Detrimental effect of CO2-driven seawater acidification on a crustacean brine shrimp, Artemia sinica

The effects of the decline in ocean pH, termed as ocean acidification due to the elevated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, on calcifying organisms such as marine crustacean are unclear. To understand the possible effects of ocean acidification on the physiological responses of a marine model crustacean brine shrimp, Artemia sinica, three groups of the cysts or animals were raised at different pH levels (8.2 as control; 7.8 and 7.6 as acidification stress according to the predictions for the end of this century and next century accordingly) for 24 h or two weeks, respectively, followed by examination of their hatching success, morphological appearance such as deformity and microstructure of animal body, growth (i.e. body length), survival rate, expression of selected genes (involved in development, immunity and cellular activity etc), and biological activity of several key enzymes (participated in antioxidant responses and physiological reactions etc). Our results clearly demonstrated that the cysts hatching rate, growth at late stage of acidification stress, and animal survival rate of brine shrimp were all reduced due to lower pH level (7.6 & 7.8) on comparison to the control group (pH 8.2), but no obvious change in deformity or microstructure of brine shrimp was present under these acidification stress by microscopy observation and section analysis. In addition, the animals subjected to a lower pH level of seawater underwent changes on their gene expressions, including Spätzle, MyD88, Notch, Gram-negative bacteria binding protein, prophenoloxidase, Apoptosis inhibitor 5, Trachealess, Caveolin-1 and Cyclin K. Meanwhile, several key enzyme activities, including superoxide dismutase, catalase, peroxidase, alkaline phosphatase and acid phosphatase, were also affected by acidified seawater stress. Taken together, our findings supports the idea that CO2-driven seawater acidification indeed has a detrimental effect, in case of hatching success, growth and survival, on a model crustacean brine shrimp, which will increase the risk of juvenile brine shrimp and possibly also other crustaceans, as important live feeds for aquaculture being introduced in the ecosystem especially the marine food webs.

Zheng C.-q., Jeswin J., Shen K.-l., Lablche M., Wang K.-j. & Liu H.-p., in press.  Detrimental effect of CO2-driven seawater acidification on a crustacean brine shrimp, Artemia sinica. Fish & Shellfish Immunology. Article (subscription required).

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