Ocean acidification negatively affects many marine species and is predicted to cause widespread changes to marine ecosystems. Similarly, freshwater ecosystems may potentially be affected by climate-change-related acidification; however, this has received far less attention. Freshwater fish represent 40% of all fishes, and salmon, which rear and spawn in freshwater, are of immense ecosystem, economical and cultural importance. In this study, we investigate the impacts of CO2-induced acidification during the development of pink salmon, in freshwater and following early seawater entry. At this critical and sensitive life stage, we show dose-dependent reductions in growth, yolk-to-tissue conversion and maximal O2 uptake capacity; as well as significant alterations in olfactory responses, anti-predator behaviour and anxiety under projected future increases in CO2 levels. These data indicate that future populations of pink salmon may be at risk without mitigation and highlight the need for further studies on the impact of CO2-induced acidification on freshwater systems.
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We thank D. Ewart and the staff at Quinsam River Hatchery for providing us with pink salmon embryos and S. Balshine for her comments on the manuscript. Special thanks to G. Fullerton, P. Tamkee, B. Gillespie and the UBC Comphy group for their help and support throughout this project. The project was financially supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery grants to C.J.B. and T.J.H. and a NSERC Accelerator Supplement to C.J.B.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Ou, M., Hamilton, T., Eom, J. et al. Responses of pink salmon to CO2-induced aquatic acidification. Nature Clim Change 5, 950–955 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2694
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