Impact of ocean acidification on escape performance of the king scallop, Pecten maximus, from Norway

The ongoing process of ocean acidification already affects marine life, and according to the concept of oxygen and capacity limitation of thermal tolerance, these effects may be intensified at the borders of the thermal tolerance window. We studied the effects of elevated CO2 concentrations on clapping performance and energy metabolism of the commercially important scallop Pecten maximus. Individuals were exposed for at least 30 days to 4 °C (winter) or to 10 °C (spring/summer) at either ambient (0.04 kPa, normocapnia) or predicted future PCO2 levels (0.11 kPa, hypercapnia). Cold-exposed (4 °C) groups revealed thermal stress exacerbated by PCO2 indicated by a high mortality overall and its increase from 55 % under normocapnia to 90 % under hypercapnia. We therefore excluded the 4 °C groups from further experimentation. Scallops at 10 °C showed impaired clapping performance following hypercapnic exposure. Force production was significantly reduced although the number of claps was unchanged between normocapnia- and hypercapnia-exposed scallops. The difference between maximal and resting metabolic rate (aerobic scope) of the hypercapnic scallops was significantly reduced compared with normocapnic animals, indicating a reduction in net aerobic scope. Our data confirm that ocean acidification narrows the thermal tolerance range of scallops resulting in elevated vulnerability to temperature extremes and impairs the animal’s performance capacity with potentially detrimental consequences for its fitness and survival in the ocean of tomorrow.

Schalkhausser B., Bock C., Stemmer K., Brey T., Pörtner H.-O. & Lannig G., in press. Impact of ocean acidification on escape performance of the king scallop, Pecten maximus, from Norway. Marine Biology. doi: 10.1007/s00227-012-2057-8. Article.

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