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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 373:219-225 (2008)  -  DOI:

Contribution to the Theme Section ‘Effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems’


Using functional genomics to explore the effects of ocean acidification on calcifying marine organisms

Gretchen E. Hofmann1,*, Michael J. O’Donnell1,2, Anne E. Todgham1

1Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California 93106-9610, USA
2Present address: Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington, 620 University Road, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250, USA

ABSTRACT: As the research community attempts to forecast the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems, a critical element is a clear understanding of the effects of ocean acidification on an individual organism’s physiology. This article explores how the use of genomics-based tools that measure gene expression—DNA microarrays and quantitative PCR—can assist in this effort and reveal aspects of how calcifying marine organisms will respond to ocean acidification. More specifically, what stands to be gained from this approach is an understanding of the direct effects of ocean acidification and whether organisms have sufficient physiological plasticity to adapt to the altered CO2 conditions. We provide a brief overview of biomineralization processes in corals and sea urchin larvae, and then link these pathways to ways in which gene expression analysis can reveal physiological responses and mechanisms, and further, can define new testable hypotheses. In addition, we review the resources available and strategies that might be taken for each of 2 study organisms, stony corals and sea urchins. Finally, we suggest strategies for gene expression profiling in organisms that differ in availability of genomic resources.

KEY WORDS: Ocean acidification · Biomineralization · Microarrays · Calcification · Coral · Gene expression · Genomics · Sea urchin

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Cite this article as: Hofmann GE, O’Donnell MJ, Todgham AE (2008) Using functional genomics to explore the effects of ocean acidification on calcifying marine organisms. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 373:219-225.

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