Behavioural responses of Crangon crangon (Crustacea, Decapoda) to reduced seawater pH following simulated leakage from sub-sea geological storage

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) in sub-sea geological formations is being developed and promoted to mitigate CO2 discharges to the atmosphere from point sources such as power stations. There remain some questions on the risks associated with the possible loss of gas from storage and the environmental harm this could pose to marine organisms associated with the sea bed in these regions. This study investigated the effect of exposing the common shrimp (Crangon crangon) to reduced pH conditions and presents the results of stepwise pH-reductions (0.2 pH units from pH 7 down to pH 6). Behaviour was monitored continuously throughout 8 hours of exposure. In three subsequent experiments we could show a consistent and repeatable behavioural response pattern consisting of immediate avoidance reactions expressed as “shooting behaviour” following each pH-reduction every hour. The animals responded in a rapid manner to the shifts at all pH values, suggesting that these animals are sensitive to even relatively small changes. The results indicate that repeated acute pH-stress caused by CO2-leakage from carbon storage sites might affect the behaviour and subsequent fitness of natural populations of common shrimps. Changes in behaviour are likely to lead to increased predation on these animals and migration away from affected areas.

Almut G. & Bamber S., 2013. Behavioural responses of Crangon crangon (Crustacea, Decapoda) to reduced seawater pH following simulated leakage from sub-sea geological storage. Journal of Environmental Protection 4 (7A): 61-67. Article.

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