Evidences on alterations in skeleton composition and mineralization in a site-attached fish under naturally acidified conditions in a shallow CO2 vent

Highlights

  • CO2 vents provide natural laboratories to study the effects of multiple pressures (i.e., ocean acidification and metal contamination).
  • The demersal and highly territorial fish species Gobius bucchichi did not show skeletal malformations in the vent site.
  • Higher Ca/P in fish skeleton at the vent than at control pH sites suggests that skeleton maturation may be sped up in acidified oceans.

Abstract

Background

Ocean acidification may affect fish mineralized structures (i.e. otoliths and skeleton).

Methods

Here, we compared the elemental composition of muscle and skeleton and the mineral features of skeleton in the site-attached fish Gobius bucchichi naturally exposed to high pCO2 / low pH conditions in a shallow CO2 vent with fish of the same species exposed to normal pH.

Results

Overall, no skeleton malformations were found in both pH conditions, but among-site differences were found in the elemental composition. Interestingly, higher Ca/P values, inducing a moderate skeleton maturation, were found in fish exposed to acidified conditions than in controls.

Conclusion

Our findings suggest that ocean acidification may play a significant role in physiological processes related to mineralization, fostering skeleton pre-aging.

Mirasole A., Scopelliti G., Tramati C., Signa G., Mazzola A. & Vizzini S., in press. Evidences on alterations in skeleton composition and mineralization in a site-attached fish under naturally acidified conditions in a shallow CO2 vent. Science of the Total Environment. Article (subscription required).

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