The power struggle: assessing interacting global change stressors via experimental studies on sharks

Bouyoucos, Ian A., Watson, Sue-Ann, Planes, Serge, Simpfendorfer, Colin A., Schwieterman, Gail D., Whitney, Nicholas M., and Rummer, Jodie L. (2020) The power struggle: assessing interacting global change stressors via experimental studies on sharks. Scientific Reports, 10. 19887.

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Abstract

Ocean warming and acidification act concurrently on marine ectotherms with the potential for detrimental, synergistic effects; yet, effects of these stressors remain understudied in large predatory fishes, including sharks. We tested for behavioural and physiological responses of blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) neonates to climate change relevant changes in temperature (28 and 31 °C) and carbon dioxide partial pressures (pCO2; 650 and 1050 µatm) using a fully factorial design. Behavioural assays (lateralisation, activity level) were conducted upon 7–13 days of acclimation, and physiological assays (hypoxia tolerance, oxygen uptake rates, acid–base and haematological status) were conducted upon 14–17 days of acclimation. Haematocrit was higher in sharks acclimated to 31 °C than to 28 °C. Significant treatment effects were also detected for blood lactate and minimum oxygen uptake rate; although, these observations were not supported by adequate statistical power. Inter-individual variability was considerable for all measured traits, except for haematocrit. Moving forward, studies on similarly ‘hard-to-study’ species may account for large inter-individual variability by increasing replication, testing larger, yet ecologically relevant, differences in temperature and pCO2, and reducing measurement error. Robust experimental studies on elasmobranchs are critical to meaningfully assess the threat of global change stressors in these data-deficient species.

Item ID: 65084
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. © The Author(s) 2020
Research Data: https://doi.org/10.25903/5da407f2406f5
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2020 00:01
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060604 Comparative Physiology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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