Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 3, pp 1117–1125 | Cite as

Influence of CO2-related seawater acidification on extracellular acid–base balance in the velvet swimming crab Necora puber

  • John I. SpicerEmail author
  • Angela Raffo
  • Stephen Widdicombe
Research Article


We investigated the effect of different levels of hypercapnia-induced acidification (pH = 7.96, 7.31, 6.74 and 6.05) on the extracellular acid base balance of a shallow-water crustacean, the velvet swimming crab Necora puber over a period of 16 days. Any extracellular acidosis incurred was completely compensated by an increase in bicarbonate. Bicarbonate was partly, but not wholly, supplied by dissolution of the exoskeleton. This compensation was sustained for 16 days under all experimental treatments with two exceptions. First there was some evidence of extracellular acidosis in crabs after 16 days at pH = 6.74. Second at the lowest environmental pH (6.05) there was a marked uncompensated acidosis after 24 h. Necora puber appears less sensitive to low pH than many other species examined acutely. However, local acidification as a result of ocean CO2 dispersal or leakage from geological sequestration is likely to compromise even this species.


Ocean Acidification Blue Crab Base Balance Extracellular Acid Experimental Aquarium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Julie Soanes, Anne Torr, Roger Haslam, Hazel Needham, Malcolm Liddicoat, Hayley Miles, Chris Gallienne and Charlie Ward for their technical assistance. This study was part-funded by a joint DEFRA/DTI funded project IMCO2 ( and the NERC standard grant (NE/C510016/1) awarded to SW. We thank Angus Atkinson and three anonymous referees for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • John I. Spicer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Angela Raffo
    • 1
  • Stephen Widdicombe
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Plymouth Marine LaboratoryPlymouthUK

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