Marine Biology

, Volume 157, Issue 9, pp 2001–2013 | Cite as

Interaction of ocean acidification and temperature; the high cost of survival in the brittlestar Ophiura ophiura

  • Hannah L. WoodEmail author
  • J. I. Spicer
  • D. M. Lowe
  • S. Widdicombe
Original Paper


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.


Calcium Carbonate Ocean Acidification Epithelium Thickness Muscle Density Experimental Tray 
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.



The authors thank the crew of RV Sepia for assistance with animal collection, Lara Clark and Helen Findlay for their help in the laboratory and Paul Somerfield for statistical advice. In addition, we are grateful to Chris Hauton and the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and constructive criticisms on an earlier draft of this paper. This work contributes to the NERC funded program Oceans 2025 (Theme 3—Coastal and shelf processes). This work is also a contribution to the “European Project on Ocean Acidification” (EPOCA) which received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 211384.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah L. Wood
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • J. I. Spicer
    • 2
  • D. M. Lowe
    • 1
  • S. Widdicombe
    • 1
  1. 1.Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect PlaceWest Hoe, PlymouthUK
  2. 2.Marine Biology & Ecology Research CentreUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK
  3. 3.Department of Marine Ecology—KristinebergUniversity of GothenburgFiskebäckskilSweden

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