Seawater carbonate chemistry, calcification and shell size of hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria during experiments, 2011, supplement to: Waldbusser, George G; Bergschneider, Heather; Green, Mark A (2010): Size-dependent pH effect on calcification in post-larval hard clam Mercenaria spp. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 417, 171-182


Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide threatens to decrease pH in the world's oceans. Coastal and estuarine calcifying organisms of significant ecological and economical importance are at risk; however, several biogeochemical processes drive pH in these habitats. In particular, coastal and estuarine sediments are frequently undersaturated with respect to calcium carbonate due to high rates of organic matter remineralization, even when overlying waters are saturated. As a result, the post-larval stages of infaunal marine bivalves must be able to deposit new shell material in conditions that are corrosive to shell. We measured calcification rates on the hard clam, Mercenaria spp.,in 5 post-larval size classes (0.39, 0.56, 0.78, 0.98, and 2.90 mm shell height) using the alkalinity anomaly method. Acidity of experimental water was controlled by bubbling with air-CO2 blends to obtain pH values of 8.02, 7.64, and 7.41, corresponding to pCO2 values of 424, 1120, and 1950 µatm. These pH values are typical of those found in many near-shore terrigenous marine sediments. Our results show that calcification rate decreased with lower pH in all 5 size classes measured. We also found a significant effect of size on calcification rate, with the smaller post-larval sizes unable to overcome dissolution pressure. Increased calcification rate with size allowed the larger sizes to overcome dissolution pressure and deposit new shell material under corrosive conditions. Size dependency of pH effects on calcification is likely due to organogenesis and developmental shifts in shell mineralogy occurring through the post-larval stage. Furthermore, we found significantly different calcification rates between the 2 sources of hard clams we used for these experiments, most likely due to genotypic differences. Our findings confirm the susceptibility of the early life stages of this important bivalve to decreasing pH and reveal mechanisms behind the increased mortality in post-larval juvenile hard clams related to dissolution pressure, that has been found in previous studies. In order to allow full comparability with other ocean acidification data sets, the R package seacarb (Lavigne and Gattuso, 2011) 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).

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Waldbusser, George G; Bergschneider, Heather; Green, Mark A
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Contributor Nisumaa, Anne-Marin
Publication Year 2011
Funding Reference Seventh Framework Programme; Sixth Framework Programme
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 282 data points
Discipline Earth System Research