Distribution of sea urchins living near shallow water CO2 vents is dependent upon species acid–base and ion-regulatory abilities

P. Calosi, S. P. Rastrick, M. Graziano, S. C. Thomas, C. Baggini, H. A. Carter, J. M. Hall-Spencer, M. Milazzo, J. I. Spicer

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To reduce the negative effect of climate change on Biodiversity, the use of geological CO2 sequestration has been proposed; however leakage from underwater storages may represent a risk to marine life. As extracellular homeostasis is important in determining species’ ability to cope with elevated CO2, we investigated the acid–base and ion regulatory responses, as well as the density, of sea urchins living around CO2 vents at Vulcano, Italy. We conducted in situ transplantation and field-based laboratory exposures to different pCO2/pH regimes. Our results confirm that sea urchins have some ability to regulate their extracellular fluid under elevated pCO2. Furthermore, we show that even in closely-related taxa divergent physiological capabilities underlie differences in taxa distribution around the CO2 vent. It is concluded that species distribution under the sort of elevated CO2 conditions occurring with leakages from geological storages and future ocean acidification scenarios, may partly be determined by quite subtle physiological differentiation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470–484
Number of pages15
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number2
Early online date19 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2013


  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
  • ocean acidification
  • Arbacia lixula
  • Paracentrotus lividus
  • Acid–base and ionic regulation
  • Distribution

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