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Impact of ocean acidification in the metabolism and swimming behavior of the dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) early larvae


Since the industrial revolution, [CO2]atm has increased from 280 μatm to levels now exceeding 380 μatm and is expected to rise to 730–1,020 μatm by the end of this century. The consequent changes in the ocean’s chemistry (e.g., lower pH and availability of the carbonate ions) are expected to pose particular problems for marine organisms, especially in the more vulnerable early life stages. The aim of this study was to investigate how the future predictions of ocean acidification may compromise the metabolism and swimming capabilities of the recently hatched larvae of the tropical dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus). Here, we show that the future environmental hypercapnia (ΔpH 0.5; 0.16 % CO2, ~1,600 μatm) significantly (p < 0.05) reduced oxygen consumption rate up to 17 %. Moreover, the swimming duration and orientation frequency also decreased with increasing pCO2 (50 and 62.5 %, respectively). We argue that these hypercapnia-driven metabolic and locomotory challenges may potentially influence recruitment, dispersal success, and the population dynamics of this circumtropical oceanic top predator.

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The authors would like to thank University of Miami Experimental Hatchery (UMEH) of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), Daniel Benetti, Carlos Reis, José Graça, and to TUNIPEX, S.A. for supplying fish eggs. The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) supported this study through a doctoral Grant SFRH/BD/81928/2011 to M.S.P. and through the projects PTDC/BIA-BEC/103266/2008 and PTDC/MAR/0908066/2008 to R.R.

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Correspondence to Marta Pimentel.

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Communicated by M. A. Peck.

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Pimentel, M., Pegado, M., Repolho, T. et al. Impact of ocean acidification in the metabolism and swimming behavior of the dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) early larvae. Mar Biol 161, 725–729 (2014).

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