Differential response to ocean acidification in physiological traits of Concholepas concholepas populations

Marco A. Lardies, María Belén Arias, María Josefina Poupin, Patricio H. Manríquez, Rodrigo Torres, Cristian A. Vargas, Jorge M. Navarro, Nelson A. Lagos

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60 Scopus citations


Phenotypic adaptation to environmental fluctuations frequently occurs by preexisting plasticity and its role as a major component of variation in physiological diversity is being widely recognized. Few studies have considered the change in phenotypic flexibility among geographic populations in marine calcifiers to ocean acidification projections, despite the fact that this type of study provides understanding about how the organism may respond to this chemical change in the ocean. We examined the geographic variation in CO2 seawater concentrations in the phenotype and in the reaction norm of physiological traits using a laboratory mesocosm approach with short-term acclimation in two contrasting populations (Antofagasta and Calfuco) of the intertidal snail Concholepas concholepas. Our results show that elevated pCO2 conditions increase standard metabolic rates in both populations of the snail juveniles, likely due to the higher energy cost of homeostasis. Juveniles of C. concholepas in the Calfuco (southern) population showed a lower increment of metabolic rate in high-pCO2 environments concordant with a lesser gene expression of a heat shock protein with respect to the Antofagasta (northern) population. Combined these results indicate a negative effect of ocean acidification on whole-organism functioning of C. concholepas. Finally, the significant Population×pCO2 level interaction in both studied traits indicates that there is variation between populations in response to high-pCO2 conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sea Research
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Environmental gradient
  • Gastropod
  • Gene expression
  • HsP70
  • Metabolism
  • Phenotypic flexibility


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