Larval and post-larval stages of Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) are resistant to elevated CO2

The average pH of surface oceans has decreased by 0.1 unit since industrialization and is expected to decrease by another 0.3ā€“0.7 units before the year 2300 due to the absorption of anthropogenic CO2. This human-caused pH change is posing serious threats and challenges to the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), especially to their larval stages. Our knowledge of the effect of reduced pH on C. gigas larvae presently relies presumptively on four short-term (<4 days) survival and growth studies. Using multiple physiological measurements and life stages, the effects of long-term (40 days) exposure to pH 8.1, 7.7 and 7.4 on larval shell growth, metamorphosis, respiration and filtration rates at the time of metamorphosis, along with the juvenile shell growth and structure of the C. gigas, were examined in this study. The mean survival and growth rates were not affected by pH. The metabolic, feeding and metamorphosis rates of pediveliger larvae were similar, between pH 8.1 and 7.7. The pediveligers at pH 7.4 showed reduced weight-specific metabolic and filtration rates, yet were able to sustain a more rapid post-settlement growth rate. However, no evidence suggested that low pH treatments resulted in alterations to the shell ultrastructures (SEM images) or elemental compositions (i.e., Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios). Thus, larval and post-larval forms of the C. gigas in the Yellow Sea are probably resistant to elevated CO2 and decreased near-future pH scenarios. The pre-adapted ability to resist a wide range of decreased pH may provide C. gigas with the necessary tolerance to withstand rapid pH changes over the coming century.

Ko W. K. G., Chan B. S. V., Dineshram R, Choi K. S. D., Li J. A., Ziniu Y. & Thiyagarajan V., 2013. Larval and post-larval stages of Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) are resistant to elevated CO2. PLoS ONE 8(5): e64147. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064147. Article.


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