Posts Tagged 'mollusks'

Pacific geoduck (Panopea generosa) resilience to natural pH variation

Pacific geoduck aquaculture is a growing industry, however little is known about how geoduck respond to varying environmental conditions, or how production might be impacted by low pH associated with ocean acidification. Ocean acidification research is increasingly incorporating multiple environmental drivers and natural pH variability into biological response studies for more complete understanding of the effects of projected ocean conditions. In this study, eelgrass habitats and environmental heterogeneity across four estuarine bays were leveraged to examine low pH effects on geoduck under different natural regimes, using proteomics to assess physiology. Juvenile geoduck were deployed in eelgrass and adjacent unvegetated habitats for 30 days while pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and salinity were monitored. Across the four bays pH was lower in unvegetated habitats compared to eelgrass habitats, however this did not impact geoduck growth, survival, or proteomic expression patterns. However, across all sites temperature and dissolved oxygen corresponded to growth and protein expression patterns. Specifically, three protein abundance levels (trifunctional-enzyme β-subunit, puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase, and heat shock protein 90-⍺) and shell 16 growth positively correlated with dissolved oxygen variability and inversely correlated with mean 17 temperature. These results demonstrate that geoduck are resilient to low pH in a natural setting, 18 and other abiotic factors (i.e. temperature, dissolved oxygen variability) may have a greater 19 influence on geoduck physiology. In addition this study contributes to the understanding of how 20 eelgrass patches influences water chemistry.

Continue reading ‘Pacific geoduck (Panopea generosa) resilience to natural pH variation’

Calcium carbonate unit realignment under acidification: A potential compensatory mechanism in an edible estuarine oyster


• Impacts of ocean acidification (OA) on edible oyster shells were investigated.

• Microstructure, crystallography and the mechanical properties were quantified.

• OA altered shell microstructure and crystal orientation.

• The mechanical properties, however, were not affected under moderately low pH.

• Altered crystallography appeared to be a potential compensatory mechanism.


Ocean acidification (OA) is well-known for impairing marine calcification; however, the end response of several essential species to this perturbation remains unknown. Decreased pH and saturation levels (Ω) of minerals under OA is projected to alter shell crystallography and thus to reduce shell mechanical properties. This study examined this hypothesis using a commercially important estuarine oyster Magallana hongkongensis. Although shell damage occurred on the outmost prismatic layer and the undying myostracum at decreased pH 7.6 and 7.3, the major foliated layer was relatively unharmed. Oysters maintained their shell hardness and stiffness through altered crystal unit orientation under pH 7.6 conditions. However, under the undersaturated conditions (ΩCal ~ 0.8) at pH 7.3, the realigned crystal units in foliated layer ultimately resulted in less stiff shells which indicated although estuarine oysters are mechanically resistant to unfavorable calcification conditions, extremely low pH condition is still a threat to this essential species.

Continue reading ‘Calcium carbonate unit realignment under acidification: A potential compensatory mechanism in an edible estuarine oyster’

Ocean acidification, consumers’ preferences, and market adaptation strategies in the mussel aquaculture industry


  • We analyze welfare impacts of ocean acidification in commercial mussels’ species.
  • We assess the effectiveness of market adaptation strategies identified by the industry.
  • OA will impact mussels’ characteristics that are highly valued by the consumers.
  • Unlike cost-benefit analysis, our approach looks for possible market segmentation.

Ocean acidification (OA) is one of the largest emerging and significant environmental threats for the aquaculture industry, jeopardizing its role as an alternative for supporting food security. Moreover, market conditions, characterized by price volatility and low value-added products, could exacerbate the industry’s vulnerability to OA. We use a literature review on the biological consequences of OA over marine commercial species attributes to inform the empirical assessment of consumers’ preferences for those attributes affected by OA, and consumers’ responses to a set of market adaptation strategies suggested by the industry. We found that OA will have a negative impact on consumers’ welfare due to the effects on commercial attributes of mussels aquaculture products. However, the main concerns for the industry are the market conditions. Thus, the industry’s current adaptation strategies are focused on increasing their market share by offering new product assortments (with more value-added), regardless of the effect of OA on consumers’ welfare. Despite this fact, the industry’s strategies could eventually contribute to cope with OA since some specific segments of the market are willing to pay for new product assortments. This new market composition highlights the role of public institutions’ reputation in issues related to food safety.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification, consumers’ preferences, and market adaptation strategies in the mussel aquaculture industry’

Low pH reduced survival of the oyster Crassostrea gigas exposed to the Ostreid herpesvirus 1 by altering the metabolic response of the host


  • The susceptibility of Crassostrea gigas to OsHV-1 increased at pH 7.8 in comparison to pH 8.1
  • The amount of OsHV-1 in oyster tissues was the same at both pH, suggesting the role of host metabolic response in differential survival
  • A lower activity of SOD and a basal activity of iNOS at pH 7.8, in comparison to pH 8.1, may have impaired the defence of oysters to OsHV-1 explaining the lower survival


Environmental change in the marine realm has been accompanied by emerging diseases as new pathogens evolve to take advantage of hosts weakened by environmental stress. Here we investigated how an exposure to reduced seawater pH influenced the response of the oyster Crassostrea gigas to an infection by the Ostreid herpesvirus type I (OsHV-1). Oysters were acclimated at pH 8.1 or pH 7.8 and then exposed to OsHV-1. Their survival was monitored and oyster tissues were sampled for biochemical analyses. The survival of oysters exposed to OsHV-1 at pH 7.8 was lower (33.5%) than that of their counterparts at pH 8.1 (44.8%) whereas levels of OsHV-1 DNA were similar. Energetic reserves, fatty acid composition and prostaglandin levels in oyster did not vary consistently with pH, infection or their interactions. However, there was a reduction in the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in oysters at low pH, which is associated with the observed difference in survival.

Continue reading ‘Low pH reduced survival of the oyster Crassostrea gigas exposed to the Ostreid herpesvirus 1 by altering the metabolic response of the host’

Phenotypic plasticity at the edge: contrasting population‐level responses at the overlap of the leading and rear edges of the geographical distribution of two Scurria limpets

To examine the role of ocean temperature and chemistry as drivers of interpopulation differences in multiple phenotypic traits between rear and leading edge populations of two species of limpet.

The coast of north‐central Chile, western South America.

Mollusca, Gastropoda (Lottidae).

We used field and laboratory experiments to study the ecology and physiology of individuals from populations located at the overlap of the rear and leading edges of their respective geographical distributions. At the same time, we characterized local environmental regimes, measuring seawater physical and chemical properties.

Towards the edge of their range, individuals from the leading edge species gradually reduced their shell length, metabolic rate and thermal response capacity, and increased carbonate content in their shells. Individuals of the rear edge species showed dissimilar responses between sites. Contrasting behavioural responses to experimental heating reconciled observations of an unintuitive higher maximal critical temperature and a smaller thermal safety margin for individuals of the rear edge populations. Physical–chemical characterization of seawater properties at the site located on the core of the upwelling centre showed extreme environmental conditions, with low oxygen concentration, high pCO2 and the episodic presence of corrosive seawater. These challenging environmental conditions were reflected in reduced growth for both species.

Main conclusions
We found different spatial patterns of phenotypic plasticity in two sister species around the leading and trailing edges of their distributions. Our results provide evidence that environmental conditions around large upwelling centres can maintain biogeographical breaks through metabolic constraints on the performance of calcifying organisms. Thus, local changes in seawater chemistry associated with coastal upwelling circulation emerge as a previously overlooked driver of marine range edges.

Continue reading ‘Phenotypic plasticity at the edge: contrasting population‐level responses at the overlap of the leading and rear edges of the geographical distribution of two Scurria limpets’

Feeding plasticity more than metabolic rate drives the productivity of economically important filter feeders in response to elevated CO2 and reduced salinity

Climate change driven alterations in salinity and carbonate chemistry are predicted to have significant implications particularly for northern costal organisms, including the economically important filter feeders Mytilus edulis and Ciona intestinalis. However, despite a growing number of studies investigating the biological effects of multiple environmental stressors, the combined effects of elevated pCO2 and reduced salinity remain comparatively understudied. Changes in metabolic costs associated with homeostasis and feeding/digestion in response to environmental stressors may reallocate energy from growth and reproduction, affecting performance. Although these energetic trade-offs in response to changes in routine metabolic rates have been well demonstrated fewer studies have investigated how these are affected by changes in feeding plasticity. Consequently, the present study investigated the combined effects of 26 days’ exposure to elevated pCO2 (500 µatm and 1000 µatm) and reduced salinity (30, 23, and 16) on the energy available for growth and performance (Scope for Growth) in M. edulis and C. intestinalis, and the role of metabolic rate (oxygen uptake) and feeding plasticity [clearance rate (CR) and absorption efficiency] in this process. In M. edulis exposure to elevated pCO2 resulted in a 50% reduction in Scope for Growth. However, elevated pCO2 had a much greater effect on C. intestinalis, with more than a 70% reduction in Scope for Growth. In M. edulis negative responses to elevated pCO2 are also unlikely be further affected by changes in salinity between 16 and 30. Whereas, under future predicted levels of pCO2C. intestinalis showed 100% mortality at a salinity of 16, and a >90% decrease in Scope for Growth with reduced biomass at a salinity of 23. Importantly, this work demonstrates energy available for production is more dependent on feeding plasticity, i.e. the ability to regulate CR and absorption efficiency, in response to multiple stressors than on more commonly studied changes in metabolic rates.

Continue reading ‘Feeding plasticity more than metabolic rate drives the productivity of economically important filter feeders in response to elevated CO2 and reduced salinity’

Ocean pH fluctuations affect mussel larvae at key developmental transitions

Coastal marine ecosystems experience dynamic fluctuations in seawater carbonate chemistry. The importance of this variation in the context of ocean acidification requires knowing what aspect of variability biological processes respond to. We conducted four experiments (ranging from 3 to 22 days) with different variability regimes (pHT 7.4–8.1) assessing the impact of diel fluctuations in carbonate chemistry on the early development of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Larval shell growth was consistently correlated to mean exposures, regardless of variability regimes, indicating that calcification responds instantaneously to seawater chemistry. Larval development was impacted by timing of exposure, revealing sensitivity of two developmental processes: development of the shell field, and transition from the first to the second larval shell. Fluorescent staining revealed developmental delay of the shell field at low pH, and abnormal development thereof was correlated with hinge defects in D-veligers. This study shows, for the first time, that ocean acidification affects larval soft-tissue development, independent from calcification. Multiple developmental processes additively underpin the teratogenic effect of ocean acidification on bivalve larvae. These results explain why trochophores are the most sensitive life-history stage in marine bivalves and suggest that short-term variability in carbonate chemistry can impact early larval development.

Continue reading ‘Ocean pH fluctuations affect mussel larvae at key developmental transitions’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book