Severe tissue damage in Atlantic cod larvae under increasing ocean acidification

Andrea Y. Frommel, Rommel Maneja, David Lowe, Arne M. Malzahn, Audrey J. Geffen, Arild Folkvord, Uwe Piatkowski, Thorsten B H Reusch, Catriona Clemmesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

159 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ocean acidification, caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO 2 (refs.1-3), is one of the most critical anthropogenicthreats to marine life. Changes in seawater carbonate chemistry have the potential to disturb calcification, acid-base regulation, blood circulation and respiration, as well as the nervous system of marine organisms, leading to long-term effects such as reduced growth rates and reproduction. In teleost fishes, early life-history stages are particularly vulnerable as they lack specialized internal pH regulatory mechanisms. So far, impacts of relevant CO 2 concentrations on larval fish have been found in behaviour and otolith size, mainly in tropical, non-commercial species. Here we show detrimental effects of ocean acidification on the development of a mass-spawning fish species of high commercial importance. We reared Atlantic cod larvae at three levels of CO 2, (1) present day, (2) end of next century and (3) an extreme, coastal upwelling scenario, in a long-term (months) mesocosm experiment. Exposure to CO 2 resulted in severe to lethal tissue damage in many internal organs, with the degree of damage increasing with CO 2 concentration. As larval survival is the bottleneck to recruitment, ocean acidification has the potential to act as an additional source of natural mortality, affecting populations of already exploited fish stocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-46
Number of pages5
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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    Frommel, A. Y., Maneja, R., Lowe, D., Malzahn, A. M., Geffen, A. J., Folkvord, A., Piatkowski, U., Reusch, T. B. H., & Clemmesen, C. (2012). Severe tissue damage in Atlantic cod larvae under increasing ocean acidification. Nature Climate Change, 2(1), 42-46. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1324