Ocean Acidification and Marine Wildlife: Physiological and Behavioral Impacts - Chapter 6: A brief summary of what we know and what we do not know about the impacts of ocean acidification on marine animals

Ocean Acidification and Marine Wildlife, 2021, pp 247-263
Guangxu Liu, Wei Shi

In the past decades, the impacts of ocean acidification (OA) on marine animals have gained much attention. To date, numerous works in the literature have shown that OA can affect a variety of biological processes of marine animals, and our knowledge about its effects on marine organisms is mainly focused on the following aspects: (1) fertilization and early development; (2) biomineralization, metabolism, and growth; and (3) immunity and behaviors. However, there are still some limitations that currently exist in research on OA, which include (1) performing experiments with “constant acidification” rather than natural pH fluctuations that may not fully reflect their future true living conditions; (2) using pCO2 levels that were predicted to be reached in a hundred years in the future for experiments with relatively short exposure times, thus overlooking marine organisms’ potential for genetic adaptation or acclimation to the acidified seawater; (3) large amounts of experiments examining OA’s physiological impacts while leaving the potential affecting mechanisms largely unstudied; and (4) a lack of experiments investigating indirect effects of OA on marine organisms and the whole ecosystem. After providing a summary of the current knowledge of OA’s impacts on marine animals, this review aims to highlight potential directions for future studies.