Future ocean conditions could cause significant physical changes in marine mussels

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IMAGE: Marine mussels are commonly used to monitor water quality in coastal areas
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Credit: University of Plymouth

The increased temperature and acidification of our oceans over the next century have been argued to cause significant physical changes in an economically important marine species.

Scientists from the University of Plymouth exposed blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) to current and future levels of ocean acidification (OA) or warming (W), as well as both together – commonly known as OAW.

Initial comparison of mussel shells showed that warming alone led to increased shell growth, but increasing warming and acidification led to decreased shell growth indicating that OA was dissolving their shells.

However, analysis using cutting edge electron microscopy of the shell crystal matrix or ‘ultrastructure’ revealed that, in fact, warming alone has the potential to significantly alter the physical properties of the mussels’ shells, whereas acidification mitigated some of the

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Laundry lint can cause significant tissue damage within marine mussels — ScienceDaily

Microscopic fibres created during the laundry cycle can cause damage to the gills, liver and DNA of marine species, according to new research.

Scientists at the University of Plymouth exposed the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis), found in various locations across the world, to differing quantities of tumble dryer lint.

They demonstrated that increasing the amount of lint resulted in significant abnormality within the mussels’ gills, specifically leading to damage of tissues including deformity, extensive swelling and loss of cilia. In the liver, the presence of lint led to atrophy or deformities leading to loss of definition in digestive tubules.

The increasing concentration of fibres also led to a reduction in the mussels’ ability to filter food particles from the seawater and a significant increase in DNA strand breaks in the blood cells.

Scientists say the precise causes of the effects are not wholly clear, but are likely to

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