In a short-term experiment, we exposed Aplysia punctata to a reduction in seawater pH from ambient conditions (~8.1) to 7.3.
Specimens of Aplysia punctata, ranging in size from 0.5 cm to 5 cm extended body length, were collected in Gullmar Fjord, Sweden, in January 2014, and held in natural flow-through seawater at the Sven Loven Centre for Marine Sciences, Kristineberg, University of Gothenburg.
Aplysia punctata showed no decrease in calcification of new shell material, although there was a significantly reduced metabolic rate under low pH.
In our experiment, low pH caused an approximate 30% decrease in metabolism in Aplysia punctata. Given the very high feeding rates of sea hares (Carefoot, 1987; Dionisio et al., 2013), any ongoing impact upon metabolic demand has the potential to alter feeding patterns and, speculatively, have cascading ecological effects.
Crystallization occurs as long as appropriate cellular pH is maintained around these nuclei and, from our data, it appears that Aplysia punctata can adequately control cellular acid-base balance even in the presence of substantial decreases in environmental pH.
Under even extreme ocean acidification scenarios, Aplysia punctata can maintain shell calcification despite a significant reduction in metabolic rate, although overall shell growth may be disrupted.
Cloning and biochemical characterization of APIT, a new L-amino acid oxidase from Aplysia punctata. Toxicon 46: 479-489.
Cytotoxic cyplasin of the sea hare, Aplysia punctata, cDNA cloning, and expression of bioactive recombinants in insect cells.
The halogenated monoterpenes of Aplysia punctata. A comparative study.