Acid-base adjustments and first evidence of denticle corrosion caused by ocean acidification conditions in a demersal shark species

Global ocean acidification is expected to chronically lower the pH to 7.3 (>2200 µatm seawater pCO2) by the year 2300. Acute hypercapnia already occurs along the South African west and south coasts due to upwelling- and low-oxygen events, with increasing frequency. In the present project we investigated the impact of hypercapnia on the endemic demersal shark species Haploblepharus edwardsii. Specifically, we experimentally analysed acid-base regulation during acute and chronic hypercapnia, the effects of chronic hypercapnia on growth rates and on denticle structure- and composition. While H. edwardsii are physiologically well adapted to acute and chronic hypercapnia, we observed, for the first time, denticle corrosion as a result of chronic exposure. We conclude that denticle corrosion could increase denticle turnover and compromise hydrodynamics and skin protection.

Dziergwa J., Singh S., Bridges C. R., Kerwath S. E., Enax J. & Auerswald L., 2019. Acid-base adjustments and first evidence of denticle corrosion caused by ocean acidification conditions in a demersal shark species. Scientific Reports 9: 18668. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54795-7. Article.

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