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Title: The effect of environmental change on bivalve mollusc biomineralisation
Author: Jennions, Suzanne M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 7993
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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Anthropogenic C02 release is leading to a wide range of oceanic environmental changes that may influence the survivability of marine organisms in the future. Environmental change varies regionally, and Southern Ocean calcifying organisms are considered to be particularly at risk from change, due to low pre-existing pH conditions and rapidly increasing temperatures. UVic model data from the Southern Ocean is used to assess environmental change in the region, and shows the importance of considering the variability as well as the magnitude of change. Since pre-industrialisation, the four Southern Ocean locations analysed showed a modern pH range entirely outside the historic range. The southern west Antarctic Peninsula region is considered the most vulnerable due to historic environmental stability, increased variability in the modern, and the widest gap between historic and modern carbonate chemistry variability envelops. The geochemistry and crystal structure of eight species of Antarctic bivalves were investigated, and four of these species were used to assess organism response to environmental change since pre-industrialisation from the western Antarctic Peninsula to South Georgia. Bivalve response varied between and within species: Lissarca miliaris showed a decrease in shell robustness over time; Lissarca notorcadensis showed one instance of no change and another of increased robustness; and Limatula pygmaealLimatula ovalis showed no change. There was no correlation between sites identified as vulnerable in the UVic model, and bivalve response. Mytilus californianus, a temperate bivalve species, from Tatoosh Island on the NW Pacific coastline of the USA, were similarly tested as pH has declined in the region four times faster than the global average. Bivalve shells showed a change in biomineralisation, resulting in increased robustness from the historic to the modern. The variability in response illustrates that some species have sufficient plasticity to be unaffected by environmental change, some may struggle to survive in future oceans and others have the capacity to adapt on short timescales.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available