Carpet shell clams and mussels react differently to the oceanic acidification related to climatic change. (Photo: FIS Stock)
Climate change: good for mussels but bad for clams
Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 02:10 (GMT + 9)
Experts of the National Higher Scientific Research Council of Spain (CSIC) evaluated the effects of ocean acidification derived from climate change on the clam Ruditapes decussatus and the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, and found that the phenomenon has different effects on the physiology of the species and on its potential growth.
The investigation was conducted by the group of ecophysiology, biomarkers and sustainable management of bivalves from the Marine Research Institute (IIM), reported the newspaper Faro de Vigo.
The field work was carried out in Portugal and in Galicia, and the trials were performed in IIM facilities in Vigo.
This study began in 2008 and was led by researchers from the CSIC. In addition, it was joined by scientists of the Marine Science Centre of the University of Algarve (Portugal), of the University of Padova (Italy) and of the University of Tunis.
The researchers studied the effects of ocean acidification from an integrated perspective.
For this purpose, during 87 days they exposed carpet shell clam juveniles to the current pH level of the river Formosa (Portugal) and to two lower pH levels (0.4 and 0.7 units), the latter corresponding to what has been estimated for the year 2300.
Meanwhile, mussel juveniles were exposed for 78 days to the current pH level of the river Formosa and to two reduced pH levels (0.3 and 0.6 units).
On considering the results, researchers found that climate change causes changes in food and digestive physiology of bivalves, and these alterations are different in each species.
While the effects of ocean acidification may "seriously affect the viability of the populations of clams," in the case of mussels scientists observed "an adaptability that has a positive effect on its potential growth," the newspaper El Pais reported.
María José Fernández Reiriz, IIM Group Leader, explains that in the case of the carpet shell clam, "if the specimens eat less, they grow less and less food will also mean a reduction in energy to reproduce," the newspaper La Voz de Galicia reported.
Besides, the mussel "has the ability to maintain constant its metabolic constant levels even though there is acidity in the environment."
The study, published in the journal SCI Marine Ecology Progress Series was carried out under a project of the European Research Department of the Net on Climate Change Circle.
By Analia Murias