Marine Biology

, 166:128 | Cite as

Impact of ocean acidification on growth, onset of competence, and perception of cues for metamorphosis in larvae of the slippershell snail, Crepidula fornicata

  • J. A. PechenikEmail author
  • A. Pires
  • J. Trudel
  • M. Levy
  • T. Dooley
  • A. Resnikoff
  • R. E. Taylor
Original Paper


Ocean pH has been declining since the start of the Industrial Revolution, and is predicted to continue declining for at least another 200 years. Although the chemical cues that induce larval metamorphosis in marine invertebrates in part determine the distribution and persistence of many coastal marine communities, few studies have examined the effects of ocean acidification on the timing of metamorphic competence or the ability of larval invertebrates to metamorphose in response to environmental cues. Working with larvae of the marine gastropod Crepidula fornicata, we examined the impacts of sudden, short-term (2 h), and prolonged (several weeks) exposure to reduced pH as low as 7.5 on larval survival and growth, the onset of metamorphic competence, and the ability of larvae to perceive inductive cues and metamorphose in their presence. Unexpectedly, although larvae reared at pH 7.5 grew more slowly and took longer to become competent to metamorphose, exposure to acidified conditions did not appreciably impair larval cue perception for metamorphosis.



This study was supported by the National Science Foundation awards OCE–1416846 to Tufts University and OCE–1416690 to Dickinson College. Research by J. M. Trudel was conducted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master’s Degree at Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155. Rebecca Guenther provided technical support in the Ocean Acidification Environmental Laboratory at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs. Diane Cooper kindly facilitated access for field collection at the Taylor Shellfish Company.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. Collection, transport, maintenance, and disposal of study animals were conducted under Scientific Collection Permit 17-189 and Shellfish Transfer Permit 17-1021 issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyDickinson CollegeCarlisleUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  4. 4.Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin UniversityNorth ChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences InstituteRutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA

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