A century of coping with environmental and ecological changes via compensatory biomineralization in mussels

Telesca, Luca and Peck, Lloyd S. and Backeljau, Thierry and Heinig, Mario F. and Harper, Elizabeth M. (2020) A century of coping with environmental and ecological changes via compensatory biomineralization in mussels. Global Change Biology. ISSN 1354-1013 DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15417

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15417


Accurate biological models are critical to predict biotic responses to climate change and human‐caused disturbances. Current understanding of organismal responses to change stems from studies over relatively short timescales. However, most projections lack long‐term observations incorporating the potential for transgenerational phenotypic plasticity and genetic adaption, the keys to resistance. Here, we describe unexpected temporal compensatory responses in biomineralization as a mechanism for resistance to altered environmental conditions and predation impacts in a calcifying foundation species. We evaluated exceptional archival specimens of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis collected regularly between 1904 and 2016 along 15 km of Belgian coastline, along with records of key environmental descriptors and predators. Contrary to global‐scale predictions, shell production increased over the last century, highlighting a protective capacity of mussels for qualitative and quantitative trade‐offs in biomineralization as compensatory responses to altered environments. We also demonstrated the role of changes in predator communities in stimulating unanticipated biological trends that run contrary to experimental predictive models under future climate scenarios. Analysis of archival records has a key role for anticipating emergent impacts of climate change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2020AREP; IA76
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
07 - Gold Open Access
12 - PhD
Journal or Publication Title: Global Change Biology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15417
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2020 00:19
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2020 00:19
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/4914

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