Deformities in larvae and juvenile European lobster (Homarus gammarus) exposed to lower pH at two different temperatures

Trends of increasing temperatures and ocean acidification are expected to influence benthic marine resources, especially calcifying organisms. The European lobster (Homarus gammarus) is among those species at risk. A project was initiated in 2011 aiming to investigate long-term synergistic effects of temperature and projected increases in ocean acidification on the life cycle of lobster. Larvae were exposed to pCO2 levels of ambient water (water intake at 90 m depth, tentatively of 380 μatm pCO2), 727 and 1217 μatm pCO2, at temperatures 10 and 18 °C. Long-term exposure lasted until 5 months of age. Thereafter the surviving juveniles were transferred to ambient water at 14 °C. At 18 °C the development from Stage 1 to 4 lasted from 14 to 16 days, as predicted under normal pH values. Growth was very slow at 10 °C and resulted in only two larvae reaching Stage 4 in the ambient treatment. There were no significant differences in carapace length at the various larval stages between the different treatments, but there were differences in total length and dry weight at Stage 1 at 10 °C, Stage 2 at both temperatures, producing larvae slightly larger in size and lighter by dry weight in the exposed treatments. Stage 3 larvae raised in 18 °C and 1217 μatm pCO2 were also larger in size and heavier by dry weight compared with 727 μatm. Unfortunate circumstances precluded a full comparison across stages and treatment. Deformities were however observed in both larvae and juveniles. At 10 °C, about 20% of the larvae exposed to elevated pCO2were deformed, compared with 0% in larvae raised in pH above 8.0. At 18 °C and in high pCO2 treatment, 31.5% of the larvae were deformed. Occurrence of deformities after 5 months of exposure was 33 and 44% in juveniles raised in ambient and low pCO2, respectively, and 20% in juveniles exposed to high pCO2. Some of the deformities will possibly affect the ability to find food, sexual partner (walking legs, claw and antenna), respiration (carapace), and ability to swim (tail-fan damages).

Agnalt A.-L., Grefsrud E. S., Farestveit E., Larsen M. & Keulder F., 2013. Deformities in larvae and juvenile European lobster (Homarus gammarus) exposed to lower pH at two different temperatures. Biogeosciences Discussions 10: 7579-7615. Article.

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