Ocean acidification alters predator behaviour and reduces predation rate

Ocean acidification poses a range of threats to marine invertebrates; however, the emerging and likely widespread effects of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on marine invertebrate behaviour are still little understood. Here, we show that ocean acidification alters and impairs key ecological behaviours of the predatory cone snail Conus marmoreus. Projected near-future seawater CO2 levels (975 µatm) increased activity in this coral reef molluscivore more than threefold (from less than 4 to more than 12 mm min−1) and decreased the time spent buried to less than one-third when compared with the present-day control conditions (390 µatm). Despite increasing activity, elevated CO2 reduced predation rate during predator–prey interactions with control-treated humpbacked conch, Gibberulus gibberulus gibbosus; 60% of control predators successfully captured and consumed their prey, compared with only 10% of elevated CO2 predators.

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