Copper and ocean acidification interact to lower maternal investment, but have little effect on adult physiology of the Sydney rock oyster Saccostrea glomerata

Highlights

• The first study to investigate the transgenerational carry-over effects of ocean acidification and trace metals.
• Ocean acidification and trace metals interact to lower the energy invested in offspring.
• Offspring of exposed parents perform better than those without exposure.

Abstract

It remains unknown how molluscs will respond to oceans which are increasingly predicted to be warmer, more acidic, and heavily polluted. Ocean acidification and trace metals will likely interact to increase the energy demands of marine organisms, especially oysters. This study tested the interactive effect of exposure to elevated pCO2 and copper on the energetic demands of the Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata) during reproductive conditioning and determined whether there were any positive or negative effects on their offspring. Oysters were exposed to elevated pCO2 (1000 μatm) and elevated copper (Cu 50 μg L−1 [0.787 μM]) in an orthogonal design for eight weeks during reproductive conditioning. After eight weeks, energetic demands on oysters were measured including standard metabolic rate (SMR), nitrogen excretion, molar oxygen to nitrogen (O:N) ratio, and pHe of adult oysters as well as the size and total lipid content of their eggs. To determine egg viability, the gametes were collected and fertilised from adult oysters, the percentage of embryos that had reached the trochophore stage after 24 h was recorded. Elevated pCO2 caused a lower extracellular pH and there was a greater O:N ratio in adult oysters exposed to copper. While the two stressors did not interact to cause significant effects on adult physiology, they did interact to reduce the size and lipid content of eggs indicating that energy demand on adult oysters was greater when both elevated pCO2 and copper were combined. Despite the lower energy, there were no negative effects on early embryonic development. In conclusion, elevated pCO2 can interact with metals and cause greater energetic demands on oysters; in response oysters may lower maternal investment to offspring.

Scanes E., Parker L. M.,  O’Connor W. A., Gibbs M. C. & Ross P. M., 2018. Copper and ocean acidification interact to lower maternal investment, but have little effect on adult physiology of the Sydney rock oyster Saccostrea glomerata. Aquatic Toxicology 203: 51-60. Article (subscription required).

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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book