Morphological, physiological and behavioral responses of an intertidal snail, Acanthina monodon (Pallas), to projected ocean acidification and cooling water conditions in upwelling ecosystems


  • Ocean acidification (OA) and ocean cooling (OC) will influence upwelling systems.
  • The snail Acanthina monodon growth, feeding and calcification rates increased with OC.
  • Metabolic rates also increased with OA but only under OC conditions.
  • Self-righting was unaltered, suggesting a complex repertoire of responses to OA and OC.


Ocean acidification (OA) is expected to rise towards the end of the 21st century altering the life history traits in marine organisms. Upwelling systems will not escape OA, but unlike other areas of the ocean, cooling effects are expected to intensify in these systems. Regardless, studies evaluating the combined effects of OA and cooling remain scarce. We addressed this gap using a mesocosm system, where we exposed juveniles of the intertidal muricid snail Acanthina monodon to current and projected pCO2 (500 vs. 1500 ppm) and temperature (15 vs. 10 °C) from the southeast Pacific upwelling system. After 9 weeks of experimental exposure to those conditions, we conducted three estimations of growth (wet weight, shell length and shell peristomal length), in addition to measuring calcification, metabolic and feeding rates and the ability of these organisms to return to the normal upright position after being overturned (self-righting). Growth, feeding and calcification rates increased in projected cooling conditions (10 °C) but were unaffected by pCO2 or the interaction between pCO2 and temperature. Instead, metabolic rates were driven by pCO2, but a significant interaction with temperature suggests that in cooler conditions, metabolic rates will increase when associated with high pCO2 levels. Snail self-righting times were not affected across treatments. These results suggest that colder temperatures projected for this area would drive this species growth, feeding and calcification, and consequently, some of its population biology and productivity. However, the snails may need to compensate for the increase in metabolic rates under the effects of ocean acidification. Although A. monodon ability to adjust to individual or combined stressors will likely account for some of the changes described here, our results point to a complex dynamic to take place in intertidal habitats associated with upwelling systems.

Duarte C., Jahnsen-Guzmán N., Quijón P. A., Manríquez P. H., Lardies M. A., Fernández C., Reyes M., Zapata J., García-Huidobro M. R. & Lagos N. A., 2021. Morphological, physiological and behavioral responses of an intertidal snail, Acanthina monodon (Pallas), to projected ocean acidification and cooling water conditions in upwelling ecosystems. Environmental Pollution: 118481. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.118481. Article (subscription required).

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