Physiological and shell microstructural responses of an intertidal periwinkle Littorina littorea (Linnaeus, 1758) to ocean acidification and elevated temperature

Future changes in seawater temperature and pH could significantly affect marine biodiversity, yet there are still few studies that have addressed the combined influence of these environmental stressors. In this study, a laboratory experiment was used to investigate how the potential synergistic/additive effects of long-term exposure (30 days) to different levels of seawater pH (8.0, 7.8, 7.6, and 6.5) and temperature (ambient and + 4 °C) on the physiology and shell construction of the intertidal gastropod, Littorina littorea. To determine effects on physiological function, concentrations of ATP, ADP, AMP, succinic and lactic acid were measured, as well as rates of respiration and water loss. In addition, vertical and horizontal sections through the shell were taken and fragments of approximately 5 mm in length assessed for the growth form (thickness) and structural layers. The aim of this study is to identify whether the combined exposure to ocean warming and acidification at the levels predicted for the year 2100 and 2250, and for CO2 leakage from geological storage will exert a synergistic or additive effect on the fitness of this key intertidal grazing species as currently predicted under the simultaneous influence of both ocean acidification and temperature change.



Melatunan, S., Rundle, S. D., Calosi, P., Attrill, M., Widdicombe, S., and Moody, J. A., 2009. Physiological and shell microstructural responses of an intertidal periwinkle Littorina littorea (Linnaeus, 1758) to ocean acidification and elevated temperature. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 153(2): 168. Abstracts of the Annual Main Meeting of the Society of Experimental Biology, 28th June – 1st July, Glasgow, UK. Abstract.

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