Marine Biology

, 164:107 | Cite as

High pCO2 and elevated temperature reduce survival and alter development in early life stages of the tropical sea hare Stylocheilus striatus

  • Eric J. ArmstrongEmail author
  • Trevor R. Allen
  • Maeva Beltrand
  • Vaimiti Dubousquet
  • Jonathon H. Stillman
  • Suzanne C. Mills
Original Paper


Elevated temperature (ocean warming) and reduced oceanic pH (ocean acidification) are products of increased atmospheric pCO2, and have been shown in many marine taxa to alter morphology, impede development, and reduce fitness. Here, we investigated the effects of high pCO2 and elevated temperature on developmental rate, hatching success, and veliger morphology of embryos of the tropical sea hare, Stylocheilus striatus. Exposure to high pCO2 resulted in significant developmental delays, postponing hatching by nearly 24 h, whereas exposure to elevated temperature (in isolation or in combination with high pCO2) resulted in accelerated development, with larvae reaching several developmental stages approximately 48 h in advance of controls. Hatching success was reduced by ~20 and 55% under high pCO2 and warming, respectively, while simultaneous exposure to both conditions resulted in a nearly additive 70% reduction in hatching. In addition to these ontological and lethal effects, exposure of embryos to climate change stressors resulted in significant morphological effects. Larval shells were nearly 40% smaller under high pCO2 and warming in isolation and up to 53% smaller under multi-stressor conditions. In general, elevated temperature had the largest impact on development, with temperature-effects nearly 3.5-times the magnitude of high pCO2-effects. These results indicate that oceanic conditions congruent with climate change predictions for the end of the twenty-first century suppress successful development in S. striatus embryos, potentially reducing their viability as pelagic larvae.


Ocean Acidification Hatching Success High pCO2 Elevated pCO2 Larval Shell 
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 the technicians and staff at CRIOBE, especially Franck Lerouvreur and Pascal Ung, for their assistance and support in constructing the experimental aquarium system used in this study. The authors would also like to thank Nathan Spindel and Dr. Steeve Comeau from California State University, Northridge, for providing acidified seawater for a portion of this work and for sharing their water parameter metadata and Dr. Peter Edmunds for assistance with measurement of total alkalinity. The authors are also immensely grateful for the assistance of Dr. Ricardo Beldade in collecting individuals of S. striatus from the field and Dr. David C. Howell for providing online tutorials ( for conducting non-parametric permutation testing. This work was supported by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Live and Let Die [grant ANR-11-JSV7-012-01] and Partnership University Fund of the French American Cultural Exchange (Ocean Bridges Program, and conducted with US Government support to EJA awarded by the Department of Defense, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, [32 CFR 168a].

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All applicable international and institutional guidelines for the care and permissions for the use of animals were followed during the conduct of this research. The authors declare no conflicts of interest in regards to the study presented here.

Supplementary material

227_2017_3133_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (277 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 276 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric J. Armstrong
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Trevor R. Allen
    • 1
  • Maeva Beltrand
    • 3
    • 4
  • Vaimiti Dubousquet
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jonathon H. Stillman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Suzanne C. Mills
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental StudiesSan Francisco State UniversityTiburonUSA
  3. 3.EPHE PSL Research UniversityUSR 3278 CRIOBE CNRS-UPVDMo’oreaFrench Polynesia
  4. 4.Laboratoire d’Excellence “CORAIL”Mo’oreaFrench Polynesia
  5. 5.Département de recherche agronomique appliquéeService du développement ruralPapeeteFrench Polynesia

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