Effects of seawater acidification on early development of the intertidal sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (Lamarck 1816)

The effect of pH ranging from 8.0 to 6.8 (total scale – pHT) on fertilization, cleavage and larval development until pluteus stage was assessed in an intertidal temperate sea urchin. Gametes were obtained from adults collected in two contrasting tide pools, one showing a significant nocturnal pH decrease (lowest pHT = 7.4) and another where pH was more stable (lowest pHT = 7.8). The highest pHT at which significant effects on fertilization and cleavage were recorded was 7.6. On the contrary, larval development was only affected below pHT 7.4, a value equal or lower than that reported for several subtidal species. This suggests that sea urchins inhabiting stressful intertidal environments produce offspring that may better resist future ocean acidification. Moreover, at pHT 7.4, the fertilization rate of gametes whose progenitors came from the tide pool with higher pH decrease was significantly higher, indicating a possible acclimatization or adaptation of gametes to pH stress.

Moulin, L., Catarino, A. I., Claessens, T., & Dubois, P., in press. Effects of seawater acidification on early development of the intertidal sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (Lamarck 1816). doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.09.012. Article (subscription required).


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