Impact of CO2-driven ocean acidification on invertebrates early life-history – What we know, what we need to know and what we can do

As a consequence of increasing atmospheric CO2, the world’s oceans are becoming more acidic and the rate of change is increasingly fast. This ocean acidification is expected to have significant physiological, ecological and evolutionary consequences at many organizational levels of marine biodiversity. Alarmingly little is known about the long term impact of predicted pH changes (a decrease of −0.3/−0.4 units for the end of this century) on marine invertebrates in general and their early developmental stages in particular, which are believed to be the more sensitive to environmental disturbances, are essential as unit of selection, recruitment and population maintenance. Ocean acidification (OA) research is in its infancy and although the field is moving forward rapidly, good data are still scarce. Available data reveal contradictory results and apparent paradoxes. In this article, we will review available information both from published sources and work in progress, drawing a general picture of what is currently known, with an emphasis on early life-history larval stages. We will also discuss what we need to know in a field with very limited time resources to obtain data and where there is a high expectation that the scientific community should rapidly be able to provide clear answers that help politicians and the public to take action. We will also provide some suggestions about what can be done to protect and rescue future ecosystems.



Dupont, S. & Thorndyke, M. C., 2009. Impact of CO2-driven ocean acidification on invertebrates early life-history – What we know, what we need to know and what we can do. Biogeosciences Discussions. 6(2): 3109-3131. Article.

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