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AEI 10:267-278 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00271

High pCO2 levels affect metabolic rate, but not feeding behavior and fitness, of farmed giant mussel Choromytilus chorus

Samanta Benítez1,2, Nelson A. Lagos1,2, Sebastián Osores3, Tania Opitz3, Cristian Duarte2,4, Jorge M. Navarro5, Marco A. Lardies2,3,*

1Centro de Investigación e Innovación para el Cambio Climático (CiiCC), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Santo Tomás, 837003 Santiago, Chile
2Center for the Study of Multiple-drivers on Marine Socio-ecological Systems (MUSELS), Universidad de Concepción, 4070386 Concepción, Chile
3Facultad de Artes Liberales, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, 7941169 Santiago, Chile
4Departamento de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Facultad de Ecología y Recursos Naturales, Universidad Andrés Bello, 8370035 Santiago, Chile
5Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Limnológicas & Centro Fondap de Investigación de Ecosistemas Marinos de Altas Latitudes (IDEAL), Universidad Austral de Chile, 5110566 Valdivia, Chile
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Benthic habitats such as intertidal areas, sandy or rocky shores, upwelling zones, and estuaries are characterized by variable environmental conditions. This high variability of environmental stressors such as temperature, salinity, and pH/ pCO2 levels have been shown to impose restrictions on organismal performance. The giant mussel Choromytilus chorus forms intertidal and subtidal mussel beds in estuarine zones associated with fjords occurring in southern Chile and is an important aquacultural resource in Patagonia. In this study, we estimated the sensitivity of physiological traits and energy balance of C. chorus juveniles exposed to 3 pCO2 treatments (500, 750, and 1200 µatm) for 30 d. Results showed that in acidified, high pCO2 conditions, C. chorus juveniles had increased metabolic rates; however, other physiological traits (clearance and ingestion rates, ammonia excretion, absorption efficiency, growth rate, biomass production, net calcification, and dissolution rates) were not affected. These results suggest that when subjected to acidification, the adaptive response of C. chorus triggers tradeoffs among physiological traits that favor sustained feeding and growth in order to combat increased metabolic stress. As has been reported for other marine organisms, chronic exposure to variable pH/ pCO2 in their native habitats, such as estuarine zones, could explain the differential acclimatization capacity of giant mussels to cope with the increase in pCO2. Additionally, the fact that the mussels did not suffer from mortality indicates that increased pCO2 levels may have chronic, but not lethal, effects on this species under these experimental conditions.


KEY WORDS: Estuaries · pH · Physiological traits · Acclimation · Phenotypic plasticity · Aquaculture


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Cite this article as: Benítez S, Lagos NA, Osores S, Opitz T, Duarte C, Navarro JM, Lardies MA (2018) High pCO2 levels affect metabolic rate, but not feeding behavior and fitness, of farmed giant mussel Choromytilus chorus. Aquacult Environ Interact 10:267-278. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00271

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