Effects of seawater acidification on early development of clam Cyclina sinensis

Anthropogenic emission of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has led to a rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Increasing atmospheric CO2 can reduce seawater pH and carbonate ions, which may adversely affect the survival of the larvae of calcareous animals. Cyclina sinensis is a commercially and ecologically important species in several Asian countries. Living in coast shallow waters, this species has experienced the coastal environmental changes frequently throughout its life cycle. In this study, we simulated possible future seawater pH values including 8.2, 7.8 and 7.4 and examined the effects of ocean acidification on the early development of C. sinensis. Clam embryos were incubated for 48 h (2 d) in control and high-CO2 seawater to compare embryogenesis, larval growth and swimming behavior. Fertilization rate was quite sensitive to pH, and moderate acidification could induce a significant decrease in fertilization rate. However, only extreme acidification could bring significant negative effect to hatching rate, body size, and average path velocity of trochophora. Moreover, with seawater acidification, C. sinensis needs much more time to reach the same developmental stage, which increases the risk of larva survival. Together with recent studies demonstrating negative impacts of high CO2 on fertilization and larva swimming behavior, the results imply a future decrease of C. sinensis populations in oceans if its acclimation to the predicted environmental alteration does not occur.

Sui Y., Zhou K., Lai Q., Yao Z. & Gao P., 2019. Effects of seawater acidification on early development of clam Cyclina sinensis. Journal of Ocean University of China 18 (4): 913-918. Article (subscription required).

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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