Influence of CO2-related seawater acidification on extracellular acid–base balance in the velvet swimming crab Necora puber

We investigated the effect of different levels of hypercapnia-induced acidification (pH = 7.96, 7.31, 6.74 and 6.05) on the extracellular acid base balance of a shallow-water crustacean, the velvet swimming crab Necora puber over a period of 16 days. Any extracellular acidosis incurred was completely compensated by an increase in bicarbonate. Bicarbonate was partly, but not wholly, supplied by dissolution of the exoskeleton. This compensation was sustained for 16 days under all experimental treatments with two exceptions. First there was some evidence of extracellular acidosis in crabs after 16 days at pH = 6.74. Second at the lowest environmental pH (6.05) there was a marked uncompensated acidosis after 24 h. Necora puber appears less sensitive to low pH than many other species examined acutely. However, local acidification as a result of ocean CO2 dispersal or leakage from geological sequestration is likely to compromise even this species.

John I. Spicer, Angela Raffo1 and Stephen Widdicombe, 2007. Influence of CO2-related seawater acidification on extracellular acid–base balance in the velvet swimming crab Necora puber. Marine Biology 151(3): 1117-1125. Article.

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