Ocean acidification increases copper toxicity to the early life history stages of the polychaete Arenicola marina in artificial seawater.
Environmental Science and Technology
American Chemical Society
The speciation and therefore bioavailability of the common pollutant copper is predicted to increase within the pH range anticipated under near-future ocean acidification (OA), hence the potential exists for copper toxicity to marine organisms to also increase. We investigated the impact of OA (seawater pH values of 7.77 (pCO2 1400 μatm) and 7.47 (pCO2 3000 μatm)) upon copper toxicity responses in early life history stages of the polychaete Arenicola marina and found both synergistic and additive toxicity effects of combined exposures depending on life history stage. The toxicity of copper on sperm DNA damage and early larval survivorship was synergistically increased under OA conditions. Larval survival was reduced by 24% when exposed to both OA and copper combined compared to single OA or copper exposures. Sperm motility was negatively affected by both OA and copper singularly with additive toxicity effects of the two stressors when combined. Fertilization success was also negatively affected by both OA and copper individually, but no additive effects when exposed as combined stressors were present for this stage. These findings add to the growing body of evidence that OA will act to increase the toxicity of copper to marine organisms, which has clear implications for coastal benthic ecosystems suffering chronic metal pollution as pCO2 levels rise and drive a reduction in seawater pH.
A.C. was supported by a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) PhD studentship to Exeter. R.E. and C.L. were supported by a UK-OARP NERC consortium grant NE/H017496/1. C.L. was additionally supported by a NERC UK Fellowship: NE/G014728/1. Abstract art was drawn in collaboration with the University of Exeter CLES drawing office. We would like to thank Professor David Hodgson for his advice on statistical analysis and Darren Rowe and Steven Cooper for their excellent technical support.
This is the author accepted manuscript.
The final version is available from the American Chemical Society via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 48 (16), pp. 9745 - 9753
Place of publication