Interactive effects of seawater acidification and elevated temperature on biomineralization and amino acid metabolism in the mussel Mytilus edulis

Seawater acidification and warming resulting from anthropogenic production of carbon dioxide are increasing threats to marine ecosystems. Previous studies have documented the effects of either seawater acidification or warming on marine calcifiers; however, the combined effects of these stressors are poorly understood. In our study, we examined the interactive effects of elevated carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2) and temperature on biomineralization and amino acid contents in an ecologically and economically important mussel, Mytilus edulis. The adult M. edulis were reared at different combinations of pCO2 (pH 8.1 and pH 7.8) and temperature (19°C, 22°C, and 25°C) for 2 months. The results indicated that elevated pCO2 significantly decreased the net calcification rate, the calcium content and the Ca/Mg ratio of the shells, induced the differential expression of biomineralization-related genes, modified shell ultrastructure and altered amino acid contents, implying significant effects of seawater acidification on biomineralization and amino acid metabolism. Notably, elevated temperature enhanced the effects of seawater acidification on these parameters. The shell breaking force significantly decreased under elevated pCO2, but the effect was not exacerbated by elevated temperature. The results suggest that the interactive effects of seawater acidification and elevated temperature on mussels are likely to have ecological and functional implications. This study is therefore helpful to better understand the underlying effects of changing marine environments on mussels and other marine calcifiers.

Li S., Liu C., Huang J., Liu Y., Zheng G., Xie L. & Zhang R., in press. Interactive effects of seawater acidification and elevated temperature on biomineralization and amino acid metabolism in the mussel Mytilus edulis. The Journal of Experimental Biology. Article (subscription required).


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