Coastal upwelling regions already constitute hot spots of ocean acidification as naturally acidified waters are brought to the surface. This effect could be exacerbated by ocean acidification and warming, both caused by rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2. Along the Chilean coast, upwelling supports highly productive fisheries and aquaculture activities. However, during recent years, there has been a documented decline in the national production of the native scallop Argopecten purpuratus. We assessed the combined effects of temperature and pCO2-driven ocean acidification on the growth rates and shell characteristics of this species farmed under the natural influence of upwelling waters occurring in northern Chile (30° S, Tongoy Bay). The experimental scenario representing current conditions (14°C, pH ~8.0) were typical of natural values recorded in Tongoy Bay, whilst conditions representing the low pH scenario were typical of an adjacent upwelling area (pH ~7.6). Shell thickness, weight, and biomass were reduced under low pH (pH ~7.7) and increased temperature (18°C) conditions. At ambient temperature (14°C) and low pH, scallops showed increased shell dissolution and low growth rates. However, elevated temperatures ameliorated the impacts of low pH, as evidenced by growth rates in both pH treatments at the higher temperature treatment that were not significantly different from the control treatment. The impact of low pH at current temperature on scallop growth suggests that the upwelling could increase the time required for scallops to reach marketable size. Mortality of farmed scallops is discussed in relation to our observations of multiple environmental stressors in this upwelling-influenced area.
- Scallop farming
- Shell growth