21. Potential for Adaptation of New Zealand Greenshell Mussels to a Higher CO2 World: Milestone 5.1 of CARIM (Coastal Acidification: Rate, Impacts & Management): An Integrated New Zealand Project

Camara M.D. (1), Hilton Z. (1), Ragg N.L.C. (1), Sewell M.A. (2), Cummings V.J. (3), and the CARIM Team (1-7)

1 The Cawthron Institute, 98 Halifax Street East, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
2 School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
3National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd, Greta Point, Kilbirnie, Wellington, 6002, New Zealand
4 Department of Chemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
5 NIWA, Department of Chemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
6 NIWA, 10 Kyle Street, Riccarton, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
7 Department of Marine Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Greenshell mussels ( Perna canaliculus) are both an important endemic species in NZ coastal habitats, and also form the basis of an economically important aquaculture industry. As part of the New Zealand CARIM* project on rates, variability and impacts of coastal ocean acidification in New Zealand, we are examining the ability of Greenshell mussels to acclimate and adapt to lower seawater pH.

In order to examine the adaptive potential in Greenshell mussels we are taking advantage of a well-established selective breeding programme on Greenshell mussels run by the Cawthron Institute that contains established family lines based on individuals that have been sourced from around the country. We are screening these families for their ability to withstand low pH scenarios at the early embryo and larval stage.

Subsequently using a “polarise and characterise” approach, a small number of families which fall at the extremes of resilience and susceptibility to pH perturbation are being used as biological material to undertake detailed biological investigations to elucidate the underlying mechanisms conferring resilience. These investigations are being carried out using a range of tools from physiological energetics approaches to transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

We will present the results of the family screening programme and describe the approaches being used to identify underlying mechanisms of resilience.

*The CARIM (Coastal Acidification: Rate, Impacts & Management) programme is a new multi-disciplinary integrated project that aims to establish the rate and variability of pH change at nationally important coastal sites, the impacts of acidification on coastal ecosystems and iconic species (blackfoot abalone (Haliotis iris), Greenshell mussels and Snapper (Chrysophrys auratus)), and the potential of different approaches for managing these impacts.