Buffer capacity of the coelomic fluid in echinoderms

Marie Collard*, Kim Laitat, Laure Moulin, Ana I Catarino, Philippe Grosjean, Philippe Dubois

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    47 Citations (Scopus)


    The increase in atmospheric CO2 due to anthropogenic activity results in an acidification of the surface waters of the oceans. The impact of these chemical changes depends on the considered organisms. In particular, it depends on the ability of the organism to control the pH of its inner fluids. Among echinoderms, this ability seems to differ significantly according to species or taxa. In the present paper, we investigated the buffer capacity of the coelomic fluid in different echinoderm taxa as well as factors modifying this capacity. Euechinoidea (sea urchins except Cidaroidea) present a very high buffer capacity of the coelomic fluid (from 0.8 to 1.8mmolkg(-1) SW above that of seawater), while Cidaroidea (other sea urchins), starfish and holothurians have a significantly lower one (from -0.1 to 0.4mmolkg(-1) SW compared to seawater). We hypothesize that this is linked to the more efficient gas exchange structures present in the three last taxa, whereas Euechinoidea evolved specific buffer systems to compensate lower gas exchange abilities. The constituents of the buffer capacity and the factors influencing it were investigated in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus and the starfish Asterias rubens. Buffer capacity is primarily due to the bicarbonate buffer system of seawater (representing about 63% for sea urchins and 92% for starfish). It is also partly due to coelomocytes present in the coelomic fluid (around 8% for both) and, in P. lividus only, a compound of an apparent size larger than 3kDa is involved (about 15%). Feeding increased the buffer capacity in P. lividus (to a difference with seawater of about 2.3mmolkg(-1) SW compared to unfed ones who showed a difference of about 0.5mmolkg(-1) SW) but not in A. rubens (difference with seawater of about 0.2 for both conditions). In P. lividus, decreased seawater pH induced an increase of the buffer capacity of individuals maintained at pH7.7 to about twice that of the control individuals and, for those at pH7.4, about three times. This allowed a partial compensation of the coelomic fluid pH for individuals maintained at pH7.7 but not for those at pH7.4.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)199-206
    Number of pages8
    JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)


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