Parental Whole Life Cycle Exposure Modulates Progeny Responses To Ocean Acidification In Slipper Limpets

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Global Change Biology


Multigenerational exposure is needed to assess the evolutionary potential of organisms in the rapidly changing seascape. Here, we investigate if there is a transgenerational effect of ocean acidification exposure on a calyptraeid gastropod such that long-term exposure elevates offspring resilience. Larvae from wild type Crepidula onyx adults were reared from hatching until sexual maturity for over 36 months under three pH conditions (pH 7.3, 7.7, and 8.0). While the survivorship, growth, and respiration rate of F₁ larvae were unaffected by acute ocean acidification (OA), long-term and whole life cycle exposure significantly compromised adult survivorship, growth, and reproductive output of the slipper limpets. When kept under low pH throughout their life cycle, only 6% of the F₁ slipper limpets survived pH 7.3 conditions after ~2.5 years and the number of larvae they released was ~10% of those released by the control. However, the F₂ progeny from adults kept under the long-term low pH condition hatched at a comparable size to those in medium and control pH conditions. More importantly, these F₂ progeny from low pH adults outperformed F₂ slipper limpets from control conditions; they had higher larval survivorship and growth, and reduced respiration rate across pH conditions, even at the extreme low pH of 7.0. The intragenerational negative consequences of OA during long-term acclimation highlights potential carryover effects and ontogenetic shifts in stress vulnerability, especially prior to and during reproduction. Yet, the presence of a transgenerational effect implies that this slipper limpet, which has been widely introduced along the West Pacific coasts, has the potential to adapt to rapid acidification.


anthropogenic stress, carryover effect, non-indigenous species, phenotypic plasticity

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