Effects of reduced pH on shell integrity of a common whelk from a natural undersea CO2 vent community off Vulcano Island, Italy.

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Abstract

Hexaplex trunculus is a widespread Mediterranean gastropod mollusc that plays a crucial role in benthic ecosystem dynamics. Individuals occur in shallow, sublittoral habitats near Vulcano Island, Italy, where an undersea CO2 vent provides a gradient of seawater acidification mimicing future predicted levels of ocean acidification. Individuals were collected from three sites with declining pH [ambient ( pH 8.18), medium (pH 8.05) and low (pH 7.49)]. Dissolution of shells was clearly evident at the medium (smoothing of outer shell ) and low (pitting and holes) pH sites. Scanning electron microcroscopy will provide a qualitative comparative assessment of micro-scale impacts of shell dissolution of individuals from the three sites. X-ray diffraction will provide a quantitative comparative assessment of carbonate composition in shells of individuals from the three pH sites. This study indicates that end of century anticipated levels of ocean acidification are capable of causing severe shell damage that may render individuals more susceptible to infection and predation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-269
Number of pages1
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Volume54
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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