Invasion of ocean surface waters by anthropogenic CO2 emitted to the atmosphere is expected to reduce surface seawater pH to 7.8 by the end of this century compromising marine calcifiers. A broad range of biological and mineralogical mechanisms allow marine calcifiers to cope with ocean acidification, however these mechanisms are energetically demanding which affect other biological processes (trade-offs) with important implications for the resilience of the organisms against stressful conditions. Hence, food availability may play a critical role in determining the resistance of calcifiers to OA. Here we show, based on a meta-analysis of existing experimental results assessing the role of food supply in the response of organisms to OA, that food supply consistently confers calcifiers resistance to ocean acidification.


  • To date only 12 studies have assessed the role of food supply on Ocean acidification (OA) effects over calcifiers species, our results confirm that food supply reduces the impacts of experimental ocean acidification on the growth and calcification rates of a range of marine organisms including corals, molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms

  • Acidification conditions is still limited, the analysis suggests that marine calcifiers might be more resistant to ocean acidification than portrayed by existing assessments, based on meta-analysis including a large proportion of experiments were the organisms were not fed

  • There seems to be an upper limit to this increased resistance as even organisms receiving high food supply may become vulnerable to OA when pH would decline by more than 0.6 units

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A total of 12 published reports, most published very recently were found that experimentally assessed the effect of food supply on calcification and growth of marine calcifying animals, including echinoderms, crustaceans, molluscs and coral species under OA conditions. There was a significant decrease in the effect size for calcification responses with increasing pH decline between control and acidification treatment under high food supply, providing evidence of a significant decline in calcification rates when pH was experimentally reduced by > 0.6 pH units under high food supply (QM 1,33 = 6.46, p = 0.011, Table S2, Fig. S1).


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