Image of the Day: Mussel Bubble

Scientists examine the effect of ocean acidification on mussel larvae.

The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff
Nov 27, 2017

A polarizing microscope image of two-day-old mussel larvaeFRANZ MELZNER, HELMHOLTZ CENTRE FOR OCEAN RESEARCH KIEL  Like other marine life forms, mussels are sensitive to the effects of ocean acidification. This is particularly the case for larvae, where ocean acidity can interfere with the process of building their calcified shells, a process that takes place between their first and second day of life.

Researchers used a combination of dyes and specialized microscopy techniques to study shell building in mussel larvae, and found that increasing acidification can impair calcification rates and lead to increased mortality.

K. Ramesh et al., “Mussel larvae modify calcifying fluid carbonate chemistry to promote calcification,” Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01806-8, 2017.