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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 711:31-45 (2023)  -  DOI:

Effects of ocean acidification and ocean warming on the behavior and physiology of a subarctic, intertidal grazer

Shelby C. Bacus*, Amanda L. Kelley

Department of Marine Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The global ocean is expected to both acidify and warm concurrently; thus, multiple-stressor manipulative experimentation is an emergent area of study that ultimately aims to examine the individual and interactive effects of these factors on marine organisms. We characterized the physiological responses to acidification and warming of the intertidal grazer Lottia scutum, and examined how these ocean change variables influenced predator-prey dynamics with Evasterias troschelii, a key sea star predator. Specifically, we conducted a laboratory experiment where we exposed limpets to factorial combinations of temperature (11 and 15°C) and pH (7.6 and 8.0), and measured effects on thermal tolerance, metabolic rate, cortisol concentrations, and behavioral responses to the predator. We found that ocean warming (OW) decreased the critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and increased cortisol levels in L. scutum, whereas ocean acidification (OA) increased the mass-specific metabolic rate in this species. Additionally, we found that there was no significant effect of OA or OW on the anti-predator behavior of L. scutum when exposed to E. troschelii. These results highlight the need for future studies to integrate multidisciplinary experimental designs (i.e. behavior and physiology) that span multiple levels of biological organization to make ecologically relevant predictions for how marine organisms will respond to ocean change.

KEY WORDS: Multiple-stressors · Ocean acidification · Ocean warming · Gulf of Alaska · Nearshore ecology · Lottia

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Cite this article as: Bacus SC, Kelley AL (2023) Effects of ocean acidification and ocean warming on the behavior and physiology of a subarctic, intertidal grazer. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 711:31-45.

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