Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on the hematological parameters of a temperate catshark

Atmospheric CO2 levels have been rising due to an increase in anthropic activities and its implications over marine ecosystems are unprecedented. The present study focused on the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on key hematological parameters of the juvenile small‐spotted catsharks (Scyliorhinus canicula). Eggs were reared throughout the entire embryogenesis (~4 months) plus 5 additional months, in two experimental treatments (control: pCO2 ~ 400 μatm; and high CO2: pCO2 ~ 900 μatm, Δ −0.3 pH units). After blood collection, the following hematological parameters were evaluated: (a) normal blood cells count (erythrocytes, leukocytes, and thrombocytes), (b) presence of erythrocytes with nuclear abnormalities, and (c) erythrocyte nucleus to cytoplasmic ratio. Concomitantly, to determine the cardiac and hematopoietic conditions, the spleen and heart to body ratios were also assessed. The present findings indicate that the measured variables may not be affected by elevated pCO2 in this temperate species, as no significant differences were observed between treatments across all the endpoints tested. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning a decreasing trend observed in a number of thrombocytes associated with OA, which should foster further investigation, regarding other aspects of their coagulation response. Along with OA, other stressors are expected to impact marine life, such as warming and hypoxia. Thus, future research should aim to investigate the cumulative effect of these stressors on hematological parameters in sharks.

Pegado M. R., Santos C. P., Pimentel M., Cyrne R., Paulo M., Maulvaut A. L., Raffoul D., Diniz M., Bispo R. & Rosa R., 2020. Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on the hematological parameters of a temperate catshark. Journal of Experimental Zoology A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology 333 (2): 126-132. Article (subscription required).

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