Effects of ocean acidification on overwintering juvenile Arctic pteropods Limacina helicina

Pteropods are planktonic mollusks that play an important role in the food web of various ecosystems, particularly at high latitudes. Because they produce an aragonitic shell, pteropods are expected to be very sensitive to ocean acidification driven by anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The effect of ocean acidification was investigated using juveniles of the Arctic pteropod Limacina helicina from the Canada Basin of the Arctic Ocean. The animals were maintained in 3 controlled pH conditions (total scale pH [pHT] ? 8.05, 7.90 or 7.75) for 8 d, and their mortality and the linear extension of their shell were monitored. The pH did not impact the mortality rate, but the linear extension of the shell decreased as a function of declining pH. Surprisingly, the pteropods were still able to extend their shell at an aragonite saturation state as low as 0.6. Nevertheless, dissolution marks were visible on the whole shell, indicating that calcium carbonate dissolution had also occurred, casting doubts on the ability of the pteropods to maintain a positive balance between precipitation and dissolution of calcium carbonate under corrosive conditions.