Future oceanic warming and acidification alter immune response and disease status in a commercial shellfish species, Mytilus edulis L.

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Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are leading to physical changes in marine environments including parallel decreases in ocean pH and increases in seawater temperature. This study examined the impacts of a six month exposure to combined decreased pH and increased temperature on the immune response and disease status in the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis L. Results provide the first confirmation that exposure to future acidification and warming conditions via aquarium-based simulation may have parallel implications for bivalve health. Collectively, the data suggests that temperature more than pH may be the key driver affecting immune response in M. edulis. Data also suggests that both increases in temperature and/or lowered pH conditions may lead to changes in parasite abundance and diversity, pathological conditions, and bacterial incidence in M. edulis. These results have implications for future management of shellfish under a predicted climate change scenario and future sustainability of shellfisheries. Examination of the combined effects of two stressors over an extended exposure period provides key preliminary data and thus, this work represents a unique and vital contribution to current research efforts towards a collective understanding of expected near-future impacts of climate change on marine environments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 13 Jun 2014
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