S. Isari, S. Zervoudaki, J. Peters, G. Papantoniou, C. Pelejero, E. Saiz, Lack of evidence for elevated CO2-induced bottom-up effects on marine copepods: A dinoflagellate-calanoid prey-predator pair. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73(3), 650-658 (2016)
Rising levels of atmospheric CO2 are responsible for a change in the carbonate chemistry of seawater with associated pH drops (acidification) projected to reach 0.4 units from 1950 to 2100. We investigated possible indirect effects of seawater acidification on the feeding, fecundity and hatching success of the calanoid copepod Acartia grani, mediated by potential CO2-induced changes in the nutritional characteristics of their prey. We used as prey the autotrophic dinoflagellate Heterocapsa sp., cultured at three distinct pH levels (control: 8.17, medium: 7.96, low: 7.75) by bubbling pure CO2 via a computer automated system. A. grani adults collected from a laboratory culture were acclimatized for three days at food suspensions of Heterocapsa from each pH treatment (ca. 500 cells mL-1; 300 μg C L-1). Feeding and egg production rates of the preconditioned females did not differ significantly among the three Heterocapsa diets. Egg hatching success, monitored once per day for the 72 h, did not reveal significant difference among treatments. These results are in agreement with the lack of difference in the cellular stoichiometry (C:N, C:P and N:P ratios) and fatty acid concentration and composition encountered between the three tested Heterocapsa treatments. Our findings disagree with those of other studies using distinct types of prey, suggesting that this kind of indirect influence of acidification on copepods may be largely associated to interspecific differences among prey items with regard to their sensitivity to elevated CO2 levels.