Interaction of ocean acidification and temperature; the high cost of survival in the brittlestar Ophiura ophiura
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- Wood, H.L., Spicer, J.I., Lowe, D.M. et al. Mar Biol (2010) 157: 2001. doi:10.1007/s00227-010-1469-6
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This study has demonstrated an interaction between the effect of increased ocean acidity and temperature (40 days exposure) on a number of key physiological parameters in the ophiuroid brittlestar, Ophiura ophiura. Metabolic upregulation is seen in the low pH treatments when combined with low temperature. However, this is far outweighed by the response to elevated temperature (+4.5°C). In the high temperature/low pH treatments treatments (where calcite is undersaturated) there appears to be an energetic trade-off likely in order to maintain net calcification where dissolution of calcium carbonate may occur. This energy deficit results in a ~30% reduction in the rate of arm regeneration at pH 7.3 which is predicted to be reached by the year 2300. This understanding of how O. ophiura responds to ocean acidification, taking into account an interactive effect of temperature, suggests that fitness and survival may indirectly be reduced through slower recovery from arm damage.