Projected near-future levels of temperature and pCO2 reduce coral fertilization success

Albright, Rebecca, and Mason, Benjamin (2013) Projected near-future levels of temperature and pCO2 reduce coral fertilization success. PLoS ONE, 8 (2). e56468. pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (pCO2) are projected to contribute to a 1.1–6.4°C rise in global average surface temperatures and a 0.14–0.35 reduction in the average pH of the global surface ocean by 2100. If realized, these changes are expected to have negative consequences for reef-building corals including increased frequency and severity of coral bleaching and reduced rates of calcification and reef accretion. Much less is known regarding the independent and combined effects of temperature and pCO2 on critical early life history processes such as fertilization. Here we show that increases in temperature (+3°C) and pCO2 (+400 µatm) projected for this century negatively impact fertilization success of a common Indo-Pacific coral species, Acropora tenuis. While maximum fertilization did not differ among treatments, the sperm concentration required to obtain 50% of maximum fertilization increased 6- to 8- fold with the addition of a single factor (temperature or CO2) and nearly 50- fold when both factors interact. Our results indicate that near-future changes in temperature and pCO2 narrow the range of sperm concentrations that are capable of yielding high fertilization success in A. tenuis. Increased sperm limitation, in conjunction with adult population decline, may have severe consequences for coral reproductive success. Impaired sexual reproduction will further challenge corals by inhibiting population recovery and adaptation potential.

Item ID: 33350
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information:

© 2013 Albright, Mason. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2014 03:40
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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