Performance and herbivory of the tropical topshell Trochus histrio under short-term temperature increase and high CO2

Highlights

• Tropical algae-herbivore interactions were studied under a climate change scenario.

• Survival of topshells did not vary but body fitness declined under high CO2.

• Elevated temperature resulted in better physical condition and stimulated herbivory.

• Dynamic index was temperature- and pCO2-interactively dependent.

• Dominance of bottom-up control (i.e. lower grazing pressure) under high CO2.

Abstract

Within tropical environments, short-term impacts of increased seawater temperature and pCO2 on algae-herbivore interactions remain poorly understood. We investigated the isolated and combined 7-day effects of increased temperature (+4 °C) and pCO2 (~1000 μatm) on the trophic interaction Ulva sp./Trochus histrio, by assessing: i) topshells’ survival and condition index; ii) grazer consumption rates, nutritional composition and interaction strength expressed as a dynamic index. No survival differences were observed whilst body condition varied significantly. Topshells under high pCO2 displayed poor performance, concomitant with lower consumption of macroalgae. Individuals exposed to increased temperature had better physical condition, thus stimulating herbivory, which in turn was negatively correlated with carbon and nitrogen contents. The dynamic index was temperature- and pCO2- interactively dependent, suggesting lower grazing pressure under single acidification. Despite some limitations inherent to a short-term exposure, this study provides new insights to accurately predict tropical species’ phenotypic responses in a changing ocean.

Grilo T. F., Repolho T., Rosa R. & Cardosob P. G., 2019. Performance and herbivory of the tropical topshell Trochus histrio under short-term temperature increase and high CO2. Marine Pollution Bulletin 138: 295-301. Article (subscription required).

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