Effects of seawater temperature and pH on the boring rates of the sponge Cliona celata in scallop shells

Warmer, more acidic water resulting from greenhouse gas emissions could influence ecosystem processes like bioerosion of calcifying organisms. Based on summer-maxima values (temperature = 26 °C; pH = 8.1) at a collection site in New York (40°56″ N, 72°30″ W), explants of the boring sponge Cliona celata Grant, 1826 were grown for 133 days on scallop shells in seawater ranging from current values to one scenario predicted for the year 2100 (T = 31 °C; pH = 7.8). High water temperature had little effect on sponge growth, survival, or boring rates. Lower pH slightly reduced sponge survival, while greatly influencing shell boring. At pH = 7.8, sponges bored twice the number of papillar holes and removed two times more shell weight than at pH = 8.1. Greater erosion resulted in weaker scallop shells. This study suggests that lower seawater pH may increase boring rates of C. celata in shellfish, with potentially severe implications for wild and farmed shellfish populations.

Duckworth A. R. & Peterson B. J., 2013. Effects of seawater temperature and pH on the boring rates of the sponge Cliona celata in scallop shells. Marine Biology 160 (1): 27-35. Article (subscription required).

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