Pilot study to investigate the effect of long-term exposure to high pCO2 on adult cod (Gadus morhua) otolith morphology and calcium carbonate deposition

Clara Coll-Lladó, Felix Mittermayer, Paul B. Webb, Nicola Allison, Catriona Clemmesen, Martina Stiasny, Christopher Bridges, Gwendolin Gottler, Daniel Garcia de la Serrana Castillo*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

To date the study of ocean acidification on fish otolith formation has been mainly focused on larval and juvenile stages. In the present pilot study, wild-captured adult Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) were exposed to two different levels of pCO2, 422µatm (ambient, low pCO2) or 1091µatm (high pCO2), for a period of 30 weeks (from mid-October to early April 2014–2015) in order to study the effects on otolith size, shape and CaCO3 crystallization amongst other biological parameters. We found that otoliths from cod exposed to high pCO2 were slightly smaller (− 3.4% in length; − 3.3% in perimeter), rounder (− 2.9% circularity and + 4% roundness) but heavier (+ 5%) than the low pCO2 group. Interestingly, there were different effects in males and females; for instance, male cods exposed to high pCO2 exhibited significant changes in circularity (− 3%) and roundness (+ 4%) compared to the low pCO2 males, but without significant changes on otolith dimensions, while females exposed to high pCO2 had smaller otoliths as shown for length (− 5.6%), width (− 2%), perimeter (− 3.5%) and area (− 4.8%). Furthermore, while the majority of the otoliths analysed showed normal aragonite deposition, 10% of fish exposed to 1091µatm of pCO2 had an abnormal accretion of calcite, suggesting a shift on calcium carbonate polymorph crystallization in some individuals under high pCO2 conditions. Our preliminary results indicate that high levels of pCO2 in adult Atlantic cod might affect otolith growth in a gender-specific way. Our findings reveal that otoliths from adult cod are affected by ocean acidification, and we believe that the present study will prompt further research into this currently under-explored area
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalFish Physiology and Biochemistry
VolumeFirst Online
Early online date28 Sept 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Sept 2021

Keywords

  • Adult cod
  • Calcite
  • Gender
  • Ocean acidification
  • Otolith

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