Physiological trade-offs, acid-base balance and ion-osmoregulatory plasticity in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) juveniles under complex scenarios of salinity variation, ocean acidification and high ammonia challenge

Highlights

• Ocean acidification (OA) is becoming a serious threat to the marine ecosystem.

• OA can co-occur with other perturbations including salinity reduction and high ammonia.

• Interactive effects of these three stressers were evaluated on performance of European sea bass.

• Physiological, ion-osmoregulatory and gene-expression responses were modulated differentially under experimental conditions.

• Fish became more vulnerable to OA and ammonia toxicity at low salinities.

Abstract

In this era of global climate change, ocean acidification is becoming a serious threat to the marine ecosystem. Despite this, it remains almost unknown how fish will respond to the co-occurrence of ocean acidification with other conventional environmental perturbations typically salinity fluctuation and high ammonia threat. Therefore, the present work evaluated the interactive effects of elevated pCO2, salinity reduction and high environmental ammonia (HEA) on the ecophysiological performance of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Fish were progressively acclimated to seawater (32 ppt), to brackish water (10 ppt) and to hyposaline water (2.5 ppt). Following acclimation to different salinities for at least two weeks, fish were exposed to CO2-induced water acidification representing present-day (control pCO2, 400 μatm, LoCO2) and future (high pCO2, 1000 μatm, HiCO2) sea-surface CO2 level for 3, 7 and 21 days. At the end of each exposure period, fish were challenged with HEA for 6 h (1.18 mM representing 50% of 96 h LC50). Results show that, in response to the individual HiCO2 exposure, fish within each salinity compensated for blood acidosis. Fish subjected to HiCO2 were able to maintain ammonia excretion rate (Jamm) within control levels, suggesting that HiCO2 exposure alone had no impact on Jamm at any of the salinities. For 32 and 10 ppt fish, up-regulated expression of Na+/K+-ATPase was evident in all exposure groups (HEA, HiCO2 and HEA/HiCO2 co-exposed), whereas Na+/K+/2Cl− co-transporter was up-regulated mainly in HiCO2 group. Plasma glucose and lactate content were augmented in all exposure conditions for all salinity regimes. During HEA and HEA/HiCO2, Jamm was inhibited at different time points for all salinities, which resulted in a significant build-up of ammonia in plasma and muscle. Branchial expressions of Rhesus glycoproteins (Rhcg isoforms and Rhbg) were upregulated in response to HiCO2 as well as HEA at 10 ppt, with a more moderate response in 32 ppt groups. Overall, our findings denote that the adverse effect of single exposures of ocean acidification or HEA is exacerbated when present together, and suggests that fish are more vulnerable to these environmental threats at low salinities.

Shrivastava J., Ndugwa M., Caneos W. & Boeck G., in press. Physiological trade-offs, acid-base balance and ion-osmoregulatory plasticity in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) juveniles under complex scenarios of salinity variation, ocean acidification and high ammonia challenge. Aquatic Toxicology. Article (subscription required).

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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book