Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ocean acidification will seriously impact mussel populations

14.07.2011
Concerns for mussels as larvae will be smaller and weaker in acidic future

Since the birth of the industrial revolution, ocean pH has dropped by 0.1 units. That might not sound like much until you realise that a 0.1 unit fall is a 30% increase in acidity. And, with predictions that ocean pH will continue plummeting, ecologists are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of ocean acidification on marine populations.

Brian Gaylord and his colleagues from the University of California at Davis explain that the open-coast mussel, Mytilus californianus, is a foundation species for many coastal ecosystems on the exposed northwestern coasts of North America, yet no one knew how ocean acidification might affect this keystone organism. So, the team decided to find out how a fall in pH might impinge on the earliest settlers to colonise an exposed rocky outcrop, M. californianus larvae, and publish their discovery that the larvae are significantly weakened by ocean acidification in The Journal of Experimental Biology at http://jeb.biologists.org/content/214/15/2586.abstract.

Growing freshly fertilized M. californianus larvae in seawater laced with carbon dioxide ranging from the modern level of 380 p.p.m.CO2 up to a 'fossil-fuel intensive' scenario of 970 p.p.m.CO2, the team allowed the larvae to develop for 8 days. Then they analysed the strength, size and thickness of the larvae's shells and found that acidification of the mollusc's seawater has a strong impact on shell strength. Shockingly, the shells of 5 day old larvae raised in 970 p.p.m.CO2 were 20% weaker than those of larvae reared at the current CO2 level, while the shells of larvae reared at 540 p.p.m.CO2 were only 13% weaker. The team also found that after 8 days at 970 p.p.m.CO2 the shells were up to 15% thinner and 5% smaller, and the body masses of the molluscs within the shell were as much as 33% smaller than those of mussels grown at modern CO2 levels.

'The observed ocean acidification-induced decrease in shell integrity in M. californianus represents a clear decline in function,' say Gaylord and his colleagues, who also warn that, 'Such reductions may in fact be common in bivalves.' Outlining the potential ecological consequences of ocean acidification, the team suspects that larvae weakened by rising CO2 levels could develop more slowly or, alternatively, they could be more vulnerable to predation, more susceptible to stress and at greater risk of desiccation. Ultimately these factors could conspire to reduce the mussel's survival and destroy the delicate balance that exists in today's coastal ecosystems.

IF REPORTING ON THIS STORY, PLEASE MENTION THE JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY AS THE SOURCE AND, IF REPORTING ONLINE, PLEASE CARRY A LINK TO: http://jeb.biologists.org

REFERENCE: Gaylord, B., Hill, T. M., Sanford, E., Lenz, E. A., Jacobs, L. A., Sato, K. N., Russell, A. D. and Hettinger, A. (2011). Functional impacts of ocean acidification in an ecologically critical foundation species. J. Exp. Biol. 214, 2586-2594.

This article is posted on this site to give advance access to other authorised media who may wish to report on this story. Full attribution is required, and if reporting online a link to jeb.biologists.com is also required. The story posted here is COPYRIGHTED. Therefore advance permission is required before any and every reproduction of each article in full. PLEASE CONTACT permissions@biologists.com

Kathryn Knight | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.biologists.com
http://jeb.biologists.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flavins keep a handy helper in their pocket
25.04.2018 | University of Freiburg

nachricht Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>