Seawater carbonate chemistry and acid–base physiology and behaviour of the California sea hare (Aplysia californica), supplement to: Zlatkin, Rebecca L; Heuer, Rachael M (2019): Ocean acidification affects acid–base physiology and behaviour in a model invertebrate, the California sea hare (Aplysia californica ). Royal Society Open Science, 6(10), 191041


Behavioural impairment following exposure to ocean acidification-relevant CO2 levels has been noted in a broad array of taxa. The underlying cause of these disruptions is thought to stem from alterations of ion gradients ([HCO3]−/Cl−) across neuronal cell membranes that occur as a consequence of maintaining pH homeostasis via the accumulation of [HCO3]−. While behavioural impacts are widely documented, few studies have measured acid–base parameters in species showing behavioural disruptions. In addition, current studies examining mechanisms lack resolution in targeting specific neural pathways corresponding to a given behaviour. With these considerations in mind, acid–base parameters and behaviour were measured in a model organism used for decades as a research model to study learning, the California sea hare (Aplysia californica). Aplysia exposed to elevated CO2 increased haemolymph [HCO3]−, achieving full and partial pH compensation at 1200 and 3000 µatm CO2, respectively. Increased CO2 did not affect self-righting behaviour. In contrast, both levels of elevated CO2 reduced the time of the tail-withdrawal reflex, suggesting a reduction in antipredator response. Overall, these results confirm that Aplysia are promising models to examine mechanisms underlying CO2-induced behavioural disruptions since they regulate [HCO3]− and have behaviours linked to neural networks amenable to electrophysiological testing.

In order to allow full comparability with other ocean acidification data sets, the R package seacarb (Gattuso et al, 2019) was used to compute a complete and consistent set of carbonate system variables, as described by Nisumaa et al. (2010). In this dataset the original values were archived in addition with the recalculated parameters (see related PI). The date of carbonate chemistry calculation by seacarb is 2020-02-17.

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Metadata Access
Creator Zlatkin, Rebecca L; Heuer, Rachael M
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Contributor Yang, Yan
Publication Year 2019
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International;
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset; Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 4858 data points
Discipline Earth System Research