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Aguilera, V. M., Vargas, C. A., Lardies, M. A., & Poupin, M. J. (2016). Adaptive variability to low-pH river discharges in Acartia tonsa and stress responses to high PCO2 conditions. Mar. Ecol.-Evol. Persp., 37(1), 215–226.
Abstract: Environmental transitions leading to spatial physical-chemical gradients are of ecological and evolutionary interest because they are able to induce variations in phenotypic plasticity. Thus, the adaptive variability to low-pH river discharges may drive divergent stress responses [ingestion rates (IR) and expression of stress-related genes such as Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) and Ferritin] in the neritic copepod Acartia tonsa facing changes in the marine chemistry associated to ocean acidification (OA). These responses were tested in copepod populations inhabiting two environments with contrasting carbonate system parameters (an estuarine versus coastal area) in the Southern Pacific Ocean, and assessing an insitu and 96-h experimental incubation under conditions of high pressure of CO2 (PCO2 1200ppm). Adaptive variability was a determining factor in driving variability of copepods' responses. Thus, the food-rich but colder and corrosive estuary induced a traits trade-off expressed as depressed IR under insitu conditions. However, this experience allowed these copepods to tolerate further exposure to high PCO2 levels better, as their IRs were on average 43% higher thanthose of the coastal individuals. Indeed, expression of both the Hsp70 and Ferritin genes in coastal copepods was significantly higher after acclimation to high PCO2 conditions. Along with other recent evidence, our findings confirm that adaptation to local fluctuations in seawater pH seems to play a significant role in the response of planktonic populations to OA-associated conditions. Facing the environmental threat represented by the inter-play between multiple drivers of climate change, this biological feature should be examined in detail asa potential tool for risk mitigation policies in coastal management arrangements.
Vargas, C. A., Lagos, N. A., Lardies, M. A., Duarte, C., Manriquez, P. H., Aguilera, V. M., et al. (2017). Species-specific responses to ocean acidification should account for local adaptation and adaptive plasticity. Nat. Ecol. Evol., 1(4), 7 pp.
Abstract: Global stressors, such as ocean acidification, constitute a rapidly emerging and significant problem for marine organisms, ecosystem functioning and services. The coastal ecosystems of the Humboldt Current System (HCS) off Chile harbour a broad physical-chemical latitudinal and temporal gradient with considerable patchiness in local oceanographic conditions. This heterogeneity may, in turn, modulate the specific tolerances of organisms to climate stress in species with populations distributed along this environmental gradient. Negative response ratios are observed in species models (mussels, gastropods and planktonic copepods) exposed to changes in the partial pressure of CO2 (p(CO2)) far from the average and extreme P-CO2 levels experienced in their native habitats. This variability in response between populations reveals the potential role of local adaptation and/or adaptive phenotypic plasticity in increasing resilience of species to environmental change. The growing use of standard ocean acidification scenarios and treatment levels in experimental protocols brings with it a danger that inter-population differences are confounded by the varying environmental conditions naturally experienced by different populations. Here, we propose the use of a simple index taking into account the natural p(CO2) variability, for a better interpretation of the potential consequences of ocean acidification on species inhabiting variable coastal ecosystems. Using scenarios that take into account the natural variability will allow understanding of the limits to plasticity across organismal traits, populations and species.