Ocean acidification impacts mussel control on biomineralisation

Susan C. Fitzer, Vernon R. Phoenix, Maggie Cusack, Nicholas A. Kamenos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Ocean acidification is altering the oceanic carbonate saturation state and threatening the survival of marine calcifying organisms. Production of their calcium carbonate exoskeletons is dependent not only on the environmental seawater carbonate chemistry but also the ability to produce biominerals through proteins. We present shell growth and structural responses by the economically important marine calcifier Mytilus edulis to ocean acidification scenarios (380, 550, 750, 1000≈ atm pCO 2). After six months of incubation at 750≈ atm pCO 2, reduced carbonic anhydrase protein activity and shell growth occurs in M. edulis. Beyond that, at 1000≈ atm pCO 2, biomineralisation continued but with compensated metabolism of proteins and increased calcite growth. Mussel growth occurs at a cost to the structural integrity of the shell due to structural disorientation of calcite crystals. This loss of structural integrity could impact mussel shell strength and reduce protection from predators and changing environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6218
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • shell growth
  • ocean acidification
  • biomineralisation
  • calcite growth
  • calcite crystals


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