Over the past 250 years, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased significantly, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels since the beginning of the industrial age. Almost half of the entire atmospheric CO2 has been absorbed by the oceans, causing the process known as acidification. Estimates indicate that there has been a reduction of 0.1 pH unit in the oceans since the industrial era and, by the end of the 21st century, can occur a possible fall of up to 0.4 units. Ocean acidification (OA) tends to deeply affecting the marine organisms, including, the Echinoderms. Such changes can happen in decrease of saturation level of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or via acid-base balance disturbances that can affect the energy balance of individuals, with possible consequences in population and community. In this context, this study aims to experimentally assess the influence of the AO on nutrition, regeneration, reproduction, body growth and physiological stress in two sympatric species of starfish, Astropecten marginatus and Luidia senegalensis. In addition, it is intended to infer the possible consequences of the results obtained in the laboratory on the dynamics of populations of these two species in the natural environment. The results obtained will provide unprecedented information about the effects of reduced pH in this group of predators whose significant effect in structuring marine communities has been recurrently registered.
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