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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Antarctic krill Euphausia superba, a regional keystone species, inhabit a rapidly warming and acidifying Southern Ocean. Photo credit: Chris Linder

Saba GK, Bockus AB, Shaw CT, Seibel BA


Combined effects of ocean acidification and elevated temperature on feeding, growth, and physiological processes of Antarctic krill Euphausia superba


Rapidly changing conditions in the Southern Ocean expose organisms to simultaneous changes in a variety of environmental factors, yet these effects are rarely studied in concert. Saba and colleagues examined the independent and interactive effects of increased temperature and reduced pH on feeding, growth, and physiological responses of adult Antarctic krill. Shorter-term effects on acid-base balance, feeding, and metabolic rates were primarily due to decreased environmental pH, and krill acclimated in a matter of hours to days. Longer-term effects on growth and survival were primarily due to elevated temperature with little to no pH effect. This study highlights the need to investigate the synergistic effects of environmental stressors to more accurately understand how organisms are affected by environmental conditions.


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