Influence of ocean acidification on otolith calcification and behavior in fish larvae
The PhD dissertation investigated the influence of ocean acidification on the calcification of otoliths in fish larvae and the possible consequences on the larval swimming behavior. As more carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere, the pH of the world's oceans will decrease causing a problem in the calcification of calcium carbonate in marine organisms. The vulnerability of otolith calcification is dependent on the ability of the species to counteract the effects of lower pH through acid-base regulation. The dissertation reports an increase in otolith growth in Atlantic cod larvae but a decrease in otolith growth in Atlantic herring larvae. This could represent a species-specific differences in the acid-base regulation between the two species. The dissertation further reports that the change in otolith calcification was well within the normal variability in otolith growth that will still allow normal functioning of the otoliths as main organs for detection of motion, acceleration, balance and sound in fish larvae. The PhD dissertation was funded by the European Marie Curie Initial Training Network project "CalMarO" or Calcification by Marine Organisms (www.calmaro.eu).