13 Mar 2023
 | 13 Mar 2023

The Clam Before the Storm: A Meta Analysis Showing the Effect of Combined Climate Change Stressors on Bivalves

Rachel A. Kruft Welton, George Hoppit, Daniela N. Schmidt, James D. Witts, and Benjamin C. Moon

Abstract. Impacts of a range of climate change on marine organisms have been analysed in laboratory and experimental studies. The use of different taxonomic groupings, and assessment of different processes, though, makes identifying overall trends challenging, and may mask phylogenetically different responses. Bivalve molluscs are an ecologically and economically important data-rich clade, allowing for assessment of individual vulnerability and across developmental stages. We use meta-analysis of 203 unique experimental setups to examine how bivalve growth rates respond to increased water temperature, acidity, deoxygenation, changes to salinity, and combinations of these drivers. Results show that anthropogenic climate change will affect different families of bivalves disproportionally but almost unanimously negatively. Almost all drivers and their combinations have significant negative effects on growth. Combined deoxygenation, acidification, and temperature shows the largest negative effect size. Eggs/larval bivalves are more vulnerable overall than either juveniles or adults. Infaunal taxa, including Tellinidae and Veneridae, appear more resistant to warming and oxygen reduction than epifaunal or free-swimming taxa but this assessment is based on a small number of datapoints. The current focus of experimental set-ups on commercially important taxa and families within a small range of habitats creates gaps in understanding of global impacts on these economically important foundation organisms.

Rachel A. Kruft Welton et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-287', Lisa Levin, 28 Mar 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', George Hoppit, 29 May 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-287', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 May 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', George Hoppit, 29 May 2023

Rachel A. Kruft Welton et al.

Rachel A. Kruft Welton et al.


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Short summary
We conducted a meta-analysis of known experimental literature examining how marine bivalve growth rates respond to climate change. Bivalve growth is usually negatively impacted by climate change. Eggs/larval of bivalves are more vulnerable overall than either juveniles or adults. Available data on bivalve response to climate stressors are bias towards early growth stages, commercially important in the global north, and many families have only single experiments examining climate change impacts.