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Habitat traits and food availability determine the response of marine invertebrates to ocean acidification

Authors

  • Christian Pansch,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Marine Ecology, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
    2. Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences – Tjärnö, University of Gothenburg, Strömstad, Sweden
    • Correspondence: Christian Pansch, tel. +46 317869679, fax +46 317861333, e-mail: ch.pansch@gmail.com

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  • Iris Schaub,

    1. Department of Marine Ecology, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
    2. Institute of Biological Sciences, Marine Biology, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany
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  • Jonathan Havenhand,

    1. Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences – Tjärnö, University of Gothenburg, Strömstad, Sweden
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  • Martin Wahl

    1. Department of Marine Ecology, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
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Abstract

Energy availability and local adaptation are major components in mediating the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on marine species. In a long-term study, we investigated the effects of food availability and elevated pCO2 (ca. 400, 1000 and 3000 μatm) on growth of newly settled Amphibalanus (Balanus) improvisus to reproduction, and on their offspring. We also compared two different populations, which were presumed to differ in their sensitivity to pCO2 due to differing habitat conditions: Kiel Fjord, Germany (Western Baltic Sea) with naturally strong pCO2 fluctuations, and the Tjärnö Archipelago, Sweden (Skagerrak) with far lower fluctuations. Over 20 weeks, survival, growth, reproduction and shell strength of Kiel barnacles were all unaffected by elevated pCO2, regardless of food availability. Moulting frequency and shell corrosion increased with increasing pCO2 in adults. Larval development and juvenile growth of the F1 generation were tolerant to increased pCO2, irrespective of parental treatment. In contrast, elevated pCO2 had a strong negative impact on survival of Tjärnö barnacles. Specimens from this population were able to withstand moderate levels of elevated pCO2 over 5 weeks when food was plentiful but showed reduced growth under food limitation. Severe levels of elevated pCO2 negatively impacted growth of Tjärnö barnacles in both food treatments. We demonstrate a conspicuously higher tolerance to elevated pCO2 in Kiel barnacles than in Tjärnö barnacles. This tolerance was carried over from adults to their offspring. Our findings indicate that populations from fluctuating pCO2 environments are more tolerant to elevated pCO2 than populations from more stable pCO2 habitats. We furthermore provide evidence that energy availability can mediate the ability of barnacles to withstand moderate CO2 stress. Considering the high tolerance of Kiel specimens and the possibility to adapt over many generations, near future OA alone does not seem to present a major threat for A. improvisus.

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