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Data from: Elevated carbon dioxide alters the plasma composition and behaviour of a shark

Cite this dataset

Green, Leon; Jutfelt, Fredrik (2014). Data from: Elevated carbon dioxide alters the plasma composition and behaviour of a shark [Dataset]. Dryad.


Increased carbon emissions from fossil fuels are increasing the pCO2 of the ocean surface waters in a process called ocean acidification. Elevated water pCO2 can induce physiological and behavioural effects in teleost fishes, although there appear to be large differences in sensitivity between species. There is currently no information available on the possible responses to future ocean acidification in elasmobranch fishes. We exposed small-spotted catsharks (Scyliorhinus canicula) to either control conditions or a year 2100 scenario of 990 μatm pCO2 for four weeks. We did not detect treatment effects on growth, resting metabolic rate, aerobic scope, skin denticle ultrastructure or skin denticle morphology. However, we found that the elevated pCO2 group buffered internal acidosis via HCO3- accumulation with an associated increase in Na+, indicating that the blood chemistry remained altered despite the long acclimation period. The elevated pCO2 group also exhibited a shift in their nocturnal swimming pattern from a pattern of many starts and stops to more continuous swimming. Although CO2-exposed teleost fishes can display reduced behavioural asymmetry (lateralization), the CO2-exposed sharks showed increased lateralization. These behavioural effects may suggest that elasmobranch neurophysiology is affected by CO2, as in some teleosts, or that the sharks detect CO2 as a constant stressor, which leads to altered behaviour. The potential direct effects of ocean acidification should henceforth be considered when assessing future anthropogenic effects on sharks.

Usage notes


North West Atlantic