Impact of short- and long-term exposure to elevated seawater PCO2 on metabolic rate and hypoxia tolerance in Octopus rubescens

Much of the CO2 released by human activity into the atmosphere is dissolving into the oceans, making them more acidic. In this study we provide the first data on the short- and long-term impacts of ocean acidification on octopuses. We measured routine metabolic rate (RMR) of Octopus rubescens at elevated CO2 pressure (Pco2) with no prior acclimation and 1 or 5 wk of acclimation and critical oxygen pressure (Pcrit) after 5 wk of acclimation. Our results show that with no prior acclimation, octopuses had significantly higher RMRs in 1,500-μatm Pco2 environments than octopuses in 700- or 360-μatm environments. However, after both 1 and 5 wk of acclimation there was no significant difference in RMRs between octopuses at differing Pco2, indicating that octopuses acclimated rapidly to elevated Pco2. In octopuses acclimated for 5 wk at 1,500 μatm Pco2, we observed impaired hypoxia tolerance, as demonstrated by a significantly higher Pcrit than those acclimated to 700 μatm Pco2. Our findings suggest that O. rubescens experiences short-term stress in elevated Pco2 but is able to acclimate over time. However, while this species may be able to acclimate to near-term ocean acidification, compounding environmental effects of acidification and hypoxia may present a physiological challenge for this species.

Onthank K. L., Trueblood L. A., Schrock-Duff T. & Kore L. G., 2020. Impact of short- and long-term exposure to elevated seawater PCO2 on metabolic rate and hypoxia tolerance in Octopus rubescens. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 94: 1-11. Article.

1 Response to “Impact of short- and long-term exposure to elevated seawater PCO2 on metabolic rate and hypoxia tolerance in Octopus rubescens”


  1. 1 Therese S. 14 January 2021 at 04:59

    It occurs to me that maybe this isn’t the first time Octopi have experienced too much CO2 in their water. Could they or their recent ancestors have survived the last climate change event? (Pleiostene or whatever it was?) If so, might this point to other ocean species that can also adapt in this manner?


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

  • 1,440,542 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book

Archives