The Potential for Polychaetes to Cope with Ocean Acidification
Calosi, P., Rastrick, S.P.S., Lombardi, C., de Guzman, H.J., Davidson, L., Jahnke, M., Giangrande, A., Hardege, J.D., Schulze, A., Spicer, J.I. and Ganbi, M.-C. 2014. Adaptation and acclimatization to ocean acidification in marine ectotherms: an in situ transplant experiment with polychaetes at a shallow CO2 vent system. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 368: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0444.
Noting that previous studies have shown that "unicellular organisms can adapt to elevated pCO2," citing Lohbeck et al. (2012), Benner et al. (2013) and Tatters et al. (2013), the eleven scientists report their study (1) "provides evidence that a marine ectotherm (Platynereis dumerilii) has been able to genetically and physiologically adapt to chronic and elevated levels of pCO2," (2) "supports those studies that have indicated the potential of marine metazoans [animals with differentiated tissues, including nerves and muscles] to adapt to elevated pCO2," citing Pespeni et al. (2013), Pistevos et al. (2011), Sunday et al. (2011), Foo et al. (2012), Schlegel et al. (2012), Padilla-Gamiño et al. (2013) and Kelly et al. (2013).
"Ultimately," in the words of Calosi et al., "the ability of marine organisms to persist in a rapidly changing ocean is largely dependent on the taxa's ability for rapid physiological adaption, which could potentially occur, via genetic assimilation of emerging phenotypes," as demonstrated by Ghalambor et al. (2007), Reznick and Ghalambor (2001), Waddington (1942), Torres Dowdall et al. (2012) and Pigliucci et al. (2006), while in reference to their own study, they say "it appears that both plasticity and adaptation may be key to prevent species' risk for extinction in the face of ongoing ocean acidification." And so it would also appear that the potential for polychaetes and many other marine life forms to successfully cope with ocean acidification is indeed rather good.
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