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Shell Growth and Repair of Brachiopods in Acidifying Ocean Water

Paper Reviewed
Cross, E.L., Peck, L.S., Lamare, M.D. and Harper, E.M. 2016. No ocean acidification effects on shell growth and repair in the New Zealand brachiopod Calloria inconspicua (Sowerby, 1846). ICES Journal of Marine Science 73: 920-926.

In introducing their publication, Cross et al. (2016) write that little is known about the CO2-induced effects of lowered water pH or ocean acidification on Rhychonelliform brachiopods, which comprise one of the most calcium carbonate-dependent groups of marine organisms in the world because of their large skeletons. And they state that due to this fact, they conducted a CO2 perturbation experiment on the New Zealand terebratulide brachiopod Calloria inconspicua to investigate the effects of seawater pH conditions predicted for 2050 and 2100 on that species' growth rate and its ability to repair degraded shell material. And what were the fruits of their efforts?

The four researchers report that the ability to repair shell material was not affected by acidified conditions, with (1) "more than 80% of all damaged individuals at the start of the experiment completing shell repair after 12 weeks," and that (2) "growth rates in undamaged individuals greater than 3 mm in length were also not affected by lowered pH conditions," while also noting that (3) individuals less than 3 mm in length grew faster at pH 7.62 than at the ambient control pH of 8.16.

Cross et al. additionally note that (4) "overall, studies showing tolerance of marine species to ocean acidification are increasing, especially with the wider use of longer term experiments," citing the studies of Hazan et al. (2014), Suckling et al. (2014), Cross et al. (2015) and Queiros et al. (2015) as examples of this demonstrable fact. Such findings starkly contrast with the never-ending doom and gloom contentions of the world's climate alarmists on the subject of ocean acidification.

Cross, E.L., Peck, L.S. and Harper, E.M. 2015. Ocean acidification does not impact shell growth or repair of the Antarctic brachiopod Liothyrella uva (Broderip, 1833). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 462: 29-35.

Hazan, Y., Wangensteen, O.S. and Fine, M. 2014. Tough as a rock-boring urchin: adult Echinometra sp. EE from the Red Sea show high resistance to ocean acidification over long-term exposures. Marine Biology 161: 2531-2545.

Queiros, A.M., Fernandes, J.A., Faulwetter, S., Nunes, J., Rastrick, S.P., Mieszkowska, N., Artioli, Y., Yool, A., Calosi, P., Arvanitidis, C., Findlay, H.S., Barange, M., Cheung, W.W.L. and Widdicombe, S. 2015. Scaling up experimental ocean acidification and warming research: from individuals to the ecosystem. Global Change Biology 21: 130-143.

Suckling, C.C., Clark, M.S., Richard, J., Morley, S.A., Thorne, M.A.S., Harper, E.M. and Peck, L.S. 2014. Adult acclimation to combined temperature and pH stressors significantly enhances reproductive outcomes compared to short-term exposures. Journal of Animal Ecology, doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12316.

Posted 16 September 2016