Effects of Reduced pH on Macoma balthica Larvae from a System with Naturally Fluctuating pH-Dynamics

Anna Jansson, Joanna Norkko, Alf Norkko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Ocean acidification is causing severe changes in the inorganic carbon balance of the oceans. The pH conditions predicted for the future oceans are, however, already regularly occurring in the Baltic Sea, and the system might thus work as an analogue for future ocean acidification scenarios. The characteristics of the Baltic Sea with low buffering capacity and large natural pH fluctuations, in combination with multiple other stressors, suggest that OA effects may be severe, but remain largely unexplored. A calcifying species potentially affected by low pH conditions is the bivalve Macoma balthica (L.). We investigated larval survival and development of M. balthica by exposing the larvae to a range of pH levels: 7.2, 7.4, 7.7 and 8.1 during 20 days in order to learn what the effects of reduced pH are on the larval biology and thus also potentially for the population dynamics of this key species. We found that even a slight pH decrease causes significant negative changes during the larval phase, both by slowing growth and by decreasing survival. The growth was slower in all reduced pH treatments compared to the control treatment. The size of 250 µm that is considered indicative to imminent settling in our system was reached by 22% of the larvae grown in control conditions after 20 days, whereas in all reduced pH treatments the size of 250 µm was reached by only 7–14%. The strong impact of ocean acidification on larvae is alarming as slowly growing individuals are exposed to higher predation risk in response to the longer time they are required to spend in the plankton, further decreasing the ecological competence of the species.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere68198
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number6
Number of pages7
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

Cite this

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title = "Effects of Reduced pH on Macoma balthica Larvae from a System with Naturally Fluctuating pH-Dynamics",
abstract = "Ocean acidification is causing severe changes in the inorganic carbon balance of the oceans. The pH conditions predicted for the future oceans are, however, already regularly occurring in the Baltic Sea, and the system might thus work as an analogue for future ocean acidification scenarios. The characteristics of the Baltic Sea with low buffering capacity and large natural pH fluctuations, in combination with multiple other stressors, suggest that OA effects may be severe, but remain largely unexplored. A calcifying species potentially affected by low pH conditions is the bivalve Macoma balthica (L.). We investigated larval survival and development of M. balthica by exposing the larvae to a range of pH levels: 7.2, 7.4, 7.7 and 8.1 during 20 days in order to learn what the effects of reduced pH are on the larval biology and thus also potentially for the population dynamics of this key species. We found that even a slight pH decrease causes significant negative changes during the larval phase, both by slowing growth and by decreasing survival. The growth was slower in all reduced pH treatments compared to the control treatment. The size of 250 µm that is considered indicative to imminent settling in our system was reached by 22{\%} of the larvae grown in control conditions after 20 days, whereas in all reduced pH treatments the size of 250 µm was reached by only 7–14{\%}. The strong impact of ocean acidification on larvae is alarming as slowly growing individuals are exposed to higher predation risk in response to the longer time they are required to spend in the plankton, further decreasing the ecological competence of the species.",
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Effects of Reduced pH on Macoma balthica Larvae from a System with Naturally Fluctuating pH-Dynamics. / Jansson, Anna; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 6, e68198, 26.06.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effects of Reduced pH on Macoma balthica Larvae from a System with Naturally Fluctuating pH-Dynamics

AU - Jansson, Anna

AU - Norkko, Joanna

AU - Norkko, Alf

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Y1 - 2013/6/26

N2 - Ocean acidification is causing severe changes in the inorganic carbon balance of the oceans. The pH conditions predicted for the future oceans are, however, already regularly occurring in the Baltic Sea, and the system might thus work as an analogue for future ocean acidification scenarios. The characteristics of the Baltic Sea with low buffering capacity and large natural pH fluctuations, in combination with multiple other stressors, suggest that OA effects may be severe, but remain largely unexplored. A calcifying species potentially affected by low pH conditions is the bivalve Macoma balthica (L.). We investigated larval survival and development of M. balthica by exposing the larvae to a range of pH levels: 7.2, 7.4, 7.7 and 8.1 during 20 days in order to learn what the effects of reduced pH are on the larval biology and thus also potentially for the population dynamics of this key species. We found that even a slight pH decrease causes significant negative changes during the larval phase, both by slowing growth and by decreasing survival. The growth was slower in all reduced pH treatments compared to the control treatment. The size of 250 µm that is considered indicative to imminent settling in our system was reached by 22% of the larvae grown in control conditions after 20 days, whereas in all reduced pH treatments the size of 250 µm was reached by only 7–14%. The strong impact of ocean acidification on larvae is alarming as slowly growing individuals are exposed to higher predation risk in response to the longer time they are required to spend in the plankton, further decreasing the ecological competence of the species.

AB - Ocean acidification is causing severe changes in the inorganic carbon balance of the oceans. The pH conditions predicted for the future oceans are, however, already regularly occurring in the Baltic Sea, and the system might thus work as an analogue for future ocean acidification scenarios. The characteristics of the Baltic Sea with low buffering capacity and large natural pH fluctuations, in combination with multiple other stressors, suggest that OA effects may be severe, but remain largely unexplored. A calcifying species potentially affected by low pH conditions is the bivalve Macoma balthica (L.). We investigated larval survival and development of M. balthica by exposing the larvae to a range of pH levels: 7.2, 7.4, 7.7 and 8.1 during 20 days in order to learn what the effects of reduced pH are on the larval biology and thus also potentially for the population dynamics of this key species. We found that even a slight pH decrease causes significant negative changes during the larval phase, both by slowing growth and by decreasing survival. The growth was slower in all reduced pH treatments compared to the control treatment. The size of 250 µm that is considered indicative to imminent settling in our system was reached by 22% of the larvae grown in control conditions after 20 days, whereas in all reduced pH treatments the size of 250 µm was reached by only 7–14%. The strong impact of ocean acidification on larvae is alarming as slowly growing individuals are exposed to higher predation risk in response to the longer time they are required to spend in the plankton, further decreasing the ecological competence of the species.

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