Reduced impact of ocean acidification on growth and swimming performance of newly hatched tropical sharks (Chiloscyllium plagiosum)

Sharks have been facing unprecedented pressure over the last decades, and ocean acidification may represent an additional threat, particularly during their most susceptible life stages. Hence, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of ocean acidification (control pCO2 ~ 400 μatm; high pCO2 ~ 900 μatm) on the growth, swimming performance and cholinergic system of juvenile white-spotted bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium plagiosum). After 45 days of exposure, we observed that high CO2 did not affect most of the end-points studied. However, somatic growth rate and the percentage of time that sharks spent swimming was significantly reduced under high CO2 conditions. Moreover, AChE activity decreased in two of the seven brain macroareas analyzed, the telencephalon and optic lobes. As this near-threatened shark species showed small sub-lethal effects to high CO2 levels, we argue that within a longer time-frame they can potentially reduce individual performance with cascading consequences to shark population dynamics.

Pegado M. R., Santos C., Couto A., Pinto E., Lopes A. R., Diniz M. & Rosa R., 2018. Reduced impact of ocean acidification on growth and swimming performance of newly hatched tropical sharks (Chiloscyllium plagiosum). Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 51 (6): 347-357. Article (subscription required).

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