Impact of climate change on the American lobster (Homarus americanus): Physiological responses to combined exposure of elevated temperature and pCO2

• Climate Change (2300 scenario) has a significant impact on the acid-base status in H. americanus.

• Climate Change causes retention of ammonia in hemolymph.

• Under Climate Change conditions hemolymph pCO2 does NOT exceed environmental pCO2.

• Climate Change causes increase in MO2 and ammonia excretion.

• Climate Change causes decrease in citrate synthase in tail muscle.

The physiological consequences of exposing marine organisms to predicted future ocean scenarios, i.e. simultaneous increase in temperature and pCO2, have only recently begun to be investigated. Adult American lobster (Homarus americanus) were exposed to either current (16 °C, 47 Pa pCO2, pH 8.10) or predicted year 2300 (20 °C, 948 Pa pCO2, pH 7.10) ocean parameters for 14–16 days prior to assessing physiological changes in their hemolymph parameters as well as whole animal ammonia excretion and resting metabolic rate. Acclimation of lobster simultaneously to elevated pCO2 and temperature induced a prolonged respiratory acidosis that was only partially compensated for via accumulation of extracellular HCO3– and ammonia. Furthermore, acclimated animals possessed significantly higher ammonia excretion and oxygen consumption rates suggesting that future ocean scenarios may increase basal energetic demands on H. americanus. Enzyme activity related to protein metabolism (glutamine dehydrogenase, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotransferase) in hepatopancreas and muscle tissue were unaltered in future ocean scenario exposed animals; however, muscular citrate synthase activity was reduced suggesting that, while protein catabolism may be unchanged, the net energetic output of muscle may be compromised in future scenarios. Overall, H. americanus acclimated to ocean conditions predicted for the year 2300 appear to be incapable of fully compensating against climate change-related acid-base challenges and experience an increase in metabolic waste excretion and oxygen consumption. Combining our study with past literature on H. americanus suggests that the whole lifecycle from larvae to adult stages is at risk of severe growth, survival and reproductive consequences due to climate change.

Klymasz-Swartz A. K., Allen G. J. P., Treberg J. R., Yoon G. R., Tripp A., Quijada-Rodriguez A. R. & Weihrauch D., in press. Impact of climate change on the American lobster (Homarus americanus): Physiological responses to combined exposure of elevated temperature and pCO2. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology. Article (subscription required).

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