How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Elevated CO2 and Warming Impacts on Australian Jumping Snail

Paper Reviewed
Lefevre, S., Watson, S.-A, Munday, P.L. and Nilsson, G.E. 2015. Will jumping snails prevail? Influence of near-future CO2, temperature and hypoxia on respiratory performance in the tropical conch Gibberulus gibberulus gibbosus. Journal of Experimental Biology 218: 2991-3001.

Introducing their study of potential future problems for tropical reef organisms in a CO2-enriched and warmer world, Lefevre et al. (2015) write that little is known about the thermal sensitivity of gastropods such as the humpbacked conch (Gibberulus gibberulus gibbosus) -- known more affectionately as the "jumping snail" -- which inhabits the intertidal zones of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. And, therefore, choosing to work with this particular species of snail, they investigated the effects of present-day ambient (417-454 ppm) and projected-future (955-987 ppm) atmospheric CO2 concentrations, along with both present-day ambient (28°C) or projected-future (33°C) temperature, on its members' respiratory performance.

This work revealed, as the four scientists report, that "there was no effect of elevated CO2 on respiratory performance at any temperature," and that "long-term temperature records and our field measurements suggest that habitat temperature rarely exceeds 32.6°C during the summer, indicating that these snails have aerobic capacity in excess of current and future needs."

Posted 1 March 2016