Risk-induced trait response in planktonic larvae is altered under an acidified scenario

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2021-12-01

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Our changing climate is affecting predator-prey interactions in different ways. Increasing atmospheric CO2 is acidifying the ocean and disrupting the chemosensation of several species. Here, we evaluated a risk-induced trait response to a potential predator under an acidified scenario. Using planktonic crab larvae as a prey model, we first analysed their swimming avoidance response to different potential fish predators and conspecific odours. Prey intensified their avoidance response to conspecific and predator odours, but not to all predators, with no maternal effect. Then, larvae were exposed to a responsive predator odour under a predicted acidified scenario. A similar response was observed for both saltwater and predator odour under low pH conditions. Thus, acidification seems to affect the chemosensation of planktonic larvae, leading them to not distinguish between a non-harmful stimulus and a potential predator and potentially bringing a cascade of ecological impairments.

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Climate Change Ecology, v. 2.

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