AB 2:67-74 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/ab00037

Effects of ocean acidification on the immune response of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis

Ruth Bibby1,2, Steve Widdicombe1,*, Helen Parry1, John Spicer2, Richard Pipe3

1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, West Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
2Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
3The Marine Biological Association, Citadel Hill, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The effects of medium term (32 d) hypercapnia on the immune response of Mytilus edulis were investigated in mussels exposed to acidified (using CO2) sea water (pH 7.7, 7.5 or 6.7; control: pH 7.8). Levels of phagocytosis increased significantly during the exposure period, suggesting an immune response induced by the experimental set-up. However, this induced stress response was suppressed when mussels were exposed to acidified sea water. Acidified sea water did not have any significant effects on other immuno-surveillance parameters measured (superoxide anion production, total and differential cell counts). These results suggest that ocean acidification may impact the physiological condition and functionality of the haemocytes and could have a significant effect on cellular signalling pathways, particularly those pathways that rely on specific concentrations of calcium, and so may be disrupted by calcium carbonate shell dissolution.

KEY WORDS: Mytilus edulis · Ocean acidification · Carbon capture and storage · Seawater pH · Immune response · Phagocytosis

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Cite this article as: Bibby R, Widdicombe S, Parry H, Spicer J, Pipe R (2008) Effects of ocean acidification on the immune response of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Aquat Biol 2:67-74

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