The continuing increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere leads to increases in global temperatures and partial pressure of CO2 (PCO2) in surface waters, causing ocean acidification. These changes are especially pronounced in shallow coastal and estuarine waters and are expected to significantly affect marine calcifiers including bivalves that are ecosystem engineers in estuarine and coastal communities. To elucidate potential effects of higher temperatures and PCO2 on physiology and biomineralization of marine bivalves, we exposed two bivalve species, the eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica and the hard clams Mercenaria mercenaria to different combinations of PCO2 (~ 400 and 800 μatm) and temperatures (22 and 27 °C) for 15 weeks. Survival, bioenergetic traits (tissue levels of lipids, glycogen, glucose and high energy phosphates) and biomineralization parameters (mechanical properties of the shells and activity of carbonic anhydrase, CA) were determined in clams and oysters under different temperature and PCO2 regimes. Our analysis showed major inter-species differences in shell mechanical traits and bioenergetics parameters. Elevated temperature led to the depletion of tissue energy reserves indicating energy deficiency in both species and resulted in higher mortality in oysters. Interestingly, while elevated PCO2 had a small effect on the physiology and metabolism of both species, it improved survival in oysters. At the same time, a combination of high temperature and elevated PCO2 lead to a significant decrease in shell hardness in both species, suggesting major changes in their biomineralization processes. Overall, these studies show that global climate change and ocean acidification might have complex interactive effects on physiology, metabolism and biomineralization in coastal and estuarine marine bivalves.
Ivanina A. V., Dickinson G. H., Matoo O. B., Bagwe R., Dickinson A., Beniash E. & Sokolova I. M., in press. Interactive effects of elevated temperature and co2 levels on energy metabolism and biomineralization of marine bivalves Crassostrea virginica and Mercenaria mercenaria. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology. Article (subscription required).