Posts Tagged 'crustaceans'

The combined effects of ocean acidification and warming on a habitat-forming shell-crushing predatory crab


  • We measured and compared traits at the cellular and organismal levels
  • Ocean warming and acidification affected crabs’ traits
  • Ocean warming increased the HSP70 levels
  • Crabs’ pinching strength was reduced by ocean acidification
  • Crabs’ self-righting speed was reduced by ocean warming and acidification


In mid rocky intertidal habitats the mussel Perumytilus purpurarus monopolizes the substratum to the detriment of many other species. However, the consumption of mussels by the shell-crushing crab Acanthocyclus hassleri creates within the mussel beds space and habitat for several other species. This crab uses its disproportionately large claw to crush its shelled prey and plays an important role in maintaining species biodiversity. This study evaluated the consequences of projected near-future ocean acidification (OA) and warming (OW) on traits of A. hassleri linked with their predatory performance. Individual A. hassleri were maintained for 10-16 weeks under contrasting pCO2 (~500 and 1400 μatm) and temperature (~15 and 20 °C) levels. We compared traits at the organismal (oxygen consumption rate, survival, calcification rate, feeding rates, crusher claw pinching strength, self-righting speed, sarcomere length of the crusher claw muscles) and cellular (nutritional status ATP provisioning capacity through citrate synthase activity, expression of HSP70) level. Survival, calcification rate and sarcomere length were not affected by OA and OW. However, OW increased significantly feeding and oxygen consumption. Pinching strength was reduced by OA; meanwhile self-righting was increased by OA and OW. At 20 °C, carbohydrate content was reduced significantly by OA. Regardless of temperature, a significant reduction in energy reserves in terms of protein content by OA was found. The ATP provisioning capacity was significantly affected by the interaction between temperature and pCO2 and was highest at 15 °C and present day pCO2 levels. The HSP70 levels of crabs exposed to OW were higher than in the control crabs. We conclude that OA and OW might affect the amount and size of prey consumed by this crab. Therefore, by reducing the crab feeding performance these stressors might pose limits on their role in generating microhabitat for other rocky intertidal species inhabiting within mussel beds.

Continue reading ‘The combined effects of ocean acidification and warming on a habitat-forming shell-crushing predatory crab’

Current and future trophic interactions in tropical shallow-reef lagoon habitats

Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) sediments are the dominant form of CaCO3 on coral reefs accumulating in lagoon and inter-reefal areas. Owing to their mineralogy and a range of physical parameters, tropical CaCO3 sediments are predicted to be more sensitive to dissolution driven by ocean acidification than the skeleton of living reef organisms. How this scales up to impact infaunal organisms, which are an important food source for higher trophic levels, and thereby ecosystem functioning, is not well explored. We combined seasonal field surveys in a shallow-reef lagoon ecosystem on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with stable isotope analyses and a tank-based experiment to examine the potential top-down influence of the deposit-feeding sea cucumber, Stichopus herrmanni, on this infaunal community under current and future ocean pH. Densities of surface-sediment meiofauna were lowest in winter and spring, with harpacticoid copepods (38%) and nematodes (27%) the dominant taxa. Stable isotope analyses showed that S. herrmanni had a top-down influence on meiofauna and microphytes with a distinct δ13C and δ15N trophic position that was homogenous across seasons and locations. Tanks that mimicked sandy shallow-reef lagoon habitats were used to examine the effects of ocean acidification (elevated pCO2) on this trophic interaction. We used outdoor control (sediment only) and experimental (sediment plus S. herrmanni) tanks maintained at present-day and near-future pCO2 (+ 570 µatm) for 24 days, which fluctuated with the diel pCO2 cycle. In sediment-only tanks, copepods were > twofold more abundant at elevated pCO2, with no negative effects documented for any meiofauna group. When included in the community, top-down control by S. herrmanni counteracted the positive effects of low pH on meiofaunal abundance. We highlight a novel perspective in coral reef trophodynamics between surface-sediment meiofauna and deposit-feeding sea cucumbers, and posit that community shifts may occur in shallow-reef lagoon habitats in a future ocean with implications for the functioning of coral reefs from the bottom up.

Continue reading ‘Current and future trophic interactions in tropical shallow-reef lagoon habitats’

Ocean freshening and acidification differentially influence mortality and behavior of the Antarctic amphipod Gondogeneia antarctica


  • Glacial retreat induced by global warming can decrease salinity and pH of the Antarctic ocean.
  • The Antarctic amphipod Gondogeneia antarctica was exposed to low salinity (27 psu) and low pH (7.6) conditions.
  • Low salinity increased cannibalism and induced adjusted swimming.
  • Low pH increased mortality, impaired food detection and reduced daytime shelter use.
  • Ocean freshening and acidification act as independent stressors influencing behavior and physiology of Antarctic amphipods.


The Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) has experienced rapid atmospheric and ocean warming over the past few decades and many marine-terminating glaciers have considerably retreated. Glacial retreat is accompanied by fresh meltwater intrusion, which may result in the freshening and acidification of coastal waters. Marian Cove (MC), on King George Island in the WAP, undergoes one of the highest rates of glacial retreat. Intertidal and shallow subtidal waters are likely more susceptible to these processes, and sensitive biological responses are expected from the organisms inhabiting this area. The gammarid amphipod Gondogeneia antarctica is one of the most abundant species in the shallow, nearshore Antarctic waters, and it occupies an essential ecological niche in the coastal marine WAP ecosystem. In this study, we tested the sensitivity of G. antarctica to lowered salinity and pH by meltwater intrusion following glacial retreat. We exposed G. antarctica to four different treatments combining two salinities (34 and 27 psu) and pH (8.0 and 7.6) levels for 26 days. Mortality, excluding cannibalized individuals, increased under low pH but decreased under low salinity conditions. Meanwhile, low salinity increased cannibalism, whereas low pH reduced food detection. Shelter use during the daytime decreased under each low salinity and pH condition, indicating that the two stressors act as disruptors of amphipod behavior. Under low salinity conditions, swimming increased during the daytime but decreased at night. Although interactions between low salinity and low pH were not observed during the experiment, the results suggest that each stressor, likely induced by glacial melting, causes altered behaviors in amphipods. These environmental factors may threaten population persistence in Marian Cove and possibly other similar glacial embayments.

Continue reading ‘Ocean freshening and acidification differentially influence mortality and behavior of the Antarctic amphipod Gondogeneia antarctica’

Ocean acidification disrupts the orientation of postlarval Caribbean spiny lobsters

Anthropogenic inputs into coastal ecosystems are causing more frequent environmental fluctuations and reducing seawater pH. One such ecosystem is Florida Bay, an important nursery for the Caribbean spiny lobster, Panulirus argus. Although adult crustaceans are often resilient to reduced seawater pH, earlier ontogenetic stages can be physiologically limited in their tolerance to ocean acidification on shorter time scales. We used a Y-maze chamber to test whether reduced-pH seawater altered the orientation of spiny lobster pueruli toward chemical cues produced by Laurencia spp. macroalgae, a known settlement cue for the species. We tested the hypothesis that pueruli conditioned in reduced-pH seawater would be less responsive to Laurencia spp. chemical cues than pueruli in ambient-pH seawater by comparing the proportion of individuals that moved to the cue side of the chamber with the proportion that moved to the side with no cue. We also recorded the amount of time (sec) before a response was observed. Pueruli conditioned in reduced-pH seawater were less responsive and failed to select the Laurencia cue. Our results suggest that episodic acidification of coastal waters might limit the ability of pueruli to locate settlement habitats, increasing postsettlement mortality.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification disrupts the orientation of postlarval Caribbean spiny lobsters’

Declines over the last two decades of five intertidal invertebrate species in the western North Atlantic

Climate change has already altered the environmental conditions of the world’s oceans. Here we report declines in gastropod abundances and recruitment of mussels (Mytilus edulis) and barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides) over the last two decades that are correlated with changes in temperature and ocean conditions. Mussel recruitment is declining by 15.7% per year, barnacle recruitment by 5.0% per year, and abundances of three common gastropods are declining by an average of 3.1% per year (Testudinalia testudinalisLittorina littorea, and Nucella lapillus). The declines in mussels and the common periwinkle (L. littorea) are correlated with warming sea temperatures and the declines in T. testudinalis and N. lapillus are correlated with aragonite saturation state, which affects rates of shell calcification. These species are common on shores throughout the North Atlantic and their loss is likely to lead to simplification of an important food web on rocky shores.

Continue reading ‘Declines over the last two decades of five intertidal invertebrate species in the western North Atlantic’

Diel vertical migration into anoxic and high-pCO2 waters: acoustic and net-based krill observations in the Humboldt Current

A select group of marine organisms can enter the Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs) and even anoxic waters, while performing diel vertical migration (DVM). DVM of the euphausiid Euphausia eximia off northern Chile in the spring of 2015 was documented based on acoustic measurements using an echo sounder along with net samplings. Dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations were obtained using a vertical profiler, and water samples were collected to obtain in situ nitrite (NO2) concentrations as well as pHT, total alkalinity (AT), and therefore carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2) was estimated. Krill were found to migrate up to the surface (0–50 m) during the night and returned to ca. 200–300 m depth during the day, spending between 11 and 14 h at these layers. At the surface, DO and NO2 concentrations were 208 and 0.14 μM respectively, while pHT was 8.04 and 405 μatm pCO2. In contrast, at the deeper layers (200–300 m), DO and NO2 were < 3 and 6.3 μM respectively, with pHT 7.53 and 1490 μatm pCO2. The pHT and high pCO2 values at depths represent the conditions predicted for open ocean waters in a worst-case global warming scenario by 2150. The acoustic scatter suggested that > 60% of the krill swarms enter the OMZ and anoxic waters during the daytime. These frequent migrations suggest that krill can tolerate such extreme conditions associated with anoxic and high-pCO2 waters. The inferences drawn from the observation of these migrations might have strong implications for the current oceanic carbon pump models, highlighting the need for understanding the molecular and physiological adaptations allowing these migrations.

Continue reading ‘Diel vertical migration into anoxic and high-pCO2 waters: acoustic and net-based krill observations in the Humboldt Current’

Early development and metabolic rate of the sea louse Caligus rogercresseyi under different scenarios of temperature and pCO2


  • The temperature has a significant effect on the hatching time of C. royercresseyi.

  • Combination of pCO2 and temperature has a significant effect on survival in C. rogercresseyi.

  • The combination of pCO2 and temperature had no impact on the size of nauplius I, nauplius II and copepodid stage.

  • Only the temperature has a significant effect on oxygen consumption rate of C. royercresseyi.


Anthropogenic CO2 emissions have led to ocean acidification and a rise in the temperature. The present study evaluates the effects of temperature (10, 15 and 20 °C) and pCO2 (400 and 1200 μatm) on the early development and oxygen consumption rate (OCR) of the sea louse Caligus rogercresseyi. Only temperature has an effect on the hatching and development times of nauplius I. But both factors affected the development time of nauplius II (<temperature = longer development time). Copepodid survival time was also affected by temperature and pCO2, at 10 °C and 400 μatm, survival was 30 and 44% longer than at 15 and 20 °C. OCRs were impacted by temperature but not by pCO2. In all treatments, OCR was lower for nauplius II than for the copepodid. Our results show the need to further evaluate the effects of a combination of environmental drivers on the performance of C. rogercresseyi, in a changing and uncertain future.

Continue reading ‘Early development and metabolic rate of the sea louse Caligus rogercresseyi under different scenarios of temperature and pCO2’

Effects of temperature and pH on the egg production and hatching success of a common Korean copepod

The recent accelerated ocean acidification and global warming caused by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide may have an impact on the physiology and ecology of marine animals. This study was conducted to determine the egg production rate (EPR) and hatching success (EHS) of Acartia ohtsukai in response to the combined effects of an increase in temperature and a lower pH. Acartiaohtsukai with fresh surface seawater were collected in the northwestern Yeoja Bay of Korea in September 2017. The temperature and pH conditions applied included two different pH levels (representing the present: 7.9 and the future: 7.6) and three temperature values (26 °C, 28 °C, and 30 °C). In the pH 7.9, EPR significantly increased with increased temperature, but in pH 7.6, it significantly decreased as the temperature increased. EHS was lower in pH 7.6 than in pH 7.9. These results suggest that changes in the marine environment due to global warming and ocean acidification may affect Acartia populations and cause overall fluctuations in copepods of the genus Acartia.

Continue reading ‘Effects of temperature and pH on the egg production and hatching success of a common Korean copepod’

Contrasting responses to salinity and future ocean acidification in arctic populations of the amphipod Gammarus setosus


  • Climate change is leading to changes in salinity and pCO2 in arctic/sub-arctic coastal ecosystems.

  • We examined Gammarus setosus at 3 sites along a salinity gradient in the field and laboratory.

  • Reduced salinity had more of an effect than elevated pCO2 by reducing energy budgets.

  • Lower salinities increased ion transporting capacities in the laboratory but not in the field.

  • G. setosus at lower salinity sites have lower energy budgets suggesting impacts on performance.


Climate change is leading to alterations in salinity and carbonate chemistry in arctic/sub-arctic marine ecosystems. We examined three nominal populations of the circumpolar arctic/subarctic amphipod, Gammarus setosus, along a salinity gradient in the Kongsfjorden-/Krossfjorden area of Svalbard. Field and laboratory experiments assessed physiological (haemolymph osmolality and gill Na+/K+-ATPase activity, NKA) and energetic responses (metabolic rates, MO2, and Cellular Energy Allocation, CEA). In the field, all populations had similar osmregulatory capacities and MO2, but lower-salinity populations had lower CEA. Reduced salinity (S = 23) and elevated pCO2 (∼1000 μatm) in the laboratory for one month increased gill NKA activities and reduced CEA in all populations, but increased MO2 in the higher-salinity population. Elevated pCO2 did not interact with salinity and had no effect on NKA activities or CEA, but reduced MO2 in all populations. Reduced CEA in lower-rather than higher-salinity populations may have longer term effects on other energy demanding processes (growth and reproduction).

Continue reading ‘Contrasting responses to salinity and future ocean acidification in arctic populations of the amphipod Gammarus setosus’

Ocean acidification amplifies the olfactory response to 2-phenylethylamine: altered cue reception as a mechanistic pathway?

With carbon dioxide (CO2) levels rising dramatically, climate change threatens marine environments. Due to increasing CO2 concentrations in the ocean, pH levels are expected to drop by 0.4 units by the end of the century. There is an urgent need to understand the impact of ocean acidification on chemical-ecological processes. To date, the extent and mechanisms by which the decreasing ocean pH influences chemical communication are unclear. Combining behaviour assays with computational chemistry, we explore the function of the predator related cue 2-phenylethylamine (PEA) for hermit crabs (Pagurus bernhardus) in current and end-of-the-century oceanic pH. We demonstrate that this dietary predator cue for mammals and sea lampreys is an attractant for hermit crabs. Furthermore, we show that the potency of the cue increases at pH levels expected for the year 2100. In order to explain this increased potency, we assess changes to PEA’s conformational and charge-related properties as one potential mechanistic pathway. Using quantum chemical calculations validated by NMR spectroscopy, we characterise the different protonation states of PEA in water. We show how protonation of PEA could affect receptor-ligand binding, using a possible model receptor for PEA (human TAAR1). Investigating potential mechanisms of pH dependent effects on olfactory perception of PEA and the respective behavioural response, our study advances the understanding of how ocean acidification interferes with the sense of smell and thereby might impact essential ecological interactions in marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification amplifies the olfactory response to 2-phenylethylamine: altered cue reception as a mechanistic pathway?’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book