Effects of ocean acidification on the embryos and larvae of red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus

The effects of the decline in ocean pH, known as ocean acidification, on marine species are not well understood. To test the effects on embryos and larvae of red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, ovigerous crab and their larvae were held in CO2-acidified (pH 7.7) and control (ambient; pH 8.0) seawater during development. Morphometrics, hatch duration, fecundity, survival, mineral content, and condition were measured. Acidified embryos had 4% larger eyes and 5% smaller yolks, while mean hatch duration was 33% longer and female fecundity was unaffected. Acidified embryos also resulted in 4% longer larvae while acidified larvae had lower survival. Calcium content of both larvae and female carapaces after molting increased by 5% and 19%, respectively. Although ocean acidification may increase larval size and calcium content, the implications of this are unclear and decreased survival is likely to harm red king crab populations.

Long W. C., Swiney K. M. & Foy R. J., in press. Effects of ocean acidification on the embryos and larvae of red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Article (subscription required).


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