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Food web changes under ocean acidification promote herring larvae survival

Citation

Sswat, M and Stiasny, MH and Taucher, J and Alguero-Muniz, M and Bach, LT and Jutfelt, F and Riebesell, U and Clemmesen, C, Food web changes under ocean acidification promote herring larvae survival, Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2 pp. 836-840. ISSN 2397-334X (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0514-6

Abstract

Ocean acidification—the decrease in seawater pH due to rising CO2 concentrations—has been shown to lower survival in early life stages of fish and, as a consequence, the recruitment of populations including commercially important species. To date, ocean-acidification studies with fish larvae have focused on the direct physiological impacts of elevated CO2, but largely ignored the potential effects of ocean acidification on food web interactions. In an in situ mesocosm study on Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) larvae as top predators in a pelagic food web, we account for indirect CO2 effects on larval survival mediated by changes in food availability. The community was exposed to projected end-of-the-century CO2 conditions (~760 µatm pCO2) over a period of 113 days. In contrast with laboratory studies that reported a decrease in fish survival, the survival of the herring larvae in situ was significantly enhanced by 19 ± 2%. Analysis of the plankton community dynamics suggested that the herring larvae benefitted from a CO2-stimulated increase in primary production. Such indirect effects may counteract the possible direct negative effects of ocean acidification on the survival of fish early life stages. These findings emphasize the need to assess the food web effects of ocean acidification on fish larvae before we can predict even the sign of change in fish recruitment in a high-CO2 ocean.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ocean acidification, plankton, fish
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological Oceanography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences
UTAS Author:Bach, LT (Dr Lennart Bach)
ID Code:133670
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2019-07-05
Last Modified:2019-08-13
Downloads:0

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