fisheries. This post, the first in the series, will provide an introduction to the concept of ocean acidification and its potential ramifications.
Although many people are aware of climate change, the specifics concerning how it affects our oceans are complicated and often poorly understood. We have all heard about sea level rise from receding glaciers, and the threat they present to low-lying coastal communities and beautiful species like polar bears. In addition, the influx of melted glacial freshwater into our oceans could disrupt crucial ocean circulation that provides nutrients to organisms and regulates world climate, a process primarily driven by ocean temperatures and salinity. Another consequence that could have drastic effects on marine ecosystems and the economy is ocean acidification (OA).
Department of the Interior
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) marine and coastal responsibilities include 84 marine and coastal National Parks and 180 National Wildlife Refuges, numerous threatened and endangered species that depend on the ocean for survival, and some marine mammals including the polar bear, walrus, manatee, and sea otter. DOI also shares a concern for preserving these ecosystems and managing natural resources within these and other areas. The Department also manages offshore energy production and must take into consideration the environmental effects of these activities in relation to other environmental stresses. Ocean acidification will alter the environment and may have serious implications for the important areas managed by DOI, particularly since these areas include diverse ecosystems, such as coral and estuarine communities, and sediment resources. An understanding of the implications of ocean acidification is necessary to better manage these areas and to provide for adaptation to the altered environment. DOI, therefore, needs to be actively participating in identifying research needs as well as ensuring that appropriate scientific information is gathered to inform decision making.