Ocean acidification reduces sperm flagellar motility in broadcast spawning reef invertebrates

Ocean acidification is now recognized as a threat to marine ecosystems; however, the effect of ocean acidification on fertilization in marine organisms is still largely unknown. In this study, we focused on sperm flagellar motility in broadcast spawning reef invertebrates (a coral and a sea cucumber). Below pH 7.7, the pH predicted to occur within the next 100 years, sperm flagellar motility was seriously impaired in these organisms. Considering that sperm flagellar motility is indispensable for transporting the paternal haploid genome for fertilization, fertilization taking place in seawater may decline in the not too distant future. Urgent surveys are necessary for a better understanding of the physiological consequences of ocean acidification on sperm flagellar motility in a wide range of marine invertebrates.



Morita, M., Suwa, R., Iguchi, A., Nakamura, M., Shimada, K., Sakai, K., & Suzuki, A., 2009. Ocean acidification reduces sperm flagellar motility in broadcast spawning reef invertebrates. Zygote, Cambridge University Press, Published online. doi:10.1017/S0967199409990177. Article (subscription required).

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