Ocean acidification compromises energy management in Sparus aurata (Pisces: Teleostei)

Highlights

• Gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) increased catabolic routes to face long-term hypercapnia.

• Glycogen stored in liver and white muscle is consumed at high environmental pCO2.

• Amino acids are relevant energy sources at higher pCO2 environments.

• Long-term hypercapnia may lead to delayed growth rates in teleost fish.

Abstract

The effects of ocean acidification mediated by an increase in water pCO2 levels on marine organisms are currently under debate. Elevated CO2 concentrations in the seawater induce several physiological responses in teleost fish, including acid-base imbalances and osmoregulatory changes. However, the consequences of CO2 levels enhancement on energy metabolism are mostly unknown. Here we show that 5 weeks of exposure to hypercapnia (950 and 1800 μatm CO2) altered intermediary metabolism of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) compared to fish acclimated to current ocean values (440 μatm CO2). We found that seabream compromises its physiological acid-base balance with increasing water CO2 levels and the subsequent acidification. Intestinal regions (anterior, mid, and rectum) engaged in maintaining this balance are thus altered, as seen for Na+/K+-ATPase and the vacuolar-type H+-ATPase activities. Moreover, liver and muscle counteracted these effects by increasing catabolic routes e.g., glycogenolysis, glycolysis, amino acid turnover, and lipid catabolism, and plasma energy metabolites were altered. Our results demonstrate how a relatively short period of 5 weeks of water hypercapnia is likely to disrupt the acid-base balance, osmoregulatory capacity and intermediary metabolism in S. aurata. However, long-term studies are necessary to fully understand the consequences of ocean acidification on growth and other energy-demanding activities, such as reproduction.

Ruiz-Jarabo I., Gregório S. F., Alves A., Mancera J. M. & Fuentes J., in press. Ocean acidification compromises energy management in Sparus aurata (Pisces: Teleostei). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology. Article (subscription required).


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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