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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Instantaneous salinity reductions affect the survival and feeding rates of the co-occurring copepods Acartia tonsa Dana and A-clausi Giesbrecht differently

Calliari, Danilo; Borg, Marc C. Andersen; Thor, Peter; Gorokhova, Elena; Tiselius, Peter


Salinity variability at short time scales constitutes a severe restriction to marine life in coastal and estuarine ecosystems. In these environments zooplankters may experience rapid salinity variations due to diverse processes, yet lethal or sub-lethal responses to such changes have been scarcely studied. We assessed short-term (12 h) survival and time-integrated clearance (F; mL ind(-1) h(-1)) and ingestion rates (1, mu gC ind(-1) h(-1)) after 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12 h of two widespread and abundant coastal copepods, Acartia tonsa and A. clausi, subjected to instant salinity changes from 32 PSU to 26, 20,14, 8 and 4 PSU (A. tonsa) and from 32 to 26, 20 and 14 PSU (A. clausi). We expected that A. tonsa, which occur naturally in environments where sharp salinity gradients are common would tolerate wider salinity changes than A. clausi, which less frequently encounter sharp gradients in nature. For A. tonsa mortality for the extreme haline shock (change from 32 to 4 PSU) was 31%, whereas A. clausi reached 22% Mortality already at a change from 32 to 14 PSU; in comparison, mortality for A. tonsa at the 32/14 PSU treatment was only 3%. F and I decreased significantly at extreme treatments, and the total clearance in experimental bottles with salinity shocked animals (F-tot, mL h(-1)) was only 5% of rates measured in non-shocked control bottles for A. tonsa (32/4 PSU change) and 20% for A. clausi (32/14 PSU change); corresponding total ingestion (I-tot, mu gC h(-1)) represented 9.5% of that in control bottles for A. tonsa and 24% for A. clausi. In comparison, the 32/14 PSU treatment did not affect either clearance or ingestion rates in A. tonsa. Results suggest that in the field A. tonsa is not likely to suffer significant mortalities due to sudden salinity reductions in the Surrounding medium - except under extreme circumstances- while A. clausi cannot tolerate changes > 18 PSU. However, in both species feeding activity could be severely compromised by salinity reductions. The decreased feeding rate may have direct implications for processes ranging from energy acquisition at individual level to organic matter transfers at ecosystem level and thus deserves more attention in experimental studies and population modelling. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Acartia clausi; Acartia tonso; clearance rates; ingestion rates; mortality; salinity shock

Published in

Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
2008, volume: 362, number: 1, pages: 18-25

Authors' information

Calliari, Danilo
Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay
Calliari, Danilo
University of Gothenburg
Borg, Marc C. Andersen
Stockholm University
University of Gothenburg
Gorokhova, Elena
Stockholm University
Tiselius, Peter
University of Gothenburg

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