, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 743-750

Sub-Lethal Effects of Elevated Concentration of CO2 on Planktonic Copepods and Sea Urchins

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Abstract

Data concerning the effects of high CO2 concentrations on marine organisms are essential for both predicting future impacts of the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration and assessing the effects of deep-sea CO2sequestration. Here we review our recent studies evaluating the effects of elevated CO2 concentrations in seawater on the mortality and egg production of the marine planktonic copepod, Acartia steueri, and on the fertilization rate and larval morphology of sea urchin embryos, Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus and Echinometra mathaei. Under conditions of +10,000 ppm CO2 in seawater (pH 6.8), the egg production rates of copepods decreased significantly. The survival rates of adult copepods were not affected when reared under increased CO2 for 8 days, however longer exposure times could have revealed toxic effects of elevated CO2 concentrations. The fertilization rate of sea urchin eggs of both species decreased with increasing CO2 concentration. Furthermore, the size of pluteus larvae decreased with increasing CO2 concentration and malformed skeletogenesis was observed in both larvae. This suggests that calcification is affected by elevated CO2 in the seawater. From these results, we conclude that increased CO2 concentration in seawater will chronically affect several marine organisms and we discuss the effects of increased CO2 on the marine carbon cycle and marine ecosystem.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.