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Title: Multistressor global change drivers reduce hatch and viability of Lingcod embryos, a benthic egg layer in the California Current System

Early life history stages of marine fishes are often more susceptible to environmental stressors than adult stages. This vulnerability is likely exacerbated for species that lay benthic egg masses bound to substrate because the embryos cannot evade locally unfavorable environmental conditions. Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus), a benthic egg layer, is an ecologically and economically significant predator in the highly-productive California Current System (CCS). We ran a flow-through mesocosm experiment that exposed Lingcod eggs collected from Monterey Bay, CA to conditions we expect to see in the central CCS by the year 2050 and 2100. Exposure to temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen concentrations projected by the year 2050 halved the successful hatch of Lingcod embryos and significantly reduced the size of day-1 larvae. In the year 2100 treatment, viable hatch plummeted (3% of normal), larvae were undersized (83% of normal), yolk reserves were exhausted (38% of normal), and deformities were widespread (94% of individuals). This experiment is the first to expose marine benthic eggs to future temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen conditions in concert. Lingcod are a potential indicator species for other benthic egg layers for which global change conditions may significantly diminish recruitment rates.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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