ICES Science Fund

Can pelagic gastropods be used to assess the impacts of ocean acidification

Can pelagic gastropods be used to assess the impacts of ocean acidification?
  • ​Lead scientist: Pablo Leon Diaz, Phytoplankton Ecology - Marine Planning, Energy & Environment, Marine Scotland Science
  • Co-scientist: Prof. Miep Helfrich Institute of Medical Sciences University of Aberdeen​

Project objectives

The aim of this project is to investigate if scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of pelagic gastropod shells can be used as a tool to assess the impacts of ocean acidification (OA) on the plankton community in the North Sea. This will be achieved using samples collected during 2015 as well as archived zooplankton samples from monthly 68μm plankton net samples and environmental/OA data collected at the Marine Scotland Science (MSS) monitoring site at Stonehaven on the east coast of Scotland between 2009 and 2014.

The main objectives are:

  1. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques will be used to examine the shells of pelagic gastropods and any evidence of shell dissolution scored.
  2. X-ray microanalysis of the shells using SEM to assess the elemental composition of shells from different gastropod species will be performed.
  3. The SEM results will be compared with carbonate chemistry measurements (total alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon) and environmental parameters (temperature, salinity, nutrients, chlorophyll) collected at Stonehaven to assess if any temporal dissolution or elemental composition patterns are associated with carbonate chemistry and/or seasonal or environmental parameters.
  4. The use of these techniques to produce a 'tool' to identify the impacts of OA on the plankton community will be evaluated.​
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​Limacina spp. one of the target groups for the project.

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Can pelagic gastropods be used to assess the impacts of ocean acidification

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