Potential for maternal effects on offspring CO2 sensitivities in the Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia)

Highlights

• Offspring produced by different females varied in their sensitivity to high CO2 conditions.
• Specific fatty acids in eggs were correlated to the log-transformed CO2 response ratio of embryo survival and hatch length.
• Maternal provisioning might be an additional determinant of CO2 sensitivity in fish early life stages.

Abstract

For marine fish, the influence of maternal provisioning on offspring sensitivity to high carbon dioxide (CO2) conditions remains unknown. We separately reared offspring obtained from five wild-caught Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia) females from fertilization to 16 days post hatch under contrasting CO2 conditions (ambient: ~ 400 μatm, acidified: ~ 2,300 μatm), testing whether average survival during the embryo and larval stage, hatch length, final length, and growth rates were affected by CO2, female identity, or their interaction. Average trait responses did not significantly differ between treatments (CO2 or female identity), however, significant CO2 × female identity interactions indicated that females produced offspring with different average CO2 sensitivities. We then examined whether differential egg provisioning with fatty acids (FA) may partially explain the observed differences in offspring CO2 sensitivities. Concentrations of 27 FAs in the unfertilized eggs of each female were measured. Cumulative absolute FA levels were negatively related to hatch length and to the log-transformed CO2 response ratio of hatch length. Eggs with lower concentrations of 20:1n9 and 22:5n3 resulted in offspring where embryo survival was negatively impacted by high CO2. Eggs with higher concentrations of 18:3n3, 18:4n3, and 22:6n3 produced shorter offspring at hatching under high CO2 conditions. These results indicate that maternal provisioning might be an additional determinant of CO2 sensitivity in fish early life stages. Acidification experiments should therefore utilize large numbers of parents from different natural conditions and, where possible, track heritage.

Snyder J. T., Murray C. S. & Baumann H., in press.  Potential for maternal effects on offspring CO2 sensitivities in the Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Article (subscription required).

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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