The combined effects of climate change stressors and predatory cues on a mussel species


  • We measured and compared traits at sub-organismal and organismal level.
  • Temperature, pH and predator cues affected the mussels’ traits.
  • Largest mussels were found at 15 °C (control) in presence of predators.
  • Crab cues increased mussel’s wet mass and calcification rate.


In order to make adequate projections on the consequences of climate change stressors on marine organisms, it is important to know how impacts of these stressors are affected by the presence of other species. Here we assessed the direct effects of ocean warming (OW) and acidification (OA) along with non-consumptive effects (NCEs) of a predatory crab and/or a predatory snail on the habitat-forming mussel Perumytilus purpuratus. Mussels were exposed for 10–14 weeks to contrasting pCO2 (500 and 1400 μatm) and temperature (15 and 20 °C) levels, in the presence/absence of cues from one or two predator species. We compared mussel traits at sub-organismal (nutritional status, metabolic capacity-ATP production-, cell stress condition via HSP70 expression) and organismal (survival, oxygen consumption, growth, byssus biogenesis, clearance rates, aggregation) levels. OA increased the mussels’ oxygen consumption; and OA combined with OW increased ATP demand and the use of carbohydrate reserves. Mussels at present-day pCO2 levels had the highest protein content. Under OW the predatory snail cues induced the highest cell stress condition on the mussels. Temperature, predator cues and the interaction between them affected mussel growth. Mussels grew larger at the control temperature (15 °C) when crab and snail cues were present. Mussel wet mass and calcification were affected by predator cues; with highest values recorded in crab cue presence (isolated or combined with snail cues). In the absence of predator cues in the trails, byssus biogenesis was affected by OA, OW and the OA × OW and OA × predator cues interactions. At present-day pCO2 levels, more byssus was recorded with snail than with crab cues. Clearance rates were affected by temperature, pCO2 and the interaction between them. The investigated stressors had no effects on mussel aggregation. We conclude that OA, OW and the NCEs may lead to neutral, positive or negative consequences for mussels.

Manríquez P. H., Jara M. E., González C. P., Seguel M. E., Domenici P., Watson S.-A., Anguita C., Duarte C. & Brokordt K., 2021. The combined effects of climate change stressors and predatory cues on a mussel species. Science of The Total Environment 776: 145916. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145916. Article.

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