Repeat exposure to hypercapnic seawater modifies growth and oxidative status in a tolerant burrowing clam

Whereas low levels of thermal stress, irradiance, and dietary restriction can have beneficial effects for many taxa, stress acclimation remains understudied in marine invertebrates, despite being threatened by climate change stressors such as ocean acidification. To test for life-stage and stress-intensity dependence in eliciting enhanced tolerance under subsequent stress encounters, we initially conditioned pediveliger Pacific geoduck (Panopea generosa) larvae to (i) ambient and moderately elevated pCO2 (920 µatm and 2800 µatm, respectively) for 110 days, (ii) secondarily applied a 7-day exposure to ambient, moderate, and severely elevated pCO2 (750 µatm, 2800 µatm, and 4900 µatm, respectively), followed by 7 days in ambient conditions, and (iii) implemented a 7-day third exposure to ambient (970 µatm) and moderate pCO2 (3000 µatm). Initial conditioning to moderate pCO2 stress followed by second and third exposure to severe and moderate pCO2 stress increased respiration rate, organic biomass, and shell size suggesting a stress-intensity-dependent effect on energetics. Additionally, stress-acclimated clams had lower antioxidant capacity compared to clams under ambient conditions, supporting the hypothesis that stress over postlarval-to-juvenile development affects oxidative status later in life. Time series and stress intensity-specific approaches can reveal life-stages and magnitudes of exposure, respectively, that may elicit beneficial phenotypic variation.

Gurr S. J., Trigg S. A., Vadopalas B., Roberts S. B. & Putnam H. M., 2021. Repeat exposure to hypercapnic seawater modifies growth and oxidative status in a tolerant burrowing clam. Journal of Experimental Biology: jeb.233932. doi: 10.1242/jeb.233932. Article (subscription required).

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