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Combined Ocean Acidification and Warming Effects on Sea Urchins

Paper Reviewed
Garcia, E., Clemente, S. and Hernandez, J.C. 2015. Ocean warming ameliorates the negative effects of ocean acidification on Paracentrotus lividus larval development and settlement. Marine Environmental Research 110: 61-68.

In a study published in Marine Environmental Research, Garcia et al. (2015) describe how they evaluated the combined effects of predicted ocean warming and acidification on the survival, development and settlement of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, based on nine different combinations of three temperatures (19.0, 20.5 and 22.5°C) and three pH values (8.1, 7.7 and 7.4 units).

As for what they learned from this effort in terms of the sea urchins' reactions to these nine different treatments, the three Spanish researchers report that P. lividus was (1) "widely tolerant to a range of temperature and pH scenarios, representative of current and future predicted conditions," that (2) "the species' performance, in terms of larval growth and development, was enhanced by a slight increase in temperature, up from the control temperature of 19°C," and that (3) "a slight increase in temperature even mitigated the negative effects of low pH (7.4)," which further suggests, as they write, that (4) "rising sea surface temperature may counteract some of the negative effects of ocean acidification for this species."

And if P. lividus can do this well immediately and from scratch, so to speak, who knows but what it may be able to do even better, by gradually and positively evolving in response to even greater speculated increases in ocean temperature and acidification.

Posted 12 February 2016