Sperm motility of oysters from distinct populations differs in response to ocean acidification and freshening

Species’ responses to climate change will reflect variability in the effects of physiological selection that future conditions impose. Here, we considered the effects of ocean acidification (increases in pCO2; 606, 925, 1250 µatm) and freshening (reductions in salinity; 33, 23, 13 PSU) on sperm motility in oysters (Crassostrea gigas) from two populations (one recently invaded, one established for 60+ years). Freshening reduced sperm motility in the established population, but this was offset by a positive effect of acidification. Freshening also reduced sperm motility in the recently invaded population, but acidification had no effect. Response direction, strength, and variance differed among individuals within each population. For the established population, freshening increased variance in sperm motility, and exposure to both acidification and freshening modified the performance rank of males (i.e. rank motility of sperm). In contrast, for the recently invaded population, freshening caused a smaller change in variance, and male performance rank was broadly consistent across treatments. That inter-population differences in response may be related to environmental history (recently invaded, or established), indicates this could influence scope for selection and adaptation. These results highlight the need to consider variation within and among population responses to forecast effects of multiple environmental change drivers.

Falkenberg L. J., Styan C. A. & Havenhand J. N., 2019. Sperm motility of oysters from distinct populations differs in response to ocean acidification and freshening. Scientific Reports 9: 7970. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-44321-0. Article.

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