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Mar Pollut Bull. 2013 Aug 30;73(2):470-84. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.11.040. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

Distribution of sea urchins living near shallow water CO2 vents is dependent upon species acid-base and ion-regulatory abilities.

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Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, School of Marine Science & Engineering, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK. Electronic address:


To reduce the negative effect of climate change on Biodiversity, the use of geological CO2 sequestration has been proposed; however leakage from underwater storages may represent a risk to marine life. As extracellular homeostasis is important in determining species' ability to cope with elevated CO2, we investigated the acid-base and ion regulatory responses, as well as the density, of sea urchins living around CO2 vents at Vulcano, Italy. We conducted in situ transplantation and field-based laboratory exposures to different pCO2/pH regimes. Our results confirm that sea urchins have some ability to regulate their extracellular fluid under elevated pCO2. Furthermore, we show that even in closely-related taxa divergent physiological capabilities underlie differences in taxa distribution around the CO2 vent. It is concluded that species distribution under the sort of elevated CO2 conditions occurring with leakages from geological storages and future ocean acidification scenarios, may partly be determined by quite subtle physiological differentiation.


Acid–base and ionic regulation; Arbacia lixula; Carbon capture and storage (CCS); Distribution; Ocean acidification; Paracentrotus lividus

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