Behavioral responses of brown shrimp (Crangon crangon) to reduced seawater pH following simulated leakages from sub-sea geological storage of CO2

Large-scale storage of CO2 within sub-sea geological formations is a viable option for reducing the volume of this greenhouse gas released directly to the atmosphere from anthropogenic activities. Risks to benthic marine life following possible leakage of gas through the seabed from this carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiative are not yet well established. This study examined behavior (activity patterns) in brown shrimp (Crangon crangon), exposed to a range of reduced seawater pH conditions (7.6, 7, or 6.5) simulating leakage scenarios of varying scales. Brown shrimp have an endogenous rhythmicity associated with their activity, which dictates they are most active during hours of darkness, presumably as protection against vision-dependent predators. This endogenous rhythm in activity continues to be expressed when shrimp are held under constant low-light conditions in the lab and provides an ecologically relevant endpoint to measure when examining the influence of reduced pH on the behavior of these animals. No marked differences in activity pattern were observed between control shrimp maintained at pH 8.1 and those at pH 7.6. However, changes in activity were evident at pH 7 and pH 6.5, where significant shifts in timing and intensity of activity occurred. There was an unexpected increase in activity within periods of expected light, probably signaling efforts by shrimp to migrate away from reduced seawater pH conditions. The loss of this important member of the benthic community due to migration may have important consequences for many of the resilient species that remain.

Bamber S. D. & Westerlund S., 2016. Behavioral responses of brown shrimp (Crangon crangon) to reduced seawater pH following simulated leakages from sub-sea geological storage of CO2.  Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues – Special Issue: 5th Norwegian Environmental Toxicology Symposium: Recognizing, understanding, and minimizing the impacts of human activity 79(13-15):526-537. Article (subscription required).


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