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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 450 - Feature article
Green crabs Carcinus maenas prey upon hard-shelled herbivores such as periwinkles Littorina littorea, which may control benthic primary production in shallow waters.
Photo: U. Kunz

Landes A, Zimmer M


Acidification and warming affect both a calcifying predator and prey, but not their interaction


Marine ecosystems are impacted by warming and acidification of the water, which affect organisms' metabolism and growth rates, and weaken hard-shelled species through reduced availability of carbonate. Little is known about (1) the synergy of warming and acidification, and (2) how these stressors affect biotic interactions. Landes & Zimmer show that the predicted changes in seawater characteristics weaken both the claw muscles of green crabs and the shells of periwinkles. Predator–prey interactions between these 2 species, which play a role in mediating benthic primary production and community composition of coastal systems, thus remain unchanged. This implies that warming and acidification do not necessarily modify ecosystem functioning.


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