Contrasting impacts of ocean acidification and warming on the molecular responses of CO2-resilient oysters

Priscila Goncalves*, Emma L. Thompson, David A. Raftos

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)
    53 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: This study characterises the molecular processes altered by both elevated CO2 and increasing temperature in oysters. Differences in resilience of marine organisms against the environmental stressors associated with climate change will have significant implications for the sustainability of coastal ecosystems worldwide. Some evidence suggests that climate change resilience can differ between populations within a species. B2 oysters represent a unique genetic resource because of their capacity to better withstand the impacts of elevated CO2 at the physiological level, compared to non-selected oysters from the same species (Saccostrea glomerata). Here, we used proteomic and transcriptomic analysis of gill tissue to evaluate whether the differential response of B2 oysters to elevated CO2 also extends to increased temperature. Results: Substantial and distinctive effects on protein concentrations and gene expression were evident among B2 oysters responding to elevated CO2 or elevated temperature. The combination of both stressors also altered oyster gill proteomes and gene expression. However, the impacts of elevated CO2 and temperature were not additive or synergistic, and may be antagonistic. Conclusions: The data suggest that the simultaneous exposure of CO2-resilient oysters to near-future projected ocean pH and temperature results in complex changes in molecular processes in order to prevent stress-induced cellular damage. The differential response of B2 oysters to the combined stressors also indicates that the addition of thermal stress may impair the resilience of these oysters to decreased pH. Overall, this study reveals the intracellular mechanisms that might enable marine calcifiers to endure the emergent, adverse seawater conditions resulting from climate change.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number431
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalBMC Genomics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • climate change
    • gene expression
    • low pH
    • proteomics
    • Saccostrea glomerata
    • selective breeding
    • thermal stress


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