Ocean acidification-induced food quality deterioration constrains trophic transfer.

Rossoll, Dennis, Bermúdez, Rafael, Hauss, Helena , Schulz, Kai G., Riebesell, Ulf , Sommer, Ulrich and Winder, Monika (2012) Ocean acidification-induced food quality deterioration constrains trophic transfer. Open Access PLoS ONE, 7 (4). e34737. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0034737.

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Our present understanding of ocean acidification (OA) impacts on marine organisms caused by rapidly rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration is almost entirely limited to single species responses. OA consequences for food web interactions are, however, still unknown. Indirect OA effects can be expected for consumers by changing the nutritional quality of their prey. We used a laboratory experiment to test potential OA effects on algal fatty acid (FA) composition and resulting copepod growth. We show that elevated CO2 significantly changed the FA concentration and composition of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana, which constrained growth and reproduction of the copepod Acartia tonsa. A significant decline in both total FAs (28.1 to 17.4 fg cell−1) and the ratio of long-chain polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids (PUFA:SFA) of food algae cultured under elevated (750 µatm) compared to present day (380 µatm) pCO2 was directly translated to copepods. The proportion of total essential FAs declined almost tenfold in copepods and the contribution of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) tripled at high CO2. This rapid and reversible CO2-dependent shift in FA concentration and composition caused a decrease in both copepod somatic growth and egg production from 34 to 5 eggs female−1 day−1. Because the diatom-copepod link supports some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, our study demonstrates that OA can have far-reaching consequences for ocean food webs by changing the nutritional quality of essential macromolecules in primary producers that cascade up the food web.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/211384
Keywords: Biological Oceanography; Biogeochemistry; Ocean acidification, Thalassiosira pseudonana, Arcatia tonsa, diatom, copepod, PUFA, egg production, atmospheric carbon dioxide, CO2, ocean acidification
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Related URLs:
Projects: EPOCA, AQUASHIFT, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2012 10:11
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2018 10:14
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/14235

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