Along the west coast of South America, from the tropical zone to the Patagonian waters, there is a significant latitudinal gradient in seawater temperature, salinity and carbonate chemistry. These physical-chemical changes in seawater induce morphological and physiological responses in calcifying organisms, which may alter their energy budget and calcification processes. In this study, we study the organism energy maintenance (i.e. metabolic rate) and mineralogical composition of the shell of the juvenile marine snails Concholepas concholepas (Gastropoda: Muricidae), collected from benthic populations located ∼2000km apart, varies across geographic regions along the Chilean coast. We found that in juvenile snails, the calcite:aragonite ratio in the pallial shell margin (i.e. newly deposited shell) increase significantly from northern to southern populations and this increase in calcite precipitation in the shell of juveniles snails was associated with a decrease in oxygen consumption rates in these populations. Our result suggests that calcite secretion may be favoured when metabolic rates are lowered, as this carbonate mineral phase might be less energetically costly for the organism to precipitate. This result is discussed in relation to the natural process such as coastal upwelling and freshwater inputs that promote geographic variation in levels of pH and carbonate saturation state in seawater along the Chilean coast.
- calcium carbonate
- ocean acidification