Dec 5, 2013

Ocean acidification and fertilization in the antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri: the importance of polyspermy

Environmental Science & Technology
Mary A SewellGretchen E Hofmann


Ocean acidification (OA), the reduction of the seawater pH as a result of increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, is an important climate change stressor in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic. We examined the impact of OA on fertilization success in the Antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri using pH treatment conditions reflective of the current and near-future "pH seascape" for this species: current (control: pH 8.052, 384.1 μatm of pCO2), a high CO2 treatment approximating the 0.2-0.3 unit decrease in pH predicted for 2100 (high CO2: pH 7.830, 666.0 μatm of pCO2), and an intermediate medium CO2 (pH 7.967, 473.4 μatm of pCO2). Using a fertilization kinetics approach and mixed-effect models, we observed significant variation in the OA response between individual male/female pairs (N = 7) and a significant population-level increase (70-100%) in tb (time for a complete block to polyspermy) at medium and high CO2, a mechanism that potentially explains the higher levels of abnormal development seen in OA conditions. However, two pairs showed higher fertilization success with CO2 treatment and a nonsignificant effect. Future studies should focus on the mechanisms and levels of interindividual variability in OA response, so that we ...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Degenerative Polyarthritis
Acidification - ActCode
Sterechinus neumayeri
Sea urchin (invertebrate)
Climate Change
Carbon Dioxide
Polyspermic Fertilization

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