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An interplay between plasticity and parental phenotype determines impacts of ocean acidification on a reef fish
Schunter, C.; Welch, M.J.; Nilsson, G.E.; Rummer, J.L.; Munday, P.L.; Ravasi, T. (2017). An interplay between plasticity and parental phenotype determines impacts of ocean acidification on a reef fish. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2(2): 334-342. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1038/s41559-017-0428-8
In: Nature Ecology & Evolution. Springer Nature. ISSN 2397-334X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Schunter, C.
  • Welch, M.J.
  • Nilsson, G.E.
  • Rummer, J.L.
  • Munday, P.L.
  • Ravasi, T.

Abstract
    The impacts of ocean acidification will depend on the ability of marine organisms to tolerate, acclimate and eventually adapt to changes in ocean chemistry. Here, we use a unique transgenerational experiment to determine the molecular response of a coral reef fish to short-term, developmental and transgenerational exposure to elevated CO2, and to test how these responses are influenced by variations in tolerance to elevated CO2 exhibited by the parents. Within-generation responses in gene expression to end-of-century predicted CO2 levels indicate that a self-amplifying cycle in GABAergic neurotransmission is triggered, explaining previously reported neurological and behavioural impairments. Furthermore, epigenetic regulator genes exhibited a within-generation specific response, but with some divergence due to parental phenotype. Importantly, we find that altered gene expression for the majority of within-generation responses returns to baseline levels following parental exposure to elevated CO2 conditions. Our results show that both parental variation in tolerance and cross-generation exposure to elevated CO2 are crucial factors in determining the response of reef fish to changing ocean chemistry.

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