Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 8, pp 1913–1926 | Cite as

Effects of elevated pCO2 and the effect of parent acclimation on development in the tropical Pacific sea urchin Echinometra mathaei

  • S. Uthicke
  • N. Soars
  • S. Foo
  • M. Byrne
Original Paper


Effects of acclimation to projected near-future ocean acidification (OA) conditions on physiology, reproduction and development were investigated in the tropical sea urchin Echinometra mathaei. Following 6 weeks in control or one of the three elevated pCO2 (pHNIST 7.5–8.1; pCO2 ~485–1,770 μatm) conditions, adult urchins exhibited a slight decline of growth in low pH treatments and moderately reduced respiration at intermediate levels. At 7 weeks, gametes from adults were used to produce larvae that were reared in their respective parental treatments. To assess whether larvae from acclimated parents are more resilient to elevated pCO2 than those not acclimated, larvae from control animals were also reared in the elevated pCO2 treatments. There was no difference in female ‘spawnability’ and oocyte size between treatments, but male spawning ability was reduced in increased pCO2 conditions. In elevated pCO2 treatments, the percentage of normal larvae and larval size decreased in the progeny of control- and elevated pCO2-acclimated parents, and arm asymmetry increased. Thus, acclimation of the parents did not make the progeny more resilient or sensitive to OA effects. Negative effects of increased pCO2 on reproduction and development may impact on recruitment and population maintenance of this species.


Ocean Acidification High pCO2 Elevated pCO2 pCO2 Level Metabolic Depression 
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 are grateful to Murray Logan for help with the statistical analysis, and Florita Flores, Paolo Momigliano and Nikolas Vogel for assistance with the aquarium system. The work was supported by a Discovery Grant from the Australian Research Council and conducted with the support of funding from the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Schools of Biomedical and Biological SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Medical Sciences, F13University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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