Marine Biology

, 163:207 | Cite as

Metabolic responses of the North Pacific krill, Euphausia pacifica, to short- and long-term pCO2 exposure

Original paper


While ocean acidification is likely to have major effects on many marine organisms, those species that regularly experience variable pCO2 environments may be more tolerant of future predicted changes in ocean chemistry. Euphausia pacifica is an abundant krill species along the Pacific coast of North America and one that regularly experiences varying pCO2 levels during seasonal upwelling, as well as during daily vertical migrations to depth where pCO2 is higher. Krill were collected from Monterey Bay, California (36.8°N, 121.9°W), and experiments were performed from June to August 2014 and maintained at two pCO2 levels (400 and 1200 µatm). Three metabolic responses (oxygen consumption, ingestion rate, and nutrient excretion rates) of E. pacifica were measured. Oxygen consumption declined by 31 % in the first 24 h following exposure to high pCO2 and remained low after 21 days. Oxygen consumption at low pCO2 was low for the first 12 h, increased by 34 % at 24 h, but returned to initial values by 21 days. After 3 weeks of continuous exposure, oxygen consumption rates were 32 % lower in the high pCO2 group. Ingestion and ammonium excretion rates were both significantly lower in the high pCO2 group after 24-h exposure, but not after 7 or 21 days. There was no effect of pCO2 on phosphate excretion. Taken together, these results indicate that E. pacifica has a lower metabolic rate during both short-term (24 h) and longer-term (21 days) exposure to high pCO2. Such metabolic depression may explain previously reported declines in growth of E. pacifica exposed to high pCO2.


Phytoplankton Oxygen Consumption Rate Ocean Acidification Ammonium Excretion High pCO2 
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 would like to thank Luis Hernandez, Honor Weber, and Sarah Dondelinger for laboratory help and assistance with water chemistry analyses; Dave Benet and Steve Clabuesch for assistance in building the pCO2-air mixing system and with krill collections; Betsy Steele for culturing phytoplankton and general laboratory guidance; and Rob Franks for assistance with nutrient and chemical analyses.


This study was funded through awards from the NOAA West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center (project FP12783A) and NSF (OCE-1040952) to A. Paytan, a UCSC Committee on Research grant and a gift from the Mitsubishi corporation to D. Potts, and awards to H. Cooper from the Friends of Long Marine Laboratory, Meyers Trust, and the UCSC 503 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of California Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Marine SciencesUniversity of California Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA

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