Effects of high pCO2 on the northern krill Thysanoessa inermis in relation to carbonate chemistry of its collection area, Rijpfjorden
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Polar oceans are predicted to be the first marine environments affected by ocean acidification (OA). Thysanoessa inermis is one of the most abundant krill species in northern waters of the Atlantic and a key species in the food web of this ecosystem. Yet, we know very little about potential OA effects on this species. We studied the effects of elevated pCO2 on T. inermis in a laboratory experiment by exposing individuals for 11 weeks to low and high pCO2 (450 and 1200 µatm, respectively, n = 12 per pCO2 treatment). Survival, growth, and moulting frequency was monitored during the experiment, and feeding and oxygen consumption rates (n = 3–5 per pCO2 treatment) were measured at the end of the experiment. No significant effects of high pCO2 on survival, growth, moulting, oxygen consumption, and feeding rate were observed, indicating that T. inermis is tolerant to predicted high OA levels. We also explored physical and chemical properties of waters near the collection area of krill, Rijpfjorden (Svalbard 80° North) during the polar summer (July–August). In situ measurements showed large temperature and salinity gradients from surface to bottom and pCO2 and pH ranged, respectively, 161–417 µatm and 7.99–8.37. Even though substantial spatial variability in pCO2 could be observed, krill in this area is not confronted yet with the investigated high pCO2 levels.
We are grateful to the crew and scientists on R/V Lance for collecting and shipping krill and to the technical staff at the Austevoll Research Station of the Institute of Marine Research for making this experiment possible. This work was supported by funds from the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries. Parts of the work were supported by the Flagship research program “Ocean acidification and ecosystem effects in Northern waters” within the FRAM-High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment. E. Sperfeld acknowledges the International IGB Fellowship Program of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB, Berlin, Germany) for partial financial support.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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