A marine secondary producer respires and feeds more in a high CO2 ocean

Climate change mediates marine chemical and physical environments and therefore influences marine organisms. While increasing atmospheric CO2 level and associated ocean acidification has been predicted to stimulate marine primary productivity and may affect community structure, the processes that impact food chain and biological CO2 pump are less documented. We hypothesized that copepods, as the secondary marine producer, may respond to future changes in seawater carbonate chemistry associated with ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. Here, we show that the copepod, Centropages tenuiremis, was able to perceive the chemical changes in seawater induced under elevated CO2 concentration (>1700 μatm, pH < 7.60) with avoidance strategy. The copepod’s respiration increased at the elevated CO2 (1000 μatm), associated acidity (pH 7.83) and its feeding rates also increased correspondingly, except for the initial acclimating period, when it fed less. Our results imply that marine secondary producers increase their respiration and feeding rate in response to ocean acidification to balance the energy cost against increased acidity and CO2 concentration.

Li W., & Gao K., in press. A marine secondary producer respires and feeds more in a high CO2 ocean. Marine Pollution Bulletin doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.01.033. Article (subcription required).

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