Directional fabrication and dissolution of larval and juvenile oyster shells under ocean acidification

By Eric Lee
Jan 19th 2023

Latest publication by Dr lab and his collaborators

Biomineralization is one of the key biochemical processes in calcifying bivalve species such as oysters that is affected by ocean acidification (OA). Larval life stages of oysters are made of aragonite crystals whereas the adults are made of calcite and/or aragonite. Though both calcite and aragonite are crystal polymorphs of calcium carbonate, they have different mechanical properties and hence it is important to study the micro and nano structure of different life stages of oyster shells under OA to understand the mechanisms by which OA affects biomineralization ontogeny. Here, they have studied the larval and juvenile life stages of an economically and ecologically important estuarine oyster species, Crassostrea hongkongensis, under OA with focus over shell fabrication under OA (pHNBS 7.4). They also look at the effect of parental exposure to OA on larvae and juvenile microstructure. The micro and nanostructure characterization reveals directional fabrication of oyster shells, with more organized structure as biomineralization progresses. Under OA, both the larval and juvenile stages show directional dissolution, i.e. the earlier formed shell layers undergo dissolution at first, owing to longer exposure time. Despite dissolution, the micro and nanostructure of the shell remains unaffected under OA, irrespective of parental exposure history.

The journal paper can be found here: