Anthropogenic driven climate change is an increasing global problem. Marine invertebrates, such as molluscs have been highlighted as being particularly at risk under future climate change scenarios due to the acidification and warming of the world’s oceans. It is predicted that their heavily calcified shells will become thinner as sea water becomes more acidic, not only changing their role as a CO2 sink but also profoundly impacting the ecological balance and biodiversity. This may be accompanied by alterations in whole animal homeostasis and physiology with a likely reduction in fitness and associated increase in disease susceptibility. However, surprisingly little is known about how molluscs produce shells and the mechanisms involved, yet this fundamental knowledge underpins our ability to predict the future for these, and other mollusc, species.
Our network will identify:
- how molluscs regulate calcium to produce a shell,
- the extent to which calcium regulation varies naturally and how it is controlled
- how these calcium regulation processes might be affected when environmental conditions change
- What the consequences of climate change are for shellfish populations and the aquaculture industry
- How the knowledge of the biochemical pathways in shell production might be exploited via biomimicry approaches
We will make all data publicly available on publication.