Exponentially rising CO2 (currently ~400 μatm) is driving climate change, and causing acidification of both marine and freshwater environments. Physiologists have long known that CO2 directly affects acid-base and ion regulation, respiratory function, and aerobic performance. More recently, many studies have demonstrated that elevated CO2 projected for end of this century (e.g. 800-1,000 μatm) has dramatic effects on behaviours linked to sensory stimuli (smell, hearing and vision), that have negative implications for fitness and survival. Some sectors of the aquaculture industry have been farming aquatic animals at extremely high CO2 levels (>10,000 μatm) long before the term “ocean acidification” was coined, with limited detrimental effects reported. It is vital to understand the physiological mechanisms behind this variability in resilience to high CO2. Potential explanations include: the relatively benign environment in aquaculture (abundant feed, disease and predator control); co-selection for CO2 -tolerance; high “control” CO2 levels in aquaculture studies.
This symposium will highlight insights the two communities can offer from marine and freshwater settings. Bringing together climate change and aquaculture scientists will stimulate discussion on the direction of future research priorities and mitigation strategies to alleviate negative impacts of high CO2 on future aquatic ecosystems and the sustainable production of fish, invertebrates and algae in aquaculture.
Top image courtesy of Thierry-Meier - Unsplash