In the past decades, the impacts of ocean acidification (OA) on marine animals have gained much attention. To date, numerous works in the literature have shown that OA can affect a variety of biological processes of marine animals, and our knowledge about its effects on marine organisms is mainly focused on the following aspects: (1) fertilization and early development; (2) biomineralization, metabolism, and growth; and (3) immunity and behaviors. However, there are still some limitations that currently exist in research on OA, which include (1) performing experiments with “constant acidification” rather than natural pH fluctuations that may not fully reflect their future true living conditions; (2) using pCO2 levels that were predicted to be reached in a hundred years in the future for experiments with relatively short exposure times, thus overlooking marine organisms’ potential for genetic adaptation or acclimation to the acidified seawater; (3) large amounts of experiments examining OA’s physiological impacts while leaving the potential affecting mechanisms largely unstudied; and (4) a lack of experiments investigating indirect effects of OA on marine organisms and the whole ecosystem. After providing a summary of the current knowledge of OA’s impacts on marine animals, this review aims to highlight potential directions for future studies.
The ocean is undergoing warming and acidification. Thermal tolerance is affected both by evolutionary adaptation and developmental plasticity. Yet, thermal tolerance in animals adapted to simultaneous warming and acidification is unknown. We experimentally evolved the ubiquitous copepod Acartia tonsa to future combined ocean warming and acidification conditions (OWA approx. 22°C, 2000 µatm CO2) and then compared its thermal tolerance relative to ambient conditions (AM approx. 18°C, 400 µatm CO2). The OWA and AM treatments were reciprocally transplanted after 65 generations to assess effects of developmental conditions on thermal tolerance and potential costs of adaptation. Treatments transplanted from OWA to AM conditions were assessed at the F1 and F9 generations following transplant. Adaptation to warming and acidification, paradoxically, reduces both thermal tolerance and phenotypic plasticity. These costs of adaptation to combined warming and acidification may limit future population resilience.
Prior exposure to variable environmental conditions is predicted to influence the resilience of marine organisms to global change. We conducted complementary 4-month field and laboratory experiments to understand how a dynamic, and sometimes extreme, environment influences growth rates of a tropical reef-building crustose coralline alga and its responses to ocean acidification (OA). Using a reciprocal transplant design, we quantified calcification rates of the Caribbean coralline Lithophyllum sp. at sites with a history of either extreme or moderate oxygen, temperature, and pH regimes. Calcification rates of in situ corallines at the extreme site were 90% lower than those at the moderate site, regardless of origin. Negative effects of corallines originating from the extreme site persisted even after transplanting to more optimal conditions for 20 weeks. In the laboratory, we tested the separate and combined effects of stress and variability by exposing corallines from the same sites to either ambient (Amb: pH 8.04) or acidified (OA: pH 7.70) stable conditions or variable (Var: pH 7.80-8.10) or acidified variable (OA-Var: pH 7.45-7.75) conditions. There was a negative effect of all pH treatments on Lithophyllum sp. calcification rates relative to the control, with lower calcification rates in corallines from the extreme site than from the moderate site in each treatment, indicative of a legacy effect of site origin on subsequent response to laboratory treatment. Our study provides ecologically relevant context to understanding the nuanced effects of OA on crustose coralline algae, and illustrates how local environmental regimes may influence the effects of global change.
Coccolithophores are unicellular phytoplanktonic organisms characterized by a covering of calcite plates, the coccoliths, which are produced intracellularly. These calcifiers, as one of the main planktonic functional groups, play an important role in the inorganic carbon cycle and possibly as ballast that sinks organic carbon to the deep-sea. Most efforts to understanding coccolithophore response to ocean acidification (OA) –or the raise in atmospheric CO2 reduces ocean pH and saturation states (Ω) of CaCO3– have been through lab experiments, mostly using a small set of strains of the cosmopolitan, easily cultivated species Emiliania huxleyi. This species is especially interesting because it is young (~ 291,000 years) and has adapted to a wide range of marine environments. However, it is not the only coccolithophore and even within that species there is a lot of phenotypic and genetic diversity and diverse responses to OA in the lab. Despite the efforts made it is unclear how the physiological effects under controlled conditions translate to community-level responses in the field. This thesis aimed to contribute to understanding this issue by studying the distribution, composition and realized niches of coccolithophore assemblages and E. huxleyi morphotypes in contrasting pCO2/pH/Ωcalcite environments of the Eastern South Pacific, and to evaluate the responses of different E. huxleyi23 morphotypes to targeted pCO2/pH levels set in the lab. For this, the coccolithophores were surveyed in a coastal-oceanic section, mesotrophic waters, upwelling systems, and fjords-channels of Patagonia. From a total of 40 species, E. huxleyi was the most prevalent (30-100 % relative abundance). Within this taxon, several morphotypes has been described as stable in culture and genetically differentiated (e.g., the A and R morphotypes). The moderately-calcified A morphotype dominated the E. huxleyi populations being only surpassed by the R hyper-calcified morphotype in upwelling systems with high pCO2/low pH. This abrupt shift in the composition of E. huxleyi populations suggested that these coastal environments hold genetic reservoirs for their adaptation to OA. Therefore, the hypothesis was tested that these forms are adapted to resist high pCO2/low pH conditions. Unexpectedly, the morphotypes from the Eastern South Pacific were not more sensitive than the R hyper-calcified strains from neighboring high pCO2/low pH waters (lowering growth rates and PIC/POC ratios). On the other hand, realized-niche analysis showed that the A morphotype has a broader niche that is more tolerant to environmental-change (i.e., generalist) than the R morphotype’s niche, specialized to high pCO2/low pH waters. The lack of evidence for local adaptation to high pCO2/low pH conditions in E. huxleyi, might be explained by a narrow unimodal niche response to Ωcalcite revealed by niche analysis that was not tested experimentally. Alternatively, the R hyper-calcified morphotype might be selected by an unidentified condition particular to the Eastern South Pacific that correlates with temperature, salinity, and Ωcalcite of its realized-niche. Overall, despite their rapid turnover and large population sizes, oceanic planktonic microorganisms do not necessarily exhibit adaptations to high-pCO2 upwelled waters, and this ubiquitous coccolithophore may be near the limit of its capacity to adapt to ongoing OA.
Prior to fertilization, mothers provision their oocytes with mRNA that regulates the early stages of development and may additionally include transcripts for proteins that support embryonic stress response early on. At some point during embryogenesis, however, these maternal transcripts are degraded as zygotic transcription activates and intensifies during a phenomenon known as the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT). Some evidence suggests that as the MZT progresses, and the effects of maternal transcripts are waning while the zygotic expression is being established, offspring of marine broadcast spawners become more vulnerable to environmental perturbations. In light of escalating threats to marine broadcast spawners, it is critical to understand their reproduction and development, which are essential processes for species resilience by repopulating and replenishing existing populations. Reef building corals, in particular, are under threat from multiple stressors at the local and global scales. Mass mortality has occurred in recent years due to a series of marine heatwaves. In addition, there is chronic stress occurring in the form of ocean acidification, or the decline in pH in surface waters due to the uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide of anthropogenic origin. Here, we characterize the function of maternal mRNAs, the timeline of the MZT, and sensitivity of gene expression to ocean acidification (OA) in the reef- building coral, Montipora capitata to investigate role of the MZT in embryonic stress response in reef-building corals.
Rapid evolution may provide a buffer against extinction risk for some species threatened by climate change; however, the capacity to evolve rapidly enough to keep pace with changing environments is unknown for most taxa. The ecosystem-level consequences of climate adaptation are likely to be the largest in marine ecosystems, where short-lived phytoplankton with large effective population sizes make up the bulk of primary production. However, there are substantial challenges to predicting climate-driven evolution in marine systems, including multiple simultaneous axes of change and considerable heterogeneity in rates of change, as well as the biphasic life cycles of many marine metazoans, which expose different life stages to disparate sources of selection. A critical tool for addressing these challenges is experimental evolution, where populations of organisms are directly exposed to controlled sources of selection to test evolutionary responses. We review the use of experimental evolution to test the capacity to adapt to climate change stressors in marine species. The application of experimental evolution in this context has grown dramatically in the past decade, shedding light on the capacity for evolution, associated trade-offs, and the genetic architecture of stress-tolerance traits. Our goal is to highlight the utility of this approach for investigating potential responses to climate change and point a way forward for future studies.
There is a need to understand the responses of marine molluscs in this era of rapid climate change. Transgenerational plasticity that results in resilient offspring provides a mechanism for rapid acclimation of marine organisms to climate change. This study tested the hypothesis that adult parental exposure to elevated pCO2 and warming will have transgenerational benefits for offspring in the oysters Saccostrea glomerata and Crassostrea gigas. Adult S. glomerata and C. gigas were exposed to orthogonal treatments of ambient and elevated pCO2, and ambient and elevated temperature for 8 weeks. Gametes were collected and fertilized, larvae were then reared for 9 days under ambient and elevated pCO2. Egg lipidome and larval morphology and lipidome were measured. Parental exposure to warming and elevated pCO2 led to limited beneficial transgenerational responses for eggs and larvae of S. glomerata and C. gigas. Overall, larvae of S. glomerata were more sensitive than C. gigas, and both species had some capacity for transgenerational plasticity. This study supports the idea that transgenerational plasticity acts as an acclimatory mechanism for marine organisms to cope with the stress of climate change, but there are limitations, and it may not be a panacea or act equally in different species.
Globally, kelp forests are threatened by multiple stressors, including increasing grazing by sea urchins. With coastal upwelling predicted to increase in intensity and duration in the future, understanding whether kelp forest and urchin barren urchins are differentially affected by upwelling-related stressors will give insight into how future conditions may affect the transition between kelp forests and barrens. We assessed how current and future-predicted changes in the duration and magnitude of upwelling-associated stressors (low pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature) affected the performance of purple sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) sourced from rapidly-declining bull kelp (Nereocystis leutkeana) forests and nearby barrens and maintained on habitat-specific diets. Kelp forest urchins were of superior condition to barrens urchins, with ~ 6–9 times more gonad per body mass. Grazing and condition in kelp forest urchins were more negatively affected by distant-future and extreme upwelling conditions, whereas grazing and survival in urchins from barrens were sensitive to both current-day and all future-predicted upwelling, and to increases in acidity, hypoxia, and temperature regardless of upwelling. We conclude that urchin barren urchins are more susceptible to increases in the magnitude and duration of upwelling-related stressors than kelp forest urchins. These findings have important implications for urchin population dynamics and their interaction with kelp.
Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are driving rapid changes in ocean conditions. Shallow-water coral reefs are experiencing the brunt of these changes, including intensifying marine heatwaves (MHWs) and rapid ocean acidification (OA). Consequently, coral reefs are in broad-scale decline, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. Ensuring survival of coral reefs in the 21st century will thus require a new management approach that incorporates robust understanding of reef-scale climate change, the mechanisms by which these changes impact corals, and their potential for adaptation. In this thesis, I extract information from within coral skeletons to 1) Quantify the climate changes occurring on coral reefs and the effects on coral growth, 2) Identify differences in the sensitivity of coral reefs to these changes, and 3) Evaluate the adaptation potential of the keystone reef-building coral, Porites. First, I develop a mechanistic Porites growth model and reveal the physicochemical link between OA and skeletal formation. Ishow that the thickening (densification) of coralskeletal framework is most vulnerable to OA and that, under 21st century climate model projections, OA will reduce Porites skeletal density globally, with greatest impact in the Coral Triangle. Second, I develop an improved metric of thermal stress, and use a skeletal bleaching proxy to quantify coral responses to intensifying heatwaves in the central equatorial Pacific (CEP) since 1982. My work reveals a long history of bleaching in the CEP, and reef-specific differences in thermal tolerance linked to past heatwave exposure implying that, over time, reef communities have adapted to tolerate their unique thermal regimes. Third, I refine the Sr-U paleo-thermometer to enable monthly-resolved sea surface temperatures (SST) generation using laser ablation ICPMS. I show that laser Sr-U accurately captures CEP SST, including the frequency and amplitude of MHWs. Finally, I apply laser Sr-U to reconstruct the past 100 years of SST at Jarvis Island in the CEP, and evaluate my proxy record of bleaching severity in this context. I determine that Porites coral populations on Jarvis Island have not yet adapted to the pace of anthropogenic climate change.
This literature overview focuses on how shark species, are faring with the anthropogenically induced climatic changes. The ocean is drastically affected by this, which has major implications on the aquatic life. Some effects include increasing temperature, carbon dioxide and acidity levels. This has led to shifts in the predatory success in sharks, which will only increase in severity as climate change intensifies, because changes in climate induce other changes in most aspects of the shark’s life. These can be grouped into three categories: shifts in body functions, behaviors and habitat. Some changes in body function include difficulty integrating sensory cues through reduced neuron receptor function, decreased brain/muscle aerobic potential and changes in growth/development. Behavioral changes include shifted swimming patterns, interacting with different species assemblages and prey behaviors. Lastly, habitat changes affect the shark’s ability to capture prey through increases in salinity, degradation of critical habitat and reduction in dissolved oxygen.
Bacteria are essential in the maintenance and sustainment of marine environments (e.g., benthic systems), playing a key role in marine food webs and nutrient cycling. These microorganisms can live associated as epiphytic or endophytic populations with superior organisms with valuable ecological functions, e.g., seagrasses. Here, we isolated, identified, sequenced, and exposed two strains of the same species (i.e., identified as Cobetia sp.) from two different marine environments to different nutrient regimes using batch cultures: (1) Cobetia sp. UIB 001 from the endemic Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica and (2) Cobetia sp. 4B UA from the endemic Humboldt Current System (HCS) seagrass Heterozostera chilensis. From our physiological studies, both strains behaved as bacteria capable to cope with different nutrient and pH regimes, i.e., N, P, and Fe combined with different pH levels, both in long-term (12 days (d)) and short-term studies (4 d/96 h (h)). We showed that the isolated strains were sensitive to the N source (inorganic and organic) at low and high concentrations and low pH levels. Low availability of phosphorus (P) and Fe had a negative independent effect on growth, especially in the long-term studies. The strain UIB 001 showed a better adaptation to low nutrient concentrations, being a potential N2-fixer, reaching higher growth rates (μ) than the HCS strain. P-acquisition mechanisms were deeply investigated at the enzymatic (i.e., alkaline phosphatase activity, APA) and structural level (e.g., alkaline phosphatase D, PhoD). Finally, these results were complemented with the study of biochemical markers, i.e., reactive oxygen species (ROS). In short, we present how ecological niches (i.e., MS and HCS) might determine, select, and modify the genomic and phenotypic features of the same bacterial species (i.e., Cobetia spp.) found in different marine environments, pointing to a direct correlation between adaptability and oligotrophy of seawater.
- Long-term exposure to reduced pH was performed with sea urchins from different sites
- Seawater acidification affected sea urchin physiological and behavioral parameters
- The effects of reduced pH were less evident in lagoon sea urchins than in coastal ones
- Sea urchin responses change over time possibly related to the gametogenic cycle
- Overall results suggested adaptability of P. lividus to future pH levels
CO2-driven ocean acidification affects many aspects of sea urchin biology. However, even in the same species, OA effects are often not univocal due to non-uniform exposure setups or different ecological history of the experimental specimens. In the present work, two groups of adult sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus from different environments (the Lagoon of Venice and a coastal area in the Northern Adriatic Sea) were exposed to OA in a long-term exposure. Animals were maintained for six months in both natural seawater (pHT 8.04) and end-of-the-century predicted condition (-0.4 units pH). Monthly, physiological (respiration rate, ammonia excretion, O:N ratio) and behavioural (righting, sheltering) endpoints were investigated. Both pH and time of exposure significantly influenced sea urchin responses, but differences between sites were highlighted, particularly in the first months. Under reduced pH, ammonia excretion increased and O:N decreased in coastal specimens. Righting and sheltering were impaired in coastal animals, whereas only righting decreased in lagoon ones. These findings suggested a higher adaptation ability in sea urchins from a more variable environment. Interestingly, as the exposure continued, animals from both sites were able to acclimate. Results revealed plasticity in the physiological and behavioural responses of sea urchins under future predicted OA conditions.
Incorporating species’ ability to adaptively respond to climate change is critical for robustly predicting persistence. One such example could be the adaptive role of algal symbionts in setting coral thermal tolerance under global warming and ocean acidification. Using a global ecological and evolutionary model of competing branching and mounding coral morphotypes, we show symbiont shuffling (towards taxa with increased heat tolerance) was more effective than symbiont evolution in delaying coral-cover declines, but stronger warming rates (high emissions scenarios) outpace the ability of these adaptive processes and limit coral persistence. Acidification has a small impact on reef degradation rates relative to warming. Global patterns in coral reef vulnerability to climate are sensitive to the interaction of warming rate and adaptive capacity and cannot be predicted by either factor alone. Overall, our results show how models of spatially resolved adaptive mechanisms can inform conservation decisions.
On the iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR), the cumulative impacts of tropical cyclones, marine heatwaves and regular outbreaks of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS) have severely depleted coral cover. Climate change will further exacerbate this situation over the coming decades unless effective interventions are implemented. Evaluating the efficacy of alternative interventions in a complex system experiencing major cumulative impacts can only be achieved through a systems modelling approach. We have evaluated combinations of interventions using a coral reef meta-community model. The model consisted of a dynamic network of 3753 reefs supporting communities of corals and CoTS connected through ocean larval dispersal, and exposed to changing regimes of tropical cyclones, flood plumes, marine heatwaves and ocean acidification. Interventions included reducing flood plume impacts, expanding control of CoTS populations, stabilizing coral rubble, managing solar radiation and introducing heat-tolerant coral strains. Without intervention, all climate scenarios resulted in precipitous declines in GBR coral cover over the next 50 years. The most effective strategies in delaying decline were combinations that protected coral from both predation (CoTS control) and thermal stress (solar radiation management) deployed at large scale. Successful implementation could expand opportunities for climate action, natural adaptation and socioeconomic adjustment by at least one to two decades.
Ocean Acidification (OA) can have pervasive effects in calcifying marine organisms, and a better understanding of how different populations respond at the physiological and evolutionary level could help to model the impacts of global change in marine ecosystems. Due to its natural geography and oceanographic processes, the Chilean coast provides a natural laboratory where benthic organisms are frequently exposed to diverse projected OA scenarios. The goal of this study was to assess whether a population of mollusks thriving in a more variable environment (Talcaruca) would present higher phenotypic plasticity in physiological and morphological traits in response to different pCO2 when compared to a population of the same species from a more stable environment (Los Molles). To achieve this, two benthic limpets (Scurria zebrina and Scurria viridula) inhabiting these two contrasting localities were exposed to ocean acidification experimental conditions representing the current pCO2 in the Chilean coast (500 μatm) and the levels predicted for the year 2100 in upwelling zones (1500 (μatm). Our results show that the responses to OA are species-specific, even in this related species. Interestingly, S. viridula showed better performance under OA than S. zebrina (i.e., similar sizes and carbonate content in individuals from both populations; lower effects of acidification on the growth rate combined with a reduction of metabolism at higher pCO2). Remarkably, these characteristics could explain this species’ success in overstepping the biogeographical break in the area of Talcaruca, which S. zebrina cannot achieve. Besides, the results show that the habitat factor has a strong influence on some traits. For instance, individuals from Talcaruca presented a higher growth rate plasticity index and lower shell dissolution rates in acidified conditions than those from Los Molles. These results show that limpets from the variable environment tend to display higher plasticity, buffering the physiological effects of OA compared with limpets from the more stable environment. Taken together, these findings highlight the key role of geographic variation in phenotypic plasticity to determine the vulnerability of calcifying organisms to future scenarios of OA.
Long‐term experimental investigations of transgenerational plasticity (TGP) and transgenerational acclimatization to global change are sparse in marine invertebrates. Here, we test the effect of ocean warming and acidification over a 25‐month period of Echinometra sp. A sea urchins whose parents were acclimatized at ambient or one of two near‐future (projected mid‐ and end‐ of the 21st century) climate scenarios for 18 months. Several parameters linked to performance exhibited strong effects of future ocean conditions at 9 months of age. The Ambient‐Ambient group (A‐A, both F0 and F1 at ambient conditions) was significantly larger (21%) and faster in righting response (31%) compared to other groups. A second set of contrasts revealed near‐future scenarios caused significant negative parental carryover effects. Respiration at 9 months was depressed by 59% when parents were from near‐future climate conditions, and righting response was slowed by 28%. At ten months, a selective pathogenic mortality event lead to significantly higher survival rates of A‐A urchins. Differences in size and respiration measured prior to the mortality were absent after the event, while a negative parental effect on righting (29% reduction) remained. The capacity to spawn at the end of the experiment was higher in individuals with ambient parents (50%) compared to other groups (21%) suggesting persistent parental effects. Obtaining different results at different points in time illustrates the importance of longer‐term and multi‐generation studies to investigate effects of climate change. Given some animals in all groups survived the pathogenic event and that effects on physiology (but not behavior) among groups were eliminated after the mortality, we suggest that similar events could constitute selective sweeps, allowing genetic adaptation. However, given the observed negative parental effects and reduced potential for population replenishment it remains to be determined if selection would be sufficiently rapid to rescue this species from climate change effects.
- Copepods were subjected to OA and Hg pollution under multigenerational exposure.
- OA reduced Hg accumulation and its toxicity to the growth/reproduction in copepods.
- Copepod proteome enabled its physiological resilience to decreasing pH.
- Proteomics indicated many toxic events, ensuring Hg toxicity to the copepod’s traits.
- Proteome compensation was accounting for the alleviative effect of OA on Hg toxicity.
Here, we examined the combinational effect of ocean acidification (OA) and mercury (Hg) in the planktonic copepod Pseudodiaptomus annandalei in cross-factored response to different pCO2 (400, 800 μatm) and Hg (control, 1.0 and 2.5 μg/L) exposures for three generations (F0-F2), followed by single-generation recovery (F3) under clean condition. Several phenotypic traits and Hg accumulation were analyzed for F0-F3. Furthermore, shotgun-based quantitative proteomics was performed for F0 and F2. Our results showed that OA insignificantly influenced the traits. During F0-F2, combined exposure reduced Hg accumulation as compared with the counterpart Hg treatment, supporting the mitigating effect of OA on Hg toxicity in copepods. Proteomics analysis indicated that the copepods probably increased energy production/storage and stress response to ensure physiological resilience against OA. However, Hg induced many toxic events (e.g., energy depletion and degenerated organomorphogenesis/embryogenesis for F0; cell cycle arrest and detrimental stress-defense for F2), which were translated to the population-level adverse outcome, i.e., compromised growth/reproduction. Particularly, compensatory proteome response was identified (e.g., increased immune defense for F0; energetic compensation and enhanced embryogenesis for F2), accounting for a negative interaction between OA and Hg. Together, this study provides the molecular mechanisms behind the effects of OA and Hg pollution in marine copepods.
Effects of ocean acidification (OA) on the plant phenology and colonization/settlement pattern of the hydrozoan epibiont community of the leaves of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica have been studied at volcanic CO2 vents off Ischia (Italy). The study was conducted in shallow Posidonia stands (2.5–3.5 m depth), in three stations on the north and three on the south sides of the vent’s area (Castello Aragonese vents), distributed along a pH gradient. At each station, 10–15 P. oceanica shoots were collected every three months for one-year cycle (Sept 2009–2010). The shoot density of Posidonia beds in the most acidified stations along the gradient (pH < 7.4) was significantly higher than that in the control area (pH = 8.10). On the other hand, we recorded lower leaf lengths and widths in the acidified stations in the whole year of observations, compared to those in the control stations. However, the overall leaf surface (Leaf Area Index) available for epiphytes under ocean acidification conditions was higher on the south side and on both the most acidified stations because of the higher shoot density under OA conditions. The hydrozoan epibiont community on the leaf canopy accounted for seven species, three of which were relatively abundant and occurring all year around (Sertularia perpusilla, Plumularia obliqua, Clytia hemisphaerica). All hydroids species showed a clear tolerance to low pH levels, including chitinous and non-calcifying forms, likely favoured also by the absence of competition for substratum with the calcareous forms of epiphytes selected against OA.
Multigenerational exposure is needed to assess the evolutionary potential of organisms in the rapidly changing seascape. Here, we investigate if there is a transgenerational effect of ocean acidification exposure on a calyptraeid gastropod such that long‐term exposure elevates offspring resilience. Larvae from wild type Crepidula onyx adults were reared from hatching until sexual maturity for over 36 months under three pH conditions (pH 7.3, 7.7, and 8.0). While the survivorship, growth, and respiration rate of F1 larvae were unaffected by acute ocean acidification (OA), long‐term and whole life‐cycle exposure significantly compromised adult survivorship, growth, and reproductive output of the slipper limpets. When kept under low pH throughout their life cycle, only 6% of the F1 slipper limpets survived pH 7.3 conditions after ~2.5 years and the number of larvae they released was ~10% of those released by the control. However, the F2 progeny from adults kept under the long‐term low pH condition hatched at a comparable size to those in medium and control pH conditions. More importantly, these F2 progeny from low pH adults outperformed F2 slipper limpets from control conditions; they had higher larval survivorship and growth, and reduced respiration rate across pH conditions, even at the extreme low pH of 7.0. The intragenerational negative consequences of OA during long‐term acclimation highlights potential carryover effects and ontogenetic shifts in stress vulnerability, especially prior to and during reproduction. Yet, the presence of a transgenerational effect implies that this slipper limpet, which has been widely introduced along the West Pacific coasts, has the potential to adapt to rapid acidification.
Volcanic CO2 seeps are natural laboratories that can provide insights into the adaptation of species to ocean acidification. Whilst many species are challenged by reduced pH levels, some species benefit from the altered environment and thrive. Here, we explore the molecular mechanisms of adaptation to ocean acidification in a population of a temperate fish species that experiences increased population sizes under elevated CO2. Fish from CO2 seeps exhibited an overall increased gene expression in gonad tissue compared to those from ambient CO2 sites. Up‐regulated genes at CO2 seeps are possible targets of adaptive selection as they can directly influence the physiological performance of fishes exposed to ocean acidification. Most of the up‐regulated genes at seeps were functionally involved in the maintenance of pH homeostasis and increased metabolism, and presented a deviation from neutral evolution expectations in their patterns of DNA polymorphisms, providing evidence for adaptive selection to ocean acidification. The targets of this adaptive selection are likely regulatory sequences responsible for the increased expression of these genes which would allow a fine‐tuned physiological regulation to maintain homeostasis and thrive at CO2 seeps. Our findings reveal that standing genetic variation in DNA sequences regulating the expression of genes in response to a reduced pH environment could provide for adaptive potential to near‐future ocean acidification in fishes. Moreover, with this study we provide a forthright methodology combining transcriptomics and genomics which can be applied to infer the adaptive potential to different environmental conditions in wild marine populations.