Increasing anthropogenic carbon dioxide is predicted to cause declines in ocean pH and calcium carbonate saturation state over the coming centuries, making it potentially harder for marine calcifiers to build their shells and skeletons. One mechanism of resilience to ocean acidification is an organism’s ability to regulate pH and, thus, calcium carbonate saturation state, at its site of calcification. This mechanism has received detailed study in scleractinian corals but is relatively understudied in other taxonomic groups that are vulnerable to ocean acidification, such as bivalves. Here, the results of a 74-day controlled laboratory experiment investigating the impact of ocean acidification on the extrapallial fluid (EPF; the bivalve calcifying fluid) pH, calcification rate, and condition factor of the king scallop Pecten maximus at their average spring and summer temperatures (362 ppm/9.0°C, 454 ppm/12.3°C; 860 ppm/9.0°C, 946 ppm/12.3°C; 2,639 ppm/8.9°C, 2,750 ppm/12.1°C) are presented. Scallop EPF pH was lower than seawater pH in all treatments and declined with increasing pCO2 under the spring temperature (9°C) but was uncorrelated with pCO2 under the summer temperature (12°C). Furthermore, king scallop calcification rate and EPF pH were inversely correlated at 9°C and uncorrelated at 12°C. This inverse correlation between EPF pH and scallop calcification rate, combined with the observation that scallop EPF pH is consistently lower than seawater pH, suggests that pH regulation is not the sole mechanism by which scallops concentrate carbonate ions for calcification within their EPF. Calcification trends contrasted most other published studies on bivalves, increasing with ocean acidification under spring temperature and exhibiting no response to ocean acidification under summer temperature. Scallop condition factor exhibited no response to ocean acidification under spring temperature but increased with ocean acidification under summer temperature—exactly the opposite of their calcification response to ocean acidification. These results suggest that king scallops are relatively resilient to CO2-induced ocean acidification, but that their allocation of resources between tissue and shell production in response to this stressor varies seasonally.
Cameron L. P., Reymond C. E., Müller-Lundin F., Westfield I., Grabowski J. H., Westphal H. & Ries J. B., 2019. Effects of temperature and ocean acidification on the extrapallial fluid pH, calcification rate, and condition factor of the king scallop Pecten maximus. Journal of Shellfish Research 38 (3): 763-777. Article (subscription required).