Combined effects of temperature and ocean acidification on the juvenile individuals of the mussel Mytilus chilensis

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions have lead to increasing global mean temperatures (a process called global warming) and Ocean Acidification. Because both processes are occurring simultaneously, to better understand their consequences on marine species their combined effects must be experimentally evaluated. The aim of this study was to evaluate for the first time the combined effects of ocean acidification and water temperature increase on the total calcification rate, growth rate and survival of juvenile individuals of the mytilid mussel Mytilus chilensis (Hupe). Two temperature levels (12 and 16 °C) and three nominal CO2 concentrations (390, 700 and 1000 ppm of CO2) were used. We found that the net rate of calcium deposition and total weight were not significantly affected by temperature, but were negatively affected by the levels of CO2. The interactive effects of temperature and CO2 levels affected only the shell dissolution, but this process was not important for the animal’s net calcification. These results suggest that individuals of M. chilensis are able to overcome increased temperatures, but not increments of CO2 levels. It is well know that mussels influence their physical and biological surroundings. Therefore, the negative effects of a CO2 increase could have significant ecological consequences, mainly in those habitats where this group is dominant in term of abundance and biomass. Finally, taking into account that this species inhabit a wide geographic range, with contrasting environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, salinity and, pH), further studies are needed to evaluate the intraspecific variability in the responses of this species to different environmental stressors.

Duarte C., Navarro J. M., Acuña K., Torres R., Manríquez P. H., Lardies M. A., Vargas C. A., Lagos N. A. & Aguilera V., in press. Combined effects of temperature and ocean acidification on the juvenile individuals of the mussel Mytilus chilensis. Journal of Sea Research. Article (subscription required).


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