Postprint of: Mos, B, Kaposi, KL, Rose, AL, Kelaher, B & Dworjanyn, SA 2017, 'Moderate ocean warming mitigates, but more extreme warming exacerbates the impacts of zinc from engineered nanoparticles on a marine larva', Environmental Pollution, vol. 228, pp. 190-200.
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There is growing concern about the combined effects of multiple human-induced stressors on biodiversity. In particular, there are substantial knowledge gaps about the combined effects of existing stressors (e.g. pollution) and predicted environmental stress from climate change (e.g. ocean warming). We investigated the impacts of ocean warming and engineered nanoparticles (nano-zinc oxide, nZnO) on larvae of a cosmopolitan tropical sea urchin, Tripneustes gratilla. Larval T. gratilla were exposed to all combinations of three temperatures, 25, 27 and 29 °C (current SST and near-future predicted warming of +2 and + 4 °C) and six concentrations of nZnO (0, 0.001, 0.01, 0.1, 1 and 10 mg nZnO·L-1). These stressors had strong interactive effects on fertilization, gastrulation and normal development of 5 day old larvae. High concentrations of nZnO had a negative effect, but this impact was less pronounced for sea urchins reared at their preferred temperature of 27 °C compared to 25 or 29 °C. Larval growth was also impacted by combined stress of elevated temperature and nZnO. Subsequent measurement of the dissolution and aggregation of nZnO particles and the direct effect of Zn2+ ions on larvae, suggest the negative effects of nZnO on larval development and growth were most likely due to Zn2+ ions. Our results demonstrate that marine larvae may be more resilient to stressors at optimal temperatures and highlight the potential for ocean warming to exacerbate the effects of pollution on marine larvae.