Nav: Home

Ocean acidification harms cod larvae more than previously thought

February 19, 2019

Acidification is, next to rising temperatures and dwindling oxygen concentrations, one of the major threats to marine life due to the changing global climate. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are rising and the ocean therefore takes up increasing amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere as well. The reaction of carbon dioxide with the water forms carbonic acid, the pH is lowered - the ocean becomes more acidic.

To what extent and how ocean acidification affects the marine ecosystem as a whole is incredibly hard to predict, but evidence is accumulating that some species are affected adversely. One of these species is the Atlantic cod. A new scientific study, which was just published in the scientific journal Global Change Biology by scientists from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel with colleagues from France and Norway, as well as previously published articles show that the high carbon dioxide concentrations damage this species, particularly the early life stages, like eggs and larvae.

The previously published paper by these scientists has shown that due to ocean acidification less cod larvae survive, which means less individuals mature and reproduce. "So far, we liked to believe that at least the larvae that survived would be able to deal with these conditions," says Dr. Martina Stiasny from GEOMAR, first author of this study, "and could have across generations allowed the species to adapt". The results of the new study defeat this hope.

It shows that even the surviving larvae have significant organ damages and developmental delays. "Especially the development of the gills is worrying. Compared to the body size, they are underdeveloped," explains Dr. Catriona Clemmesen, corresponding author of the study and leader of the larval ecology group at GEOMAR. Gills, like the lungs in humans, are an extremely important organ, which not only regulates the oxygen uptake, but in fish is also responsible for the adjustment of the internal pH. Underdeveloped gills are therefore likely to negatively affect the individuals throughout their development and following life stages.

Another paper, published last year in Scientific Reports, has already shown that the acclimation of the parental generation to high carbon dioxide concentrations only yields a benefit to the offspring, if prey concentrations are very high. "These ideal situations are very unlikely to be encountered by the larvae in nature", says Dr. Clemmesen. In more realistic food conditions, exposing the parental generation to acidification lead to an even worse health status of the larvae.

"Our results are of particular importance, since the Atlantic cod is one of the most important commercial fish species worldwide. It therefore not only supports a large fishing industry but is furthermore an important source of protein for many people", summarizes Dr. Stiasny. "Dwindling populations would have far reaching consequences not only for the environment and marine ecosystems, but also for the fishermen, the industry and human nutrition".
-end-


Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)

Related Ocean Acidification Articles:

Ocean acidification prediction now possible years in advance
CU Boulder researchers have developed a method that could enable scientists to accurately forecast ocean acidity up to five years in advance.
Ocean acidification impacts oysters' memory of environmental stress
Researchers from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences have discovered that ocean acidification impacts the ability of some oysters to pass down 'memories' of environmental trauma to their offspring.
Coral 'helper' stays robust under ocean acidification
A type of algae crucial to the survival of coral reefs may be able to resist the impacts of ocean acidification caused by climate change.
Ocean acidification is damaging shark scales
Sharks have unusual type of scales referred to as 'denticles.' A research group from South Africa and Germany that includes Jacqueline Dziergwa and Professor Dr.
New threat from ocean acidification emerges in the Southern Ocean
Scientists investigating the effect of ocean acidification on diatoms, a key group of microscopic marine organisms, phytoplankton, say they have identified a new threat from climate change -- ocean acidification is negatively impacting the extent to which diatoms in Southern Ocean waters incorporate silica into their cell walls.
Coral skeleton crystals record ocean acidification
The acidification of the oceans is recorded in the crystals of the coral skeleton.
Ocean acidification 'could have consequences for millions'
Ocean acidification could have serious consequences for the millions of people globally whose lives depend on coastal protection, fisheries and aquaculture, a new publication suggests.
Southern Ocean acidification puts marine organisms at risk
New research co-authored by University of Alaska indicates that acidification of the Southern Ocean will cause a layer of water to form below the surface that corrodes the shells of some sea snails.
Ocean acidification harms cod larvae more than previously thought
The Atlantic cod is one of the most important commercial fish species in the world.
Business as usual for Antarctic krill despite ocean acidification
A new IMAS-led study has found that Antarctic krill are resilient to the increasing acidification of the ocean as it absorbs more C02 from the atmosphere due to anthropogenic carbon emissions.
More Ocean Acidification News and Ocean Acidification Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

TED Radio Wow-er
School's out, but many kids–and their parents–are still stuck at home. Let's keep learning together. Special guest Guy Raz joins Manoush for an hour packed with TED science lessons for everyone.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.