Evidence for Carbonate System Mediated Shape Shift in an Intertidal Predatory Gastropod

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Peck, Lloyd S 
Harper, Elizabeth M 

jats:pPhenotypic plasticity represents an important first-line organism response to newly introduced or changing environmental constraints. Knowledge about structural responses to environmental stressors could thus be an essential measure to predict species and ecosystem responses to a world in change. In this study, we combined morphometric analyses with environmental modelling to identify direct shape responses of the predatory gastropod jats:italicNucella lapillus</jats:italic> to large-scale variability in sea surface temperature and the carbonate system. Our models suggest that the state of the carbonate system and, more specifically, the substrate inhibitor ratio jats:inline-formula<mml:math xmlns:mml="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML" display="inline" id="im1">mml:mrowmml:mrowmml:mo(</mml:mo>mml:mrowmml:mrowmml:mo[</mml:mo>mml:mrowmml:miH</mml:mi>mml:miC</mml:mi>mml:msubsupmml:miO</mml:mi>mml:mn3</mml:mn>mml:mo−</mml:mo></mml:msubsup></mml:mrow>mml:mo]</mml:mo></mml:mrow>mml:msupmml:mrowmml:mrowmml:mo[</mml:mo>mml:mrowmml:msupmml:miH</mml:mi>mml:mo+</mml:mo></mml:msup></mml:mrow>mml:mo]</mml:mo></mml:mrow></mml:mrow>mml:mrowmml:mo−</mml:mo>mml:mn1</mml:mn></mml:mrow></mml:msup></mml:mrow>mml:mo)</mml:mo></mml:mrow></mml:mrow></mml:math></jats:inline-formula> (SIR) has a dominant effect on the shell shape of this intertidal muricid. Populations in regions with a lower SIR tend to form narrower shells with a higher spire to body whorl ratio, whereas populations in areas with a higher SIR form wider shells with a much lower spire to body whorl ratio. These results indicate that a widespread phenotypic response of jats:italicN. lapillus</jats:italic> to continuing ocean acidification can be expected, potentially altering the phenotypic response pattern to predator or wave exposure regimes with profound implications for North Atlantic rocky shore communities.</jats:p>

Journal Title
Frontiers in Marine Science
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Frontiers Media SA
Natural Environment Research Council (2072991)
NERC (NE/L002507/1)