Study finds oxidative stress in pteropods could serve as early-warning indicator of climate change’s biological impacts

Posted May 5, 2018

SCCWRP and its partners have completed a two-year study showing that pteropods, or sea snails, experience cellular and physiological stress as a result of multiple stressors exposure related to climate change.

The study, completed in July, found that exposure to warming water temperatures, ocean acidification, and low dissolved oxygen concentrations can lead to increased oxidative stress, which is measured using oxidative stress biomarkers.

The finding is significant because researchers have traditionally focused on shell dissolution as a way to measure the impacts of ocean acidification on pteropod health. Oxidative stress has the potential to serve as an early-warning indicator of not just acidification’s impacts on pterpods, but also the multi-stressor impacts related to climate change.

The study also found that oxidative stress leads to degradation of cellular lipids. Not only can this result in the loss of lipid reserves and structural damage to pteropod cell membranes, but juvenile fish that consume pteropods and that depend on these lipids to support their own growth and development could be adversely affected.

More news related to: Climate Change, Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia