• Neither pH nor transgeneration elicited lipid peroxidation.
• Antioxidant responses occurred in CO2-exposed mussels.
• Transgenerational effects alleviated oxidative stress responses.
• Transgenerational immunity may occur rapidly in an acidifying ocean.
Ocean acidification and marine biofouling, which may interact in the future, pose two major threats to global coastal ecosystems. Yet, the fate of highly invasive fouling species in a rapidly acidifying ocean remains poorly understood, due to lack of information on multigenerational consequences at different levels of biological organization. Here, we investigated antioxidant responses of the mussel, Musculista senhousia, a swiftly spreading invasive fouling species in global coastal waters, following transgenerational exposure to elevated pCO2. In the face of seawater acidification, M. senhousia without a prior history of transgenerational exposure to elevated pCO2 showed resistance to lipid peroxidation, but significantly increased activities of antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), indicated oxidative stress responses. However, enhanced transgenerational immunity occurred, as exemplified by observations that mussels originating from parents exposed to elevated pCO2 exhibited significantly lower activities of SOD, CAT and GPx in comparison to those spawn from parents exposed to ambient pCO2. Rapid transgenerational acclimation of M. senhousia in terms of reduced oxidative stress responses can likely be linked to the enhanced capacity of maintaining acid-base homeostasis previously demonstrated. These findings provide the first evidence of transgenerational plasticity at the biochemical level in highly invasive fouling bivalve species, and represent a step forward in understanding how they respond and acclimate in an acidifying ocean.
Zhao L., Liu L., Liu B., Liang J., Lu Y. & Yang F., in press. Antioxidant responses to seawater acidification in an invasive fouling mussel are alleviated by transgenerational acclimation. Aquatic Toxicology. Article (subscription required).