Pteropod eggs released at high pCO2 lack resilience to ocean acidification

Posted on OA: 18 May 2016

 The effects of ocean acidification (OA) on the early recruitment of pteropods in the Scotia Sea, was investigated considering the process of spawning, quality of the spawned eggs and their capacity to develop. Maternal OA stress was induced on female pteropods (Limacina helicina antarctica) through exposure to present day pCO2 conditions and two potential future OA states (750 μatm and 1200 μatm). The eggs spawned from these females, both before and during their exposure to OA, were incubated themselves in this same range of conditions (embryonic OA stress). Maternal OA stress resulted in eggs with lower carbon content, while embryonic OA stress retarded development. The combination of maternal and embryonic OA stress reduced the percentage of eggs successfully reaching organogenesis by 80%. We propose that OA stress not only affects the somatic tissue of pteropods but also the functioning of their gonads. Corresponding in-situ sampling found that post-larval L. helicina antarctica concentrated around 600 m depth, which is deeper than previously assumed. A deeper distribution makes their exposure to waters undersaturated for aragonite more likely in the near future given that these waters are predicted to shoal from depth over the coming decades.


Manno C., Peck V. L. & Tarling G. A., 2016. Pteropod eggs released at high pCO2 lack resilience to ocean acidification. Scientific Reports 6:25752. Article.