Ocean acidification causes no detectable effect on swimming activity and body size in a common copepod

Ocean acidification can impair an animal’s physiological performance and energetically demanding activities such as swimming. Behavioural abnormalities and changed activity in response to ocean acidification are reported in fish and crustacean species. We studied swimming activity in the calanoid copepod Pseudocalanus acuspes in response to near-future ocean acidification. Water and copepods were sampled from ten mesocosms deployed on the Swedish west coast. The experiments were conducted on animals reared in the mesocosms for 2 months during spring. Copepods were filmed after long-term (chronic) high-CO2, and after 20 h acute exposure to CO2. There was no significant effect of CO2 on copepods in chronic high-CO2, nor significant effect after the 20 h acute exposure. In addition, we measured prosome length from a large number of adult copepods, but no effect of acidification on body size was found. In this study, P. acuspes did not show sensitivity to near-future pCO2 levels. Even if a number of papers suggest that copepods seem robust to future ocean acidification, interaction between multiple stress factors, such as elevated temperature, hypoxia and salinity changes may impair a copepod’s ability to resist lowered pH.

Almén A. K., Brutemark A., Jutfelt F., Riebesell U. & Engström-Öst J., 2017. Ocean acidification causes no detectable effect on swimming activity and body size in a common copepod. Hydrobiologia 802: 235. Article (subscription required).

 

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