Task 1.2: Identify the physiological responses that underpin changes in organism performance and function

Chris Hauton, Southampton U


H0 Elevated CO2 x temperature will have no significant impact on the long-term maintenance of organism health.


To extrapolate any changes in activity observed in Task 1.1 beyond the model species used in this consortium, it is necessary to understand the impact of elevated CO2 × temperature on the physiological mechanisms responsible for regulating these activities.

Many of the laboratory experiments conducted to date have only described the impacts of ocean acidification on specific aspects of an organism’s physiology in isolation e.g. acid-base balance or immune response. However, a number of interdependent physiological processes occur simultaneously within an organism to ensure an animal’s long term survival and fitness.

A recent study showed that by concentrating solely on single physiological responses in isolation, researchers are in danger of missing key effects that result from trade-offs between different physiological processes and thereby fail to fully appreciate the implications of ocean acidification for energy budgets and performance. We will use the different and complementary areas of expertise available within the consortium to simultaneously measure the impact of high CO2, high temperature and their interactions on key physiological processes involved in the maintenance of organism homeostasis and performance. This strategy will enable us to determine the impact of acidification on the long-term function and survival prospects of benthic organisms.

In Task 1.2 we will determine the impact of elevated CO2 × temperature on the key physiological processes likely to be responsible for any changes in function observed in Task 1.1. In parallel with the activity studies, individuals will be sampled from the exposure experiments run in Aberdeen, PML, Heriot-Watt and Sweden.

DEFRA Logo NERC Logo DECC Logo LWEC Logo