Marine Biology

, Volume 157, Issue 7, pp 1653–1663 | Cite as

Cuttlebone calcification increases during exposure to elevated seawater pCO2 in the cephalopod Sepia officinalis

  • Magdalena A. GutowskaEmail author
  • Frank Melzner
  • Hans O. Pörtner
  • Sebastian Meier
Original Paper


Changes in seawater carbonate chemistry that accompany ongoing ocean acidification have been found to affect calcification processes in many marine invertebrates. In contrast to the response of most invertebrates, calcification rates increase in the cephalopod Sepia officinalis during long-term exposure to elevated seawater pCO2. The present trial investigated structural changes in the cuttlebones of S. officinalis calcified during 6 weeks of exposure to 615 Pa CO2. Cuttlebone mass increased sevenfold over the course of the growth trail, reaching a mean value of 0.71 ± 0.15 g. Depending on cuttlefish size (mantle lengths 44–56 mm), cuttlebones of CO2-incubated individuals accreted 22–55% more CaCO3 compared to controls at 64 Pa CO2. However, the height of the CO2-exposed cuttlebones was reduced. A decrease in spacing of the cuttlebone lamellae, from 384 ± 26 to 195 ± 38 μm, accounted for the height reduction The greater CaCO3 content of the CO2-incubated cuttlebones can be attributed to an increase in thickness of the lamellar and pillar walls. Particularly, pillar thickness increased from 2.6 ± 0.6 to 4.9 ± 2.2 μm. Interestingly, the incorporation of non-acid-soluble organic matrix (chitin) in the cuttlebones of CO2-exposed individuals was reduced by 30% on average. The apparent robustness of calcification processes in S. officinalis, and other powerful ion regulators such as decapod cructaceans, during exposure to elevated pCO2 is predicated to be closely connected to the increased extracellular [HCO3 ] maintained by these organisms to compensate extracellular pH. The potential negative impact of increased calcification in the cuttlebone of S. officinalis is discussed with regard to its function as a lightweight and highly porous buoyancy regulation device. Further studies working with lower seawater pCO2 values are necessary to evaluate if the observed phenomenon is of ecological relevance.


Organic Matrix Ocean Acidification Lamellar Spacing Mantle Length Elevated pCO2 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank M. P. and R. Chichery, Université de Caen, France, and A. Wittmann for providing S. officinalis eggs. We also extend our thanks to P. Santelices for help with the growth trial. U. Schuldt is gratefully acknowledged for her expert help with the SE micrographs. This study was supported by DAAD (MAG), the AWI ‘MARCOPOLI’ Program (MAG, HOP, FM) and the DFG Excellence Cluster ‘Future Ocean’ (FM). This work is a contribution to the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funded project “Biological Impacts of Ocean ACIDification” (BIOACID) Subproject 3.1.3 and the “European Project on Ocean Acidification” (EPOCA) that received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 211384.

Supplementary material

227_2010_1438_MOESM1_ESM.docx (682 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 681 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magdalena A. Gutowska
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Frank Melzner
    • 2
  • Hans O. Pörtner
    • 1
  • Sebastian Meier
    • 3
  1. 1.Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institute of Marine Sciences, IFM-GEOMAR, Biological OceanographyKielGermany
  3. 3.Christian Albrechts University, Institute of GeosciencesKielGermany
  4. 4.Christian Albrecht University, Institute of PhysiologyKielGermany

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