Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 1118–1129 | Cite as

Local Habitat Influences on Feeding and Respiration of the Intertidal Mussels Perumytilus purpuratus Exposed to Increased pCO2 Levels

  • Luisa M. Saavedra
  • Diego Parra
  • Valeska San Martin
  • Nelson A. Lagos
  • Cristian A. Vargas


Coastal ecosystems are exposed to changes in physical-chemical properties, such as those occurring in upwelling and freshwater-influenced areas. In these areas, inorganic carbon can influence seawater properties that may affect organisms and populations inhabiting benthic habitats such as the intertidal mussel Perumytilus purpuratus. Feeding and metabolic responses were measured in adult mussels from two geographic regions (central and southern Chile) and two local habitats (river-influenced and non-river-influenced) and three pCO2 levels (380, 750, and 1200 μatm pCO2 in seawater). The feeding rates of mussels tend to increase at high pCO2 levels in seawater; however this response was variable across regions and local habitats. In contrast, there was no difference in the respiratory rate of mussels between geographic areas, but there was a significant reduction of oxygen consumption at intermediate and high levels of pCO2. The results indicate that river-influenced organisms compensate for reductions in metabolic cost at elevated pCO2 levels by having their energy demands met, in contrast with non-river-influenced organisms. The lack of regional-scale variability in the physiological performance of mussels may indicate physiological homogeneity across populations and thus potential for local adaptation. However, the local-scale influences of river- and non-river-influenced habitats may counterbalance this regional response promoting intra-population variability and phenotypic plasticity in P. purpuratus. The plasticity may be an important mechanism that allows mussels to confront the challenges of projected ocean acidification scenarios.


Ocean acidification Perumytilus purpuratus Phenotypic plasticity 



Technical support received from the laboratory LAFE is greatly appreciated.


This work was supported by the FONDECYT grants 1090624 and 1140938 (TOA-SPACE Projects) to N. Lagos and C. Vargas, with additional support from the Millennium Nucleus “Center for the Study of Multiple-drivers on Marine Socio-Ecological Systems (MSELS),” funded by MINECON NC120086, and the Millennium Institute of Oceanography (IMO) funded by MINECON IC120019. Additional support from FONDECYT 1130254 to C. Vargas, and the Post-Doctoral FONDECYT Project 3150392 to L. Saavedra, is also acknowledged. Any data used in this paper can be obtained by contacting the corresponding author.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luisa M. Saavedra
    • 1
    • 2
  • Diego Parra
    • 1
  • Valeska San Martin
    • 1
  • Nelson A. Lagos
    • 2
    • 3
  • Cristian A. Vargas
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Aquatic Systems, Faculty of Environmental SciencesUniversidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Multiple-Drivers on Marine Socio-Ecological Systems (MUSELS)Universidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación e Innovación para el Cambio Climático (CiiCC), Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Santo TomásSantiagoChile
  4. 4.Millennium Institute of Oceanography (IMO)Universidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile

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