Transgenerational effects decrease larval resilience to ocean acidification & warming but juvenile European sea bass could benefit from higher temperatures in the NE Atlantic

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ocean acidification (OA) and warming (OW) as well as the transgenerational effect of OA on larval and juvenile growth and metabolism of a large economically important fish species with a long generation time. Therefore we incubated European sea bass from Brittany (France) for two generations (>5 years in total) under current and predicted OA conditions (PCO2: 650 and 1700 µatm). In the F1 generation both OA condition were crossed with OW (temperature: 15-18°C and 20-23°C). We found that OA alone did not affect larval or juvenile growth and OW increased developmental time and growth rates, but OAW decreased larval size at metamorphosis. Larval routine metabolic rate (RMR) and juvenile standard metabolic rate (SMR) were significantly lower in cold compared to warm conditioned fish and also lower in F0 compared to F1 fish. We did not find any effect of OA on RMR or SMR. Juvenile PO2crit was not affected by OA, OW or OAW in both generations.

We discuss the potential underlying mechanisms resulting in beneficial effects of OW on F1 larval growth and RMR and in resilience of F0 and F1 larvae and juveniles to OA, but on the other hand resulting in vulnerability of F1, but not F0 larvae to OAW. With regard to the ecological perspective, we conclude that recruitment of larvae and early juveniles to nursery areas might decrease under OAW conditions but individuals reaching juvenile phase might benefit from increased performance at higher temperatures.

Summary statement We found that OA did not affect developmental time, growth, RMR and SMR, while OW increased these traits. OAW decreased larval size at metamorphosis. We discuss underlying mechanisms and the ecological perspective resulting from these results and conclude that recruitment to nursery areas might decrease under OAW conditions but individuals reaching juvenile phase might benefit from increased performance at higher temperatures in Atlantic waters.

Howald S., Moyano M., Crespel A., Cominassi L., Claireaux G., Peck M. A. & Mark F. C., 2021. Transgenerational effects decrease larval resilience to ocean acidification & warming but juvenile European sea bass could benefit from higher temperatures in the NE Atlantic. bioRxiv: 468704. doi: 10.1101/2021.11.15.468704. Article.


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