MEPS - Vol. 334 - Feature article

The benthic deep-sea Tanner crab Chionoecetes tanneri at 1000 m depth in Monterey Canyon. Photo: MBARI (2006)

Pane EF, Barry JP

 

Extracellular acid-base regulation during short-term hypercapnia is effective in a shallow-water crab, but ineffective in a deep-sea crab

 

Deep-sea ecosystems may be threatened by the ocean’s large-scale absorption, as well as by possible future anthropogenic sequestration of atmospheric CO2, which will result in long-term acidification of the water. Deep-sea animals are adapted to stable water chemistry, and are expected to be vulnerable to hypercapnic acidification. Pane & Barry assessed the acid–base regulatory capacity of a deep-sea crab species from Monterey Canyon, Chionoecetes tanneri, and compared it to that of a shallow-water species, Cancer magister. The deep-sea species was unable to regulate extracellular pH during short-term CO2 exposure. This supports the hypothesis that hypercapnia will have a profound physiological impact on deep-sea organisms.

 

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