The metabolic response of pteropods to acidification reflects natural CO 2-exposure in oxygen minimum zones
Shelled pteropods (Thecosomata) are a group of holoplanktonic mollusks that are believed to be especially sensitive to ocean acidification because their aragonitic shells are highly soluble. Despite this concern, there is very little known about the physiological response of these animals to conditions of elevated carbon dioxide. This study examines the oxygen consumption and ammonia excretion of five pteropod species, collected from tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean, to elevated levels of carbon dioxide (0.10%, 1000 ppm). Our results show that pteropods that naturally migrate into oxygen minimum zones, such as Hyalocylis striata, Clio pyramidata, Cavolinia longirostris and Creseis virgula, were not affected by carbon dioxide at the levels and duration tested. Diacria quadridentata, which does not migrate, responds to high carbon dioxide conditions with reduced oxygen consumption and ammonia excretion. This indicates that the natural chemical environment of individual species may influence their resilience to ocean acidification.