Effects of high pCO2 on the northern krill Thysanoessa inermis in relation to carbonate chemistry of its collection area, Rijpfjorden

Polar oceans are predicted to be the first marine environments affected by ocean acidification (OA). Thysanoessa inermis is one of the most abundant krill species in northern waters of the Atlantic and a key species in the food web of this ecosystem. Yet, we know very little about potential OA effects on this species. We studied the effects of elevated pCO2 on T. inermis in a laboratory experiment by exposing individuals for 11 weeks to low and high pCO2 (450 and 1200 µatm, respectively, n = 12 per pCO2 treatment). Survival, growth, and moulting frequency was monitored during the experiment, and feeding and oxygen consumption rates (n = 3–5 per pCO2 treatment) were measured at the end of the experiment. No significant effects of high pCO2 on survival, growth, moulting, oxygen consumption, and feeding rate were observed, indicating that T. inermis is tolerant to predicted high OA levels. We also explored physical and chemical properties of waters near the collection area of krill, Rijpfjorden (Svalbard 80° North) during the polar summer (July–August). In situ measurements showed large temperature and salinity gradients from surface to bottom and pCO2 and pH ranged, respectively, 161–417 µatm and 7.99–8.37. Even though substantial spatial variability in pCO2 could be observed, krill in this area is not confronted yet with the investigated high pCO2 levels.

Opstad I., Mangor-Jensen A., Sperfeld E., Semb Johansen I., Fransson A., Chierici M. & Dalpadado P., 2018. Effects of high pCO2 on the northern krill Thysanoessa inermis in relation to carbonate chemistry of its collection area, Rijpfjorden. Marine Biology 165: 116. doi:10.1007/s00227-018-3370-7. Article (subscription required).

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