Effect of ocean acidification on marine fish sperm (Baltic cod: Gadus morhua)
Abstract. Ocean acidification, as a consequence of increasing marine pCO2, may have severe effects on the physiology of marine organisms. However, experimental studies remain scarce, in particular concerning fish. While adults will most likely remain relatively unaffected by changes in seawater pH, early life-history stages are potentially more sensitive – particularly the critical stage of fertilization, in which sperm motility plays a central role. In this study, the effects of ocean acidification (decrease of pHT to 7.55) on sperm motility of Baltic cod, Gadus morhua, were assessed. We found no significant effect of decreased pH on sperm speed, rate of change of direction or percent motility for the population of cod analyzed. We predict that future ocean acidification will probably not pose a problem for sperm behavior, and hence fertilization success, of Baltic cod.