Ocean acidification causes variable trait shifts in a coral species

High pCO2 habitats and their populations provide an unparalleled opportunity to assess how species may survive under future ocean acidification conditions, and help to reveal the traits that confer tolerance. Here we utilize a unique CO2 vent system to study the effects of exposure to elevated pCO2 on trait‐shifts observed throughout natural populations of Astroides calycularis, an azooxanthellate scleractinian coral endemic to the Mediterranean. Unexpected shifts in skeletal and growth patterns were found. Colonies shifted to a skeletal phenotype characterized by encrusting morphology, smaller size, reduced coenosarc tissue, fewer polyps, and less porous and denser skeletons at low pH. Interestingly, while individual polyps calcified more and extended faster at low pH, whole colonies found at low pH site calcified and extended their skeleton at the same rate as did those at ambient pH sites. Transcriptomic data revealed strong genetic differentiation among local populations of this warm water species whose distribution range is currently expanding northward. We found excess differentiation in the CO2 vent population for genes central to calcification, including genes for calcium management (calmodulin, calcium‐binding proteins), pH regulation (V‐type proton ATPase), and inorganic carbon regulation (carbonic anhydrase). Combined, our results demonstrate how coral populations can persist in high pCO2 environments, making this system a powerful candidate for investigating acclimatization and local adaptation of organisms to global environmental change.

Teixidó N., Caroselli E., Alliouane S., Ceccarelli C., Comeau S., Gattuso J.‐P., Fici P., Micheli F., Mirasole A., Monismith S. G., Munari M., Palumbi S. R., Sheets E., Urbini L., De Vittor C., Goffredo S. & Gambi M. C., in press. Ocean acidification causes variable trait shifts in a coral species. Global Change Biology. Article (subscription required).

0 Responses to “Ocean acidification causes variable trait shifts in a coral species”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,389,383 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book

Archives