No ocean acidification effects on shell growth and repair in the New Zealand brachiopod Calloria inconspicua (Sowerby, 1846)
Surface seawaters are becoming more acidic due to the absorption of rising anthropogenic CO2. Marine calcifiers are considered to be the most vulnerable organisms to ocean acidification due to the reduction in the availability of carbonate ions for shell or skeletal production. Rhychonelliform brachiopods are potentially one of the most calcium carbonate-dependent groups of marine organisms because of their large skeletal content. Little is known, however, about the effects of lowered pH on these taxa. A CO2 perturbation experiment was performed on the New Zealand terebratulide brachiopod Calloria inconspicua to investigate the effects of pH conditions predicted for 2050 and 2100 on the growth rate and ability to repair shell. Three treatments were used: an ambient pH control (pH 8.16), a mid-century scenario (pH 7.79), and an end-century scenario (pH 7.62). The ability to repair shell was not affected by acidified conditions with >80% of all damaged individuals at the start of the experiment completing shell repair after 12 weeks. Growth rates in undamaged individuals >3 mm in length were also not affected by lowered pH conditions, whereas undamaged individuals <3 mm grew faster at pH 7.62 than the control. The capability of C. inconspicua to continue shell production and repair under acidified conditions suggests that this species has a robust control over the calcification process, where suitable conditions at the site of calcification can be generated across a range of pH conditions.
Authors: Cross, E. L., Peck, L. S., Lamare, M. D., Harper, E. M.