Implications of salinity and acidic environments on fitness and oxidative stress parameters in early developing seahorses Hippocampus reidi

Simple Summary

The main aim of the present study was to assess the effects of acidification (pH 6.5 vs. pH 8.0) under two salinity conditions (brackish water—BW vs. seawater—SW) on the development and fitness (oxidative stress) of early developing seahorses (Hippocampus reidi). The growth of juveniles reared in BW was impaired at pH 6.5, and the levels of superoxide dismutase and DT-diaphorase, as well as the oxidative stress index, increased compared to SW juveniles. However, survival and growth at pH 6.5 decreased in the former. These results suggest higher overall performance and optimal fitness in juveniles reared in seawater under acidic conditions (pH = 6.5).

Abstract

Water acidification affects aquatic species, both in natural environmental conditions and in ex situ rearing production systems. The chronic effects of acidic conditions (pH 6.5 vs. pH 8.0) in seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) are not well known, especially when coupled with salinity interaction. This study investigated the implications of pH on the growth and oxidative stress in the seahorse Hippocampus reidi (Ginsburg, 1933), one of the most important seahorse species in the ornamental trade. Two trials were carried out in juveniles (0–21 and 21–50 DAR—days after the male’s pouch release) reared under acid (6.5) and control (8.0) pH, both in brackish water (BW—salinity 11) and seawater (SW—salinity 33). In the first trial (0–21 DAR), there was no effect of pH on the growth of seahorses reared in SW, but the survival rate was higher for juveniles raised in SW at pH 6.5. However, the growth and survival of juveniles reared in BW were impaired at pH 6.5. Compared to SW conditions, the levels of superoxide dismutase and DT-diaphorase, as well as the oxidative stress index, increased for juveniles reared in BW. In the second trial, seahorse juveniles were reared in SW at pH 8.0, and subsequently kept for four weeks (from 21 to 50 DAR) at pH 6.5 and 8.0. The final survival rates and condition index were similar in both treatments. However, the growth under acidic conditions was higher than at pH 8.0. In conclusion, this study highlights that survival, growth, and oxidative status condition was enhanced in seahorse juveniles reared in SW under acidic conditions (pH = 6.5). The concurrent conditions of acidic pH (6.5) and BW should be avoided due to harmful effects on the fitness and development of seahorse juveniles.

Carneiro M. D. D., García-Mesa S., Sampaio L. A. & Planas M., 2022. Implications of salinity and acidic environments on fitness and oxidative stress parameters in early developing seahorses Hippocampus reidiAnimals 12(22): 3227. doi: 10.3390/ani12223227. Article.


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