Ocean acidification but not nutrient enrichment reduces grazing and alters diet preference in Littorina littorea
Date of Original Version
Ocean acidification and eutrophication have direct, positive effects on the growth of many marine macroalgae, potentially resulting in macroalgal blooms and shifts in ecosystem structure and function. Enhanced growth of macroalgae, however, may be controlled by the presence of grazers. While grazing under ocean acidification and eutrophication conditions has variable responses, there is evidence of these factors indirectly increasing consumption. We tested whether a common marine herbivorous snail, Littorina littorea, would increase consumption rates of macroalgae (Ulva and Fucus) under ocean acidification (increased pCO2) and/or eutrophication conditions, via feeding trials on live and reconstituted algal thalli. We found that increased pCO2 resulted in reduced grazing rates on live thalli, with snails feeding almost exclusively on Ulva. However, eutrophication did not impact consumption rates of live tissues. In addition, similarity in consumption of reconstituted Ulva and Fucus tissues across all treatments indicated that physical characteristics of algal tissues, rather than tissue chemistry, may drive dietary shifts in a changing climate. In this system, decreased consumption, coupled with increased growth of macroalgae, may ultimately enhance algal growth and spread.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
Ober, Gordon T., Carol S. Thornber, and Jason S. Grear. "Ocean acidification but not nutrient enrichment reduces grazing and alters diet preference in Littorina littorea." Marine Biology 169, 9 (2022). doi: 10.1007/s00227-022-04099-8.