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Ocean acidification has lethal and sub-lethal effects on larval development of yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares

Journal article
Authors A. Y. Frommel
D. Margulies
J. B. Wexler
M. S. Stein
V. P. Scholey
J. E. Williamson
D. Bromhead
S. Nicol
Jonathan N. Havenhand
Published in Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume 482
Pages 18-24
ISSN 0022-0981
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory
Pages 18-24
Language en
Keywords Histology, Organ damage, CO2, pH, Pacific Ocean, coral-reefs, system, biogeochemistry, performance, pacific, carbon, damage, fish, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, Marine & Freshwater Biology
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Ocean acidification (OA), the process by which increasing atmospheric CO2 is absorbed by the ocean, lowering the pH of surface waters, has been shown to affect many marine organisms negatively. It has been suggested that organisms from regions with naturally low pH waters, such as upwelling areas, could serve as models for future effects of OA and may be adapted to increased pCO(2) levels. In this study, we examined the effects of OA on yellowfin tuna, a highly pelagic species that spawns in the eastern tropical Pacific, an area that includes regions of strong upwelling events. Larvae reared at decreasing pH levels (pH 8.1, 7.6, 7.3 and 6.9) showed increasing organ damage in the kidney, liver, pancreas, eye and muscle, which correlated with decreased growth and survival. These findings complement earlier studies on organ damage in Atlantic cod and herring larvae and demonstrate that OA may have detrimental effects on fish larvae, regardless of their pre-exposure to low pH waters.

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