Impacts of elevated pCO2 on Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis): metal bioaccumulation, physiological and cellular parameters


• Elevated pCO2 did not impact 110mAg bioconcentration in juvenile and adult mussels.

• Seawater acidification increased 109Cd bioconcentration in juvenile mussels but not in adults.

• Eighty-two days of elevated pCO2 decreased feeding rate and haemocyte survival.

• Lysosomal membrane stability in mussels remained unaffected by elevated pCO2.

• Circulating cell-free protein and nucleic acids (ccf-DNA, ccf-RNA, ccf-miRNA) levels in mussels were not impacted by seawater acidification.


Ocean acidification alters physiology, acid-base balance and metabolic activity in marine animals. Accordingly, near future elevated pCO2 conditions could be expected to influence the bioaccumulation of metals, feeding rate and immune parameters in marine mussels. To better understand such impairments, a series of laboratory-controlled experiment was conducted by using a model marine mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. The mussels were exposed to three pH conditions according to the projected CO2 emissions in the near future (one ambient: 8.10 and two reduced: 7.80 and 7.50). At first, the bioconcentration of Ag and Cd was studied in both juvenile (2.5 cm) and adult (5.1 cm) mussels by using a highly sensitive radiotracer method (110mAg and 109Cd). The uptake and depuration kinetics were followed 21 and 30 days, respectively. The biokinetic experiments demonstrated that the effect of ocean acidification on bioconcentration was metal-specific and size-specific. The uptake, depuration and tissue distribution of 110mAg were not affected by elevated pCO2 in both juvenile and adult mussels, whereas 109Cd uptake significantly increased with decreasing pH in juveniles but not in adults. Regardless of pH, 110mAg accumulated more efficiently in juvenile mussels than adult mussels. After executing the biokinetic experiment, the perturbation was sustained by using the same mussels and the same experimental set-up, which enabled us to determine filtration rate, haemocyte viability, lysosomal membrane stability, circulating cell-free nucleic acids (ccf-NAs) and protein (ccf-protein) levels. The filtration rate and haemocyte viability gradually decreased by increasing the pCO2 level, whereas the lysosomal membrane stability, ccf-NAs, and ccf-protein levels remained unchanged in the mussels exposed to elevated pCO2 condition for eighty-two days. Considering these, this study suggests that acidified seawater partially shift metal bioaccumulation, physiological and cellular parameters in the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis.

Sezer N., Kılıç Ö., Sıkdokur E., Çayır A. & Belivermiş M., in press. Impacts of elevated pCO2 on Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis): metal bioaccumulation, physiological and cellular parameters. Marine Environmental Research. Article (subscription required).

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