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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 556:223-235 (2016)  -  DOI:

Evaluating the effects of diel-cycling hypoxia and pH on growth and survival of juvenile summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus

Max I. Davidson1,*, Timothy E. Targett1, Paul A. Grecay2

1University of Delaware, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, School of Marine Science and Policy, Lewes, DE 19958, USA
2Salisbury University, Department of Biological Sciences, Salisbury, MD 21801, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Effects of diel-cycling dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH on young-of-the-year summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus were examined in laboratory experiments. Flounder were exposed to 2 cycling DO levels (extreme = 1-11 mg O2 l-1; moderate = 3-9 mg O2 l-1), 2 cycling pH levels (extreme = 6.8-8.1; moderate = 7.2-7.8), and static normoxia (7.5 mg O2 l-1) and pH (7.5) in a fully crossed 3 × 3 experimental design for 20 d. Cycling conditions reflected summertime DO and pH fluctuations in flounder nursery habitat. Experiments were conducted over 3 partial factorial trials. Growth was significantly reduced in fish exposed to the most extreme diel-cycling DO, across all pH treatments, with no consistent growth reduction in other treatments. Cycling treatments with mean daily low pH (~6.87) and high pCO2 (~10000 µatm) had neither an independent nor interactive effect, with hypoxia, on growth. Flounder exhibited growth rate recovery. Following initial growth reduction when exposed to extreme diel-cycling hypoxia and pH over Days 1-10, growth increased ~2-fold under static DO (7.5 mg O2 l-1) and pH (7.5) conditions over the following 10 d. Flounder did not exhibit growth rate acclimation, defined as increased growth during prolonged exposure, under extreme diel-cycling DO and pH for 20 d. Flounder experienced mortality (>90% of individuals) after 2-3 wk exposure to extreme diel-cycling DO and pH. These experimental results demonstrate that extreme diel-cycling DO and pH can significantly impact summer flounder growth and survival and that the growth rate reduction is driven by DO.

KEY WORDS: Diel-cycling hypoxia · Diel-cycling pH · Eutrophication · Flounder · Hypoxia · Ocean acidification

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Cite this article as: Davidson MI, Targett TE, Grecay PA (2016) Evaluating the effects of diel-cycling hypoxia and pH on growth and survival of juvenile summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 556:223-235.

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