Effects of ocean acidification on learning in coral reef fishes, supplement to: Ferrari, Maud C O; Manassa, Rachel; Dixson, Danielle L; Munday, Philip L; McCormick, Mark I; Meekan, Mark; Sihler, H; Chivers, Douglas P (2012): Effects of ocean acidification on learning in coral reef fishes. PLoS ONE, 7(2), e31478


Ocean acidification has the potential to cause dramatic changes in marine ecosystems. Larval damselfish exposed to concentrations of CO2 predicted to occur in the mid- to late-century show maladaptive responses to predator cues. However, there is considerable variation both within and between species in CO2 effects, whereby some individuals are unaffected at particular CO2 concentrations while others show maladaptive responses to predator odour. Our goal was to test whether learning via chemical or visual information would be impaired by ocean acidification and ultimately, whether learning can mitigate the effects of ocean acidification by restoring the appropriate responses of prey to predators. Using two highly efficient and widespread mechanisms for predator learning, we compared the behaviour of pre-settlement damselfish Pomacentrus amboinensis that were exposed to 440 µatm CO2 (current day levels) or 850 µatm CO2, a concentration predicted to occur in the ocean before the end of this century. We found that, regardless of the method of learning, damselfish exposed to elevated CO2 failed to learn to respond appropriately to a common predator, the dottyback, Pseudochromis fuscus. To determine whether the lack of response was due to a failure in learning or rather a short-term shift in trade-offs preventing the fish from displaying overt antipredator responses, we conditioned 440 or 700 µatm-CO2 fish to learn to recognize a dottyback as a predator using injured conspecific cues, as in Experiment 1. When tested one day post-conditioning, CO2 exposed fish failed to respond to predator odour. When tested 5 days post-conditioning, CO2 exposed fish still failed to show an antipredator response to the dottyback odour, despite the fact that both control and CO2-treated fish responded to a general risk cue (injured conspecific cues). These results indicate that exposure to CO2 may alter the cognitive ability of juvenile fish and render learning ineffective.

In order to allow full comparability with other ocean acidification data sets, the R package seacarb (Gattuso et al, 2015) 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 is 2015-07-09.

DOI https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.848085
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0031478
Related Identifier https://cran.r-project.org/package=seacarb
Metadata Access https://ws.pangaea.de/oai/provider?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=datacite4&identifier=oai:pangaea.de:doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.848085
Creator Ferrari, Maud C O; Manassa, Rachel; Dixson, Danielle L; Munday, Philip L; McCormick, Mark I; Meekan, Mark; Sihler, H; Chivers, Douglas P
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Contributor Yang, Yan
Publication Year 2012
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 780 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (145.467 LON, -14.667 LAT)