Adult acclimation to combined temperature and pH stressors significantly enhances reproductive outcomes compared to short-term exposures

Type Article
Date 2015-05
Language English
Author(s) Suckling Coleen C.1, 2, 3, 4, Clark Melody S.1, Richard Joelle1, 5, Morley Simon A.1, Thorne Michael A. S.1, Harper Elizabeth M.2, Peck Lloyd S.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : British Antarctic Survey, Nat Environm Res Council, Cambridge CB3 0ET, England.
2 : Univ Cambridge, Dept Earth Sci, Cambridge CB2 3EQ, England.
3 : Bangor Univ, Sch Biol Sci, Bangor LL57 2UW, Gwynedd, Wales.
4 : Bangor Univ, Sch Ocean Sci, Menai Bridge LL59 5AB, Anglesey, Wales.
5 : Univ Bretagne Occidentale, Lab Sci Environm Marin UMR CNRS 6539, Inst Univ Europeen Mer, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
Source Journal Of Animal Ecology (0021-8790) (Wiley), 2015-05 , Vol. 84 , N. 3 , P. 773-784
DOI 10.1111/1365-2656.12316
WOS© Times Cited 124
Keyword(s) CO2, echinoderm, gonad maturation, larval development, oxygen consumption, vitellogenesis

This study examined the effects of long-term culture under altered conditions on the Antarctic sea urchin, Sterechinus neumayeri.Sterechinus neumayeri was cultured under the combined environmental stressors of lowered pH (-03 and -05 pH units) and increased temperature (+2 degrees C) for 2years. This time-scale covered two full reproductive cycles in this species and analyses included studies on both adult metabolism and larval development. Adults took at least 6-8months to acclimate to the altered conditions, but beyond this, there was no detectable effect of temperature or pH. Animals were spawned after 6 and 17months exposure to altered conditions, with markedly different outcomes. At 6months, the percentage hatching and larval survival rates were greatest in the animals kept at 0 degrees C under current pH conditions, whilst those under lowered pH and +2 degrees C performed significantly less well. After 17months, performance was not significantly different across treatments, including controls. However, under the altered conditions urchins produced larger eggs compared with control animals. These data show that under long-term culture adult S.neumayeri appear to acclimate their metabolic and reproductive physiology to the combined stressors of altered pH and increased temperature, with relatively little measureable effect. They also emphasize the importance of long-term studies in evaluating effects of altered pH, particularly in slow developing marine species with long gonad maturation times, as the effects of altered conditions cannot be accurately evaluated unless gonads have fully matured under the new conditions.

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Suckling Coleen C., Clark Melody S., Richard Joelle, Morley Simon A., Thorne Michael A. S., Harper Elizabeth M., Peck Lloyd S. (2015). Adult acclimation to combined temperature and pH stressors significantly enhances reproductive outcomes compared to short-term exposures. Journal Of Animal Ecology, 84(3), 773-784. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :