Pacific geoduck (Panopea generosa) resilience to natural pH variation

Pacific geoduck aquaculture is a growing industry, however little is known about how geoduck respond to varying environmental conditions, or how production might be impacted by low pH associated with ocean acidification. Ocean acidification research is increasingly incorporating multiple environmental drivers and natural pH variability into biological response studies for more complete understanding of the effects of projected ocean conditions. In this study, eelgrass habitats and environmental heterogeneity across four estuarine bays were leveraged to examine low pH effects on geoduck under different natural regimes, using proteomics to assess physiology. Juvenile geoduck were deployed in eelgrass and adjacent unvegetated habitats for 30 days while pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and salinity were monitored. Across the four bays pH was lower in unvegetated habitats compared to eelgrass habitats, however this did not impact geoduck growth, survival, or proteomic expression patterns. However, across all sites temperature and dissolved oxygen corresponded to growth and protein expression patterns. Specifically, three protein abundance levels (trifunctional-enzyme β-subunit, puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase, and heat shock protein 90-⍺) and shell 16 growth positively correlated with dissolved oxygen variability and inversely correlated with mean 17 temperature. These results demonstrate that geoduck are resilient to low pH in a natural setting, 18 and other abiotic factors (i.e. temperature, dissolved oxygen variability) may have a greater 19 influence on geoduck physiology. In addition this study contributes to the understanding of how 20 eelgrass patches influences water chemistry.

Spencer L. H., Horwith M., Lowe A. T., Venkataraman Y. R., Timmins-Schiffman E., Nunn B. L. & Roberts S. B., 2018. Pacific geoduck (Panopea generosa) resilience to natural pH variation. bioRxiv. Article.