Acid times in physiology: a systematic review of the effects of ocean acidification on calcifying invertebrates

The reduction in seawater pH from rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the oceans has been recognized as an important force shaping the future of marine ecosystems. Therefore, numerous studies have reported the effects of ocean acidification (OA) in different compartments of important animal groups, based on field and/or laboratory observations. Calcifying invertebrates have received considerable attention in recent years. In the present systematic review, we have summarized the physiological responses to OA in coral, echinoderm, mollusk, and crustacean species exposed to predicted ocean acidification conditions in the near future. The Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed databases were used for the literature search, and 75 articles were obtained based on the inclusion criteria. Six main physiological responses have been reported after exposure to low pH. Growth (21.6%), metabolism (20.8%), and acid-base balance (17.6%) were the most frequent among the phyla, while calcification and growth were the physiological responses most affected by OA (>40%). Studies show that the reduction of pH in the aquatic environment, in general, supports the maintenance of metabolic parameters in invertebrates, with redistribution of energy to biological functions, generating limitations to calcification, which can have severe consequences for the health and survival of these organisms. It should be noted that the OA results are variable, with inter and/or intraspecific differences. In summary, this systematic review offers important scientific evidence for establishing paradigms in the physiology of climate change in addition to gathering valuable information on the subject and future research perspectives.

Porto Martins Medeiros I. & Marques Souza M., in press. Acid times in physiology: a systematic review of the effects of ocean acidification on calcifying invertebrates. Environmental Research. Article (subscription required).

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