Influence of elevated CO2 concentrations on thermal tolerance of the edible crab Cancer pagurus

Metzger R., Sartoris F. J., Langenbuch M. & Pörtner H. O., 2007. Influence of elevated CO2 concentrations on thermal tolerance of the edible crab Cancer pagurus. Journal of Thermal Biology 32:144-151.

Current trends of global climate change affect marine ectothermal animals not only through the increase in ambient temperature…

Current trends of global climate change affect marine ectothermal animals not only through the increase in ambient temperature. Synergistic effects of carbon dioxide and temperature changes as well as more frequent hypoxia events must also be considered. As a first attempt the combined effects of warming and elevated CO2 concentrations were investigated in the edible crab (Cancer pagurus). Arterial oxygen tension (PaO2) in the haemolymph was recorded on-line during a progressive warming scenario from 10 to 22°C and cooling back to 10 °C. Hypercapnia (1% CO2) caused a significant reduction of oxygen partial pressure in the haemolymph as well as a large, 5°C downward shift of upper thermal limits of aerobic scope. The present findings are the first to show that hypercapnia causes enhanced sensitivity to heat and thus, a narrowing of the thermal tolerance window of a marine ectotherm. Such interactions of ambient temperature and anthropogenic increases in ambient CO2 concentrations will need to be considered during future investigations of the effects of climate change on ecosystems.

Metzger R., Sartoris F. J., Langenbuch M. & Pörtner H. O., 2007. Influence of elevated CO2 concentrations on thermal tolerance of the edible crab Cancer pagurus. Journal of Thermal Biology 32:144-151. Article.
Note (from JPG): this paper uses CO2 levels far higher than those expected in the next century. As a result, the fall in pH is very high and does not mimick future decadal changes. The results cannot, therefore, be used in the context of ocean acidification resulting from air-sea exchange.

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