Effects of parental acclimation and energy limitation in response to high CO2 exposure in Atlantic cod

Ocean acidification (OA), the dissolution of excess anthropogenic carbon dioxide in ocean waters, is a potential stressor to many marine fish species. Whether species have the potential to acclimate and adapt to changes in the seawater carbonate chemistry is still largely unanswered. Simulation experiments across several generations are challenging for large commercially exploited species because of their long generation times. For Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), we present first data on the effects of parental acclimation to elevated aquatic CO2 on larval survival, a fundamental parameter determining population recruitment. The parental generation in this study was exposed to either ambient or elevated aquatic CO2 levels simulating end-of-century OA levels (~1100 µatm CO2) for six weeks prior to spawning. Upon fully reciprocal exposure of the F1 generation, we quantified larval survival, combined with two larval feeding regimes in order to investigate the potential effect of energy limitation. We found a significant reduction in larval survival at elevated CO2 that was partly compensated by parental acclimation to the same CO2 exposure. Such compensation was only observed in the treatment with high food availability. This complex 3-way interaction indicates that surplus metabolic resources need to be available to allow a transgenerational alleviation response to ocean acidification.

Stiasny M. H., Mittermayer F. H., Göttler G., Bridges C. R., Falk-Petersen I.-B., Puvanendran V., Mortensen A., Reusch T. B. H. & Clemmesen C., 2018. Effects of parental acclimation and energy limitation in response to high CO2 exposure in Atlantic cod. Nature 8: 8348. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26711-y. Article.

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