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The Impact of Ocean Acidification on Japanese Carpet Shell Clams

Paper Reviewed
Velez, C., Figueira, E., Soares, A.M.V.M. and Freitas, R. 2016. Combined effects of seawater acidification and salinity changes in Ruditapes philippinarum. Aquatic Toxicology 176: 141-150.

The Japanese carpet shell clam (Ruditapes philippinarum) is a highly prized marine bivalve capable of withstanding a wide range of salinity levels. However, despite its ecological importance and consumption popularity, Velez et al. (2016) report there have been no studies conducted to date that document its response to projected seawater acidification at various salinity concentrations. Thus, the four-member Portuguese research team of Velez et al. set out to conduct just such an experiment. Specifically, they exposed R. philippinarum specimens to a combination of two pH values (7.8 and 7.3, corresponding to normal and low pH values, respectively) and three salinity levels (14, 28, and 35 parts per thousand, ppt, corresponding to low, medium and high salinities, respectively) over a period of 28 days, after which they measured a number of physiological and biochemical parameters in the clams.

So what did their analysis reveal?

Focusing primarily on pH, the authors report that at each tested salinity, "similar physiological and biochemical responses were found in clams under both tested pH levels, indicating that pH may have less impacts on clams than salinity." Such findings would therefore appear to be good news; ocean acidification will likely neither harm nor impair this important bivalve species.

Posted 1 November 2016