Seawater acidification by CO2 in a coastal lagoon environment: effects on life history traits of juvenile mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis

The carbonate chemistry of seawater from the Ria Formosa lagoon was experimentally manipulated, by diffusing pure CO2, to attain two reduced pH levels, by − 0.3 and − 0.6 pH units, relative to unmanipulated seawater. After 84 days of exposure, no differences were detected in terms of growth (somatic or shell) or mortality of juvenile mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis. The naturally elevated total alkalinity of the seawater (≈ 3550 μmol kg− 1) prevented under-saturation of CaCO3, even under pCO2 values exceeding 4000 μatm, attenuating the detrimental effects on the carbonate supply-side. Even so, variations in shell weight showed that net calcification was reduced under elevated CO2 and reduced pH, although the magnitude and significance of this effect varied among size-classes. Most of the loss of shell material probably occurred as post-deposition dissolution in the internal aragonitic nacre layer. Our results show that, even when reared under extreme levels of CO2-induced acidification, juvenile M. galloprovincialis can continue to calcify and grow in this coastal lagoon environment. The complex responses of bivalves to ocean acidification suggest a large degree of interspecific and intraspecific variability in their sensitivity to this type of perturbation. Further research is needed to assess the generality of these patterns and to disentangle the relative contributions of acclimation to local variations in seawater chemistry and genetic adaptation.

Range P., Pilób D., Ben-Hamadoua R., Chícharoa M. A., Matias D., Joaquim S., Oliveira A. P., Chícharo L., 2012. Seawater acidification by CO2 in a coastal lagoon environment: effects on life history traits of juvenile mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 424-425: 89-98. Article (subscription required).


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