Effects of ocean acidification on nektonic organisms

Ongoing impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems emphasize the need to understand the specific and synergistic effects of environmental factors. Thermal effects result from a suite of organism, tissue, cellular, molecular and genomic events. In a systemic to molecular hierarchy these shape a species-specific thermal tolerance window, described by the concept of oxygen and capacity limited thermal tolerance (OCLT). Anthropogenic CO2 accumulation directly causes ocean acidification, however, the contribution of this process to ongoing ecosystem change is unclear. This paper explores the impacts of ocean acidification on nektonic fishes and cephalopods. Data indicate a role for the mechanisms of acid-base regulation in countering the adverse effects of elevated CO2. Compensation for the acidosis supports calcification and fitness in acidifying waters. With the specific CO2 effects being increasingly understood the OCLT concept may serve as a matrix to integrate the synergistic limitations by environmental stressors including ocean acidification for a comprehensive understanding of climate change impacts on ecosystems.

Pörtner H.-O., Gutowska M., Ishimatsu A., Lucassen M., Melzner F., & Seibel B., 2011. Effects of ocean acidification on nektonic organisms. In: Gattuso J.-P. & Hansson L. (Eds.), Ocean acidification, pp. 154-175. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Book.


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