Interactive effects of ocean acidification and temporal food availability on the development of Macoma balthica larvae

The interactive effects of ocean acidification and temporal food supply on larval mortality, growth rate and percentage of malformations of Macoma balthica larvae were performed for the first time. In the laboratory experiment, larvae were reared under different pH conditions (pH ~8.1 or ~7.8), food concentrations (high or low) and timing of starvation week (first, second or third). Our results indicated that acidic conditions and temporal food availability had no significant effect on larval mortality, while these factors did significantly affected growth rate and proportion of malformations. Larvae had significant lower growth rate at the low food level compared to high food concentration under similar pH conditions. The results also showed that larvae grew faster in both control and acidic treatments when they had food supply during the first and second experimental weeks implying that starvation during the third week is not crucial for larval development. Moreover, the first starvation week was critical for larvae grown under acidic conditions and had significant negative effect on their growth rates. Furthermore, the proportion of larval malformations was much higher under acidic conditions and starvation during the first week enhanced the effect even more. It was noted that food availability outweighed pH effect in our experiment. In addition, it was demonstrated that at the low food level, acidic conditions caused increase in larval growth rate in comparison to control pH level, whereas at the high food level, larvae grew faster at control pH. It was noted that food availability was a more important factor for larvae development and outweighed pH effect in our experiment. Moreover, it was demonstrated that at the low food level acidic conditions cause increase in larval growth rate in comparison to control pH level, whereas at the high food level larvae grew faster at control pH.

ISCED Categories

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0521 - Ecology", "0511 - Biology