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Inter-generational effects of CO2-induced stream acidification in the Trinidadian Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

George, Hartley CPH and Miles, George and Bemrose, James and White, Amelia and Bond, Matthew N and Cameron, Tom C (2019) 'Inter-generational effects of CO2-induced stream acidification in the Trinidadian Guppy (Poecilia reticulata).' Ecology and Evolution. ISSN 2045-7758

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Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are driving decreases in aquatic pH. As a result, there has been a surge in the number of studies examining the impact of acidification on aquatic fauna over the past decade. Thus far, both positive and negative impacts on the growth of fish have been reported, creating a disparity in results. Food availability and single‐generation exposure have been proposed as some of the reasons for these variable results, where unrealistically high food treatments lead to fish overcoming the energetic costs associated with acclimating to decreased pH. Likewise, exposure of fish to lower pH for only one generation may not capture the likely ecological response to acidification that wild populations might experience over two or more generations. Here we compare somatic growth rates of laboratory populations of the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata) exposed to pH levels that represent the average and lowest levels observed in streams in its native range. Specifically, we test the role of maternal acclimation and resource availability on the response of freshwater fishes to acidification. Acidification had a negative impact on growth at more natural, low food treatments. With high food availability, fish whose mothers were acclimated to the acidified treatment showed no reduction in growth, compared to controls. Compensatory growth was observed in both control–acidified (maternal–natal environment) and acidified–control groups, where fish that did not experience intergenerational effects achieved the same size in response to acidification as those that did, after an initial period of stunted growth. These results suggest that future studies on the effects of shifting mean of aquatic pH on fishes should take account of intergenerational effects and compensatory growth, as otherwise effects of acidification may be overestimated.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Supporting data: see
Uncontrolled Keywords: acidification; carbon dioxide; climate change; development; fishes; food availability; freshwater; growth rate; intergenerational effects; maternal acclimation; Poecilia reticulata
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2019 11:15
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2019 12:15

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