Ocean acidification does not affect fish ectoparasite survival

The juveniles of gnathiid isopods are one of the most common fish ectoparasites in marine habitats and cause deleterious effects on fish by feeding on host blood and lymph. Reef fishes tend to engage in cooperative interactions with cleaning organisms to reduce their ectoparasite load. Ocean acidification (OA) pose multiple threats to marine life. Recently, OA was found to disrupt cleaner fish behaviour in mutualistic cleaning interactions. However, the potential effects of ocean acidification on this common ectoparasite remains unknown. Here, we test if exposure to an acidification scenario predicted by IPCC to the end of the century (RCP 8.5 – 980 μatm pCO2) affects gnathiid survival. Our results show that ocean acidification did not have any effects on gnathiid survival rate during all three juvenile life stages. Thus, we advocate that the need for cleaning interactions will persist in potentially acidified coral reefs. Nevertheless, to better understand gnathiid resilience to ocean acidification, future studies are needed to evaluate ocean acidification impacts on gnathiid reproduction and physiology as well as host-parasite interactions.

Paula J. R., Otjacques E., Hildebrandt C., Grutter A. S. & Rosa R., 2020. Ocean acidification does not affect fish ectoparasite survival. Oceans 1 (1): 27-33. Article.

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