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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 606:237-257 (2018)  -  DOI:

Effects of ocean acidification on the settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrate and fish larvae: a review

Nadjejda Espinel-Velasco1,*, Linn Hoffmann2, Antonio Agüera3, Maria Byrne4, Sam Dupont5, Sven Uthicke6, Nicole S. Webster6,7, Miles Lamare1

1Department of Marine Science, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
2Department of Botany, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
3Danish Shellfish Centre, DTU Aqua, Technical University of Denmark, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, 7900 Nykøbing Mors, Denmark
4School of Medical Sciences and School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
5Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, The Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Infrastructure—Kristineberg, 45178 Fiskebäckskil, Sweden
6Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Cape Cleveland 4810, Queensland, Australia
7Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Brisbane, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Most marine organisms present an indirect lifecycle where a planktonic larval stage reaches competency before settling to the substrate and metamorphosing. Despite the critical importance of these early life history stages, little is known about how global change-related stressors, in particular ocean acidification (OA), affect marine larval settlement and metamorphosis. To date, 48 studies have investigated the effects of OA on larval settlement, focussing mostly on tropical corals (16), echinoderms (11) and fish (8). Most studies show negative effects of OA during settlement and post-settlement processes. For instance, reduced settlement is typically seen along natural pH gradients and in experimentally lowered pH treatments. This generally results in reduced settlement selectivity and metamorphosis and poorer post-settlement fitness. Carryover effects of OA exposure can also occur, with larval environmental history influencing early post-settlement performance. We conclude that OA may (1) alter larval supply for settlement by altering horizontal swimming behaviour or vertical migration; (2) directly influence settlement success through changes in the nature and distribution of suitable settlement substrates (e.g. biofilm, crustose coralline algae); and (3) mediate carryover effects at settlement by altering larval development or larval energy budgets. In contrast to fish larvae, there is little evidence for most invertebrate larvae that their perception of settlement cues is directly influenced by reduced pH. A summation of how OA affects the settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrates is timely, since altered settlement rates will influence the future distributions, abundances and ecology of marine benthic communities.

KEY WORDS: Ocean acidification · Settlement · Metamorphosis · Larvae · Recruitment

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Cite this article as: Espinel-Velasco N, Hoffmann L, Agüera A, Byrne M and others (2018) Effects of ocean acidification on the settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrate and fish larvae: a review. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 606:237-257.

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