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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Exposure to elevated pCO2 does not exacerbate reproductive suppression of Aurelia aurita jellyfish polyps in low oxygen environments

Laura M. Treible1,2,*, Kylie A. Pitt2, Shannon G. Klein2,3, Robert H. Condon1,4 

1Center for Marine Science, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina 28409, USA
2Australian Rivers Institute - Coasts and Estuaries, Griffith School of Environment, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Southport, 4222 Queensland, Australia
3King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Red Sea Research Center (RSRC), Thuwal, 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
4Young Scientist Academy, Wilmington, North Carolina 28409, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Eutrophication-induced hypoxia is one of the primary anthropogenic threats to coastal ecosystems. Under hypoxic conditions, a deficit of O2 and a surplus of CO2 will concurrently decrease pH, yet studies of hypoxia have seldom considered the potential interactions with elevated pCO2 (reduced pH). Previous studies on gelatinous organisms concluded that they are fairly robust to low oxygen and reduced pH conditions individually, yet the combination of stressors has only been examined for ephyrae. The goals of this study were to determine the individual and interactive effects of hypoxia and elevated pCO2 on the asexual reproduction and aerobic respiration rates of polyps of the scyphozoan Aurelia aurita during a manipulative experiment that ran for 36 d. pCO2 and pO2 were varied on a diel basis to closely mimic the diel conditions observed in the field. Exposure to low dissolved oxygen (DO) reduced asexual budding of polyps by ~50% relative to control conditions. Under hypoxic conditions, rates of respiration were elevated during an initial acclimation period (until Day 8), but respiration rates did not differ between DO levels under prolonged exposure. There was no significant effect of increased pCO2 on either asexual reproduction or aerobic respiration, suggesting that elevated pCO2 (reduced pH) did not exacerbate the negative reproductive effects of hypoxia on A. aurita polyps.

KEY WORDS: Hypoxia · Ocean acidification · Scyphozoan · Aerobic respiration

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Cite this article as: Treible LM, Pitt KA, Klein SG, Condon RH (2017) Exposure to elevated pCO2 does not exacerbate reproductive suppression of Aurelia aurita jellyfish polyps in low oxygen environments. Mar Ecol Prog Ser

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