Using CO2 perturbation experiments, we examined the pre- and post-settlement growth responses of a dominant biofouling tubeworm (Hydroides elegans) to a range of pH. In three different experiments, embryos were reared to, or past, metamorphosis in seawater equilibrated to CO2 values of about 480 (control), 980, 1,480, and 2,300 latm resulting in pH values of around 8.1 (control), 7.9, 7.7, and 7.5, respectively. These three decreased pH conditions did not affect either embryo or larval development, but both larval calcification at the time of metamorphosis and early juvenile growth were adversely affected. During the 24-h settlement assay experiment, half of the metamorphosed larvae were unable to calcify tubes at pH 7.9 while almost no tubes were calcified at pH 7.7. Decreased ability to calcify at decreased pH may indicate that these calcifying tubeworms may be one of the highly threatened species in the future ocean.
Decreased pH does not alter metamorphosis but compromises juvenile calcification of the tube worm Hydroides elegans
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