Aerobic performance of two tropical cephalopod species unaltered by prolonged exposure to projected future carbon dioxide levels

Squid and many other cephalopods live continuously on the threshold of their environmental oxygen limitations. If the abilities of squid to effectively take up oxygen are negatively affected by projected future carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in ways similar to those demonstrated in some fish and invertebrates, it could affect the success of squid in future oceans. While there is evidence that acute exposure to elevated CO2 has adverse effects on cephalopod respiratory performance, no studies have investigated this in an adult cephalopod after relatively prolonged exposure to elevated CO2 or determined any effects on aerobic scope. Here, we tested the effects of prolonged exposure (≥20% of lifespan) to elevated CO2 levels (~1000 μatm) on the routine and maximal oxygen uptake rates, aerobic scope and recovery time of two tropical cephalopod species, the two-toned pygmy squid, Idiosepius pygmaeus and the bigfin reef squid, Sepioteuthis lessoniana. Neither species exhibited evidence of altered aerobic performance after exposure to elevated CO2 when compared to individuals held at control conditions. The recovery time of I. pygmaeus under both control and elevated CO2 conditions was less than 1 hour, whereas S. lessoniana required approximately 8 hours to recover fully following maximal aerobic performance. This difference in recovery time may be due to the more sedentary behaviours of I. pygmaeus. The ability of these two cephalopod species to cope with prolonged exposure to elevated CO2 without detriment to their aerobic performance suggests some resilience to an increasingly high CO2 world.

Spady B. L., Nay T. J., Rummer J. L., Munday P. L. & Watson S.-A., 2019. Aerobic performance of two tropical cephalopod species unaltered by prolonged exposure to projected future carbon dioxide levels. Conservation Physiology 7(1): coz024. doi: 10.1093/conphys/coz024. Article.

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