Experimental aquaria are set up!

After a long period of planning, calculating, reading, discussing and experimenting we finally set up the aquaria for our acidification experiments! In our experiments we simulate future conditions of the sea, as they have been modeled by the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This means, in the future our seas will be much warmer than now, and more acidic (lower pH value). We investigate both the effect of temperature and pH on the organisms, as well as a combination of the two factors. Of course, we also have a control tank, so our main experiment uses four tanks with the following conditions.

  • normal sea temperatures, normal pH (conditions of today, control tank)
  • elevated temperature, normal pH
  • acidified conditions (lower pH), normal temperatures
  • elevated temperatures and acidified conditions (lower pH)

Fortunately, we are able to use the facilities of the CretAquarium for our experiments, this makes the whole set up a lot easier than if we had to start everything from scratch.

The experimental aquaria are being filled with water

We had collected our organisms already several weeks ago to give them time to acclimatize to the conditions in the aquarium, but now it was time to distribute them into the different tanks. We use smaller containers for each organism group (because if we had them all in one tank some might try to eat some others...), and these small containers are placed in the big tanks.

 Everything is ready for distributing the organisms into the different containers.

Some of our organisms:

Ditrupa aretina, a tube worm small mussels

Nassarius, a snail
Hexaplex trunculus, another snail

Each animal was measured individually (yes, that took quite some time, since we have several hundreds of animals!) and distributed into the different containers, which were finally placed in the tanks:

The "elevated temperature" tanks with the organims.

Now we slowly need to raise the temperature in the "warm condition" tanks and lower the pH in the "acid condition" tanks and then we're ready to monitor the effects on our specimens...