The increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) leads to rising temperatures and acidification in the oceans, which directly or indirectly affects all marine organisms, from bacteria to animals. We here ask whether the simplest—and possibly also the oldest—metazoan animals, the placozoans, are particularly sensitive to ocean warming and acidification. Placozoans are found in all warm and temperate oceans and are soft-bodied, microscopic invertebrates lacking any calcified structures, organs, or symmetry. We here show that placozoans respond highly sensitive to temperature and acidity stress. The data reveal differential responses in different placozoan lineages and encourage efforts to develop placozoans as a potential biomarker system.
Schleicherová D., Dulias K., Osigus H.-J., Paknia O., Hadrys H. & Schierwater B., 2017. The most primitive metazoan animals, the placozoans, show high sensitivity to increasing ocean temperatures and acidities. Ecology and Evolution 7:895–904. Article.