Assessing the impact of static and fluctuating ocean acidification on the behavior of Amphiprion percula

Coral reef organisms are exposed to both an increasing magnitude of pCO2, and natural fluctuations on a diel scale. For coral reef fishes, one of the most profound effects of ocean acidification is the impact on ecologically important behaviors. Previous behavioral research has primarily been conducted under static pCO2 conditions and have recently come under criticism. Recent studies have provided evidence that the negative impacts on behavior may be reduced under more environmentally realistic, fluctuating conditions. We investigated the impact of both present and future day, static (500 and 1000 μatm) and diel fluctuating (500 ± 200 and 1000 ± 200 μatm) pCO2 on the lateralization and chemosensory behavior of juvenile anemonefish, Amphiprion percula. Our static experimental comparisons support previous findings that under elevated pCO2, fish become un-lateralized and lose the ability to discriminate olfactory cues. Diel-fluctuating pCO2 may aid in mitigating the severity of some behavioral abnormalities such as the chemosensory response, where a preference for predator cues was significantly reduced under a future diel-fluctuating pCO2 regime. This research aids in ground truthing earlier findings and contributes to our growing knowledge of the role of fluctuating conditions.

Vaughan M. A. & Dixson D. L., in review. Assessing the impact of static and fluctuating ocean acidification on the behavior of Amphiprion percula. bioRxiv. Article.


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