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Acclimation and thermal tolerance in Antarctic marine ectotherms.
J. Exp. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 08-29-2014
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Antarctic marine species have evolved in one of the coldest and most temperature-stable marine environments on Earth. They have long been classified as being stenothermal, or having a poor capacity to resist warming. Here we show that their ability to acclimate their physiology to elevated temperatures is poor compared with species from temperate latitudes, and similar to those from the tropics. Those species that have been demonstrated to acclimate take a very long time to do so, with Antarctic fish requiring up to 21-36 days to acclimate, which is 2-4 times as long as temperate species, and invertebrates requiring between 2 and 5 months to complete whole-animal acclimation. Investigations of upper thermal tolerance (CT(max)) in Antarctic marine species have shown that as the rate of warming is reduced in experiments, CT(max) declines markedly, ranging from 8 to 17.5 °C across 13 species at a rate of warming of 1 °C day(-1), and from 1 to 6 °C at a rate of 1 °C month(-1). This effect of the rate of warming on CT(max) also appears to be present at all latitudes. A macrophysiological analysis of long-term CT(max) across latitudes for marine benthic groups showed that both Antarctic and tropical species were less resistant to elevated temperatures in experiments and thus had lower warming allowances (measured as the difference between long-term CT(max) and experienced environmental temperature), or warming resistance, than temperate species. This makes them more at risk from warming than species from intermediate latitudes. This suggests that the variability of environmental temperature may be a major factor in dictating an organism's responses to environmental change.
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Deep sequencing of the mantle transcriptome of the great scallop Pecten maximus.
Mar Genomics
PUBLISHED: 03-12-2014
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RNA-Seq transcriptome data were generated from mantle tissue of the great scallop, Pecten maximus. The consensus data were produced from a time course series of animals subjected to a 56-day thermal challenge at 3 different temperatures. A total of 26,064 contigs were assembled de novo, providing a useful resource for both the aquaculture community and researchers with an interest in mollusc shell production.
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Limpet feeding rate and the consistency of physiological response to temperature.
J. Comp. Physiol. B, Biochem. Syst. Environ. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 02-06-2014
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Thermal reaction norms are fundamental relationships for geographic comparisons of organism response to temperature. They are shaped by an organism's environmental history and provide insights into both the global patterns of thermal sensitivity and the physiological mechanisms underlying temperature response. In this study we conducted the first measure of the thermal reaction norm for feeding, comparing the radula rasping rate of two tropical and one polar limpet species. The consistency of thermal response was tested through comparisons with limpet duration tenacity. Feeding and duration tenacity of limpets are ecologically important muscular mechanisms that rely on very different aspects of muscle physiology, repeated concentric (shortening) and isometric (fixed length) contraction of muscles, respectively. In these limpets the thermal reaction norms of feeding limpets were best described by a single break point at a maximum temperature with linear declines at higher (Siphonaria atra) or lower temperatures (Nacella concinna and Cellana radiata) rather than a bell-shaped curve. The thermal reaction norms for duration tenacity were similar in the two tropical limpets. However, the rasping rate in Antarctic N. concinna increased linearly with temperature up to a maximum at 12.3 °C (maximal range 8.5-12.3 °C) when feeding stopped. In contrast, duration tenacity in N. concinna was maximal at 1.0 °C (-0.6 to 3.8 °C) and linearly decreased with increasing temperature. The thermal reaction norms of muscular activity were, therefore, inconsistent within and between species, indicating that different mechanisms likely underlie different aspects of species sensitivities to temperature.
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A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2014.
Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.)
PUBLISHED: 09-27-2013
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This paper presents the output of our fifth annual horizon-scanning exercise, which aims to identify topics that increasingly may affect conservation of biological diversity, but have yet to be widely considered. A team of professional horizon scanners, researchers, practitioners, and a journalist identified 15 topics which were identified via an iterative, Delphi-like process. The 15 topics include a carbon market induced financial crash, rapid geographic expansion of macroalgal cultivation, genetic control of invasive species, probiotic therapy for amphibians, and an emerging snake fungal disease.
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Low global sensitivity of metabolic rate to temperature in calcified marine invertebrates.
Oecologia
PUBLISHED: 08-29-2013
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Metabolic rate is a key component of energy budgets that scales with body size and varies with large-scale environmental geographical patterns. Here we conduct an analysis of standard metabolic rates (SMR) of marine ectotherms across a 70° latitudinal gradient in both hemispheres that spanned collection temperatures of 0-30 °C. To account for latitudinal differences in the size and skeletal composition between species, SMR was mass normalized to that of a standard-sized (223 mg) ash-free dry mass individual. SMR was measured for 17 species of calcified invertebrates (bivalves, gastropods, urchins and brachiopods), using a single consistent methodology, including 11 species whose SMR was described for the first time. SMR of 15 out of 17 species had a mass-scaling exponent between 2/3 and 1, with no greater support for a 3/4 rather than a 2/3 scaling exponent. After accounting for taxonomy and variability in parameter estimates among species using variance-weighted linear mixed effects modelling, temperature sensitivity of SMR had an activation energy (Ea) of 0.16 for both Northern and Southern Hemisphere species which was lower than predicted under the metabolic theory of ecology (Ea 0.2-1.2 eV). Northern Hemisphere species, however, had a higher SMR at each habitat temperature, but a lower mass-scaling exponent relative to SMR. Evolutionary trade-offs that may be driving differences in metabolic rate (such as metabolic cold adaptation of Northern Hemisphere species) will have important impacts on species abilities to respond to changing environments.
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Hypoxia impacts large adults first: consequences in a warming world.
Glob Chang Biol
PUBLISHED: 02-27-2013
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Future oceans are predicted to contain less oxygen than at present. This is because oxygen is less soluble in warmer water and predicted stratification will reduce mixing. Hypoxia in marine environments is thus likely to become more widespread in marine environments and understanding species-responses is important to predicting future impacts on biodiversity. This study used a tractable model, the Antarctic clam, Laternula elliptica, which can live for 36 years, and has a well-characterized ecology and physiology to understand responses to hypoxia and how the effect varied with age. Younger animals had a higher condition index, higher adenylate energy charge and transcriptional profiling indicated that they were physically active in their response to hypoxia, whereas older animals were more sedentary, with higher levels of oxidative damage and apoptosis in the gills. These effects could be attributed, in part, to age-related tissue scaling; older animals had proportionally less contractile muscle mass and smaller gills and foot compared with younger animals, with consequential effects on the whole-animal physiological response. The data here emphasize the importance of including age effects, as large mature individuals appear to be less able to resist hypoxic conditions and this is the size range that is the major contributor to future generations. Thus, the increased prevalence of hypoxia in future oceans may have marked effects on benthic organisms abilities to persist and this is especially so for long-lived species when predicting responses to environmental perturbation.
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Juveniles Are More Resistant to Warming than Adults in 4 Species of Antarctic Marine Invertebrates.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Juvenile stages are often thought to be less resistant to thermal challenges than adults, yet few studies make direct comparisons using the same methods between different life history stages. We tested the resilience of juvenile stages compared to adults in 4 species of Antarctic marine invertebrate over 3 different rates of experimental warming. The species used represent 3 phyla and 4 classes, and were the soft-shelled clam Laternula elliptica, the sea cucumber Cucumaria georgiana, the sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri, and the seastar Odontaster validus. All four species are widely distributed, locally abundant to very abundant and are amongst the most important in the ecosystem for their roles. At the slowest rate of warming used (1°C 3 days(-1)) juveniles survived to higher temperatures than adults in all species studied. At the intermediate rate (1°C day(-1)) juveniles performed better in 3 of the 4 species, with no difference in the 4(th), and at the fastest rate of warming (1°C h(-1)) L. elliptica adults survived to higher temperatures than juveniles, but in C. georgiana juveniles survived to higher temperatures than adults and there were no differences in the other species. Oxygen limitation may explain the better performance of juveniles at the slower rates of warming, whereas the loss of difference between juveniles and adults at the fastest rate of warming suggests another mechanism sets the temperature limit here.
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Hierarchical population genetic structure in a direct developing antarctic marine invertebrate.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Understanding the relationship between life-history variation and population structure in marine invertebrates is not straightforward. This is particularly true of polar species due to the difficulty of obtaining samples and a paucity of genomic resources from which to develop nuclear genetic markers. Such knowledge, however, is essential for understanding how different taxa may respond to climate change in the most rapidly warming regions of the planet. We therefore used over two hundred polymorphic Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs) to explore population connectivity at three hierachical spatial scales in the direct developing Antarctic topshell Margarella antarctica. To previously published data from five populations spanning a 1500 km transect along the length of the Western Antarctic Peninsula, we added new AFLP data for four populations separated by up to 6 km within Ryder Bay, Adelaide Island. Overall, we found a nonlinear isolation-by-distance pattern, suggestive of weaker population structure within Ryder Bay than is present over larger spatial scales. Nevertheless, significantly positive F st values were obtained in all but two of ten pairwise population comparisons within the bay following Bonferroni correction for multiple tests. This is in contrast to a previous study of the broadcast spawner Nacella concinna that found no significant genetic differences among several of the same sites. By implication, the topshells direct-developing lifestyle may constrain its ability to disperse even over relatively small geographic scales.
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A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2012.
Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.)
PUBLISHED: 10-28-2011
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Our aim in conducting annual horizon scans is to identify issues that, although currently receiving little attention, may be of increasing importance to the conservation of biological diversity in the future. The 15 issues presented here were identified by a diverse team of 22 experts in horizon scanning, and conservation science and its application. Methods for identifying and refining issues were the same as in two previous annual scans and are widely transferable to other disciplines. The issues highlight potential changes in climate, technology and human behaviour. Examples include warming of the deep sea, increased cultivation of perennial grains, burning of Arctic tundra, and the development of nuclear batteries and hydrokinetic in-stream turbines.
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Upper temperature limits of tropical marine ectotherms: global warming implications.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 09-06-2011
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Animal physiology, ecology and evolution are affected by temperature and it is expected that community structure will be strongly influenced by global warming. This is particularly relevant in the tropics, where organisms are already living close to their upper temperature limits and hence are highly vulnerable to rising temperature. Here we present data on upper temperature limits of 34 tropical marine ectotherm species from seven phyla living in intertidal and subtidal habitats. Short term thermal tolerances and vertical distributions were correlated, i.e., upper shore animals have higher thermal tolerance than lower shore and subtidal animals; however, animals, despite their respective tidal height, were susceptible to the same temperature in the long term. When temperatures were raised by 1°C hour(-1), the upper lethal temperature range of intertidal ectotherms was 41-52°C, but this range was narrower and reduced to 37-41°C in subtidal animals. The rate of temperature change, however, affected intertidal and subtidal animals differently. In chronic heating experiments when temperature was raised weekly or monthly instead of every hour, upper temperature limits of subtidal species decreased from 40°C to 35.4°C, while the decrease was more than 10°C in high shore organisms. Hence in the long term, activity and survival of tropical marine organisms could be compromised just 2-3°C above present seawater temperatures. Differences between animals from environments that experience different levels of temperature variability suggest that the physiological mechanisms underlying thermal sensitivity may vary at different rates of warming.
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Organisms and responses to environmental change.
Mar Genomics
PUBLISHED: 05-06-2011
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There is great concern currently over environmental change and the biotic responses, actual or potential, to that change. There is also great concern over biodiversity and the observed losses to date. However, there has been little focus on the diversity of potential responses that organisms can make, and how this would influence both the focus of investigation and conservation efforts. Here emphasis is given to broad scale approaches, from gene to ecosystem and where a better understanding of diversity of potential response is needed. There is a need for the identification of rare, key or unique genomes and physiologies that should be made priorities for conservation because of their importance to global biodiversity. The new discipline of conservation physiology is one aspect of the many ways in which organismal responses to environmental variability and change can be investigated, but wider approaches are needed. Environmental change, whether natural or human induced occurs over a very wide range of scales, from nanometres to global and seconds to millennia. The processes involved in responses also function over a wide range of scales, from the molecular to the ecosystem. Organismal responses to change should be viewed in these wider frameworks. Within this overall framework the rate of change of an environmental variable dictates which biological process will be most important in the success or failure of the response. Taking this approach allows an equation to be formulated that allows the likely survival of future change to be estimated:where Ps=Probability of survival; PF=Physiological flexibility; GM=Gene pool modification rate; NP=number in population; F=Fitness; D=Dispersal capability; RA=Resource availability; ?E=rate of change of the environment; C=Competition; PR=Predation and parasitism; HS=Habitat separation. Functions (f) are used here to denote that factors may interact and respond in a non-linear fashion.
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Turning on the heat: ecological response to simulated warming in the sea.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2011
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Significant warming has been observed in every ocean, yet our ability to predict the consequences of oceanic warming on marine biodiversity remains poor. Experiments have been severely limited because, until now, it has not been possible to manipulate seawater temperature in a consistent manner across a range of marine habitats. We constructed a "hot-plate" system to directly examine ecological responses to elevated seawater temperature in a subtidal marine system. The substratum available for colonisation and overlying seawater boundary layer were warmed for 36 days, which resulted in greater biomass of marine organisms and a doubling of space coverage by a dominant colonial ascidian. The "hot-plate" system will facilitate complex manipulations of temperature and multiple stressors in the field to provide valuable information on the response of individuals, populations and communities to environmental change in any aquatic habitat.
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Antarctic krill 454 pyrosequencing reveals chaperone and stress transcriptome.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-06-2011
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The Antarctic krill Euphausia superba is a keystone species in the Antarctic food chain. Not only is it a significant grazer of phytoplankton, but it is also a major food item for charismatic megafauna such as whales and seals and an important Southern Ocean fisheries crop. Ecological data suggest that this species is being affected by climate change and this will have considerable consequences for the balance of the Southern Ocean ecosystem. Hence, understanding how this organism functions is a priority area and will provide fundamental data for life history studies, energy budget calculations and food web models.
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Horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2011.
Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.)
PUBLISHED: 11-02-2010
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This review describes outcomes of a 2010 horizon-scanning exercise building upon the first exercise conducted in 2009. The aim of both horizon scans was to identify emerging issues that could have substantial impacts on the conservation of biological diversity, and to do so sufficiently early to encourage policy-relevant, practical research on those issues. Our group included professional horizon scanners and researchers affiliated with universities and non- and inter-governmental organizations, including specialists on topics such as invasive species, wildlife diseases and coral reefs. We identified 15 nascent issues, including new greenhouse gases, genetic techniques to eradicate mosquitoes, milk consumption in Asia and societal pessimism.
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Strong population genetic structure in a broadcast-spawning Antarctic marine invertebrate.
J. Hered.
PUBLISHED: 08-18-2010
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Although studies of population genetic structure are commonplace, a strong bias exists toward species from low latitudes and with relatively poor dispersal capabilities. Consequently, we used 280 amplified fragment length polymorphism bands to explore patterns of genetic differentiation among 8 populations of a high latitude broadcast-spawning marine mollusc, the Antarctic limpet Nacella concinna. Over 300 individuals were sampled along a latitudinal gradient spanning the Antarctic Peninsula from Adelaide Island to King George Island (67°-62°S), then to Signy Island (60°S) and South Georgia (54°S). Populations from the Antarctic Peninsula exhibited little genetic structure but were themselves strongly differentiated from both Signy and South Georgia. This finding was analytically highly robust and implies the presence of significant oceanographic barriers to gene flow in a species long regarded as a classic example of a widely dispersing broadcast spawner.
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Insights into shell deposition in the Antarctic bivalve Laternula elliptica: gene discovery in the mantle transcriptome using 454 pyrosequencing.
BMC Genomics
PUBLISHED: 02-22-2010
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The Antarctic clam, Laternula elliptica, is an infaunal stenothermal bivalve mollusc with a circumpolar distribution. It plays a significant role in bentho-pelagic coupling and hence has been proposed as a sentinel species for climate change monitoring. Previous studies have shown that this mollusc displays a high level of plasticity with regard to shell deposition and damage repair against a background of genetic homogeneity. The Southern Ocean has amongst the lowest present-day CaCO3 saturation rate of any ocean region, and is predicted to be among the first to become undersaturated under current ocean acidification scenarios. Hence, this species presents as an ideal candidate for studies into the processes of calcium regulation and shell deposition in our changing ocean environments.
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Macrophysiology: a conceptual reunification.
Am. Nat.
PUBLISHED: 10-01-2009
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Widespread recognition of the importance of biological studies at large spatial and temporal scales, particularly in the face of many of the most pressing issues facing humanity, has fueled the argument that there is a need to reinvigorate such studies in physiological ecology through the establishment of a macrophysiology. Following a period when the fields of ecology and physiological ecology had been regarded as largely synonymous, studies of this kind were relatively commonplace in the first half of the twentieth century. However, such large-scale work subsequently became rather scarce as physiological studies concentrated on the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying the capacities and tolerances of species. In some sense, macrophysiology is thus an attempt at a conceptual reunification. In this article, we provide a conceptual framework for the continued development of macrophysiology. We subdivide this framework into three major components: the establishment of macrophysiological patterns, determining the form of those patterns (the very general ways in which they are shaped), and understanding the mechanisms that give rise to them. We suggest ways in which each of these components could be developed usefully.
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A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2010.
Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.)
PUBLISHED: 09-29-2009
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Horizon scanning identifies emerging issues in a given field sufficiently early to conduct research to inform policy and practice. Our group of horizon scanners, including academics and researchers, convened to identify fifteen nascent issues that could affect the conservation of biological diversity. These include the impacts of and potential human responses to climate change, novel biological and digital technologies, novel pollutants and invasive species. We expect to repeat this process and collation annually.
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Thermal plasticity of mitochondria: a latitudinal comparison between Southern Ocean molluscs.
Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part A Mol. Integr. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 04-28-2009
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Mitochondrial volume density (Vv((mt,f))), cristae surface density (Sv((im,mt))), cristae surface area (Sv((im,f))) and citrate synthase (CS) activity were analysed as indicators of thermal acclimation in foot muscle of the limpet, Nacella concinna, and the clam, Laternula elliptica, collected from 4 locations within the Southern Ocean, South Georgia (54 degrees S, N. concinna only), Signy (60 degrees S), Jubany (L. elliptica only -62 degrees S) and Rothera (67 degrees S). Animals were acclimated to 0.0 degrees C whilst a sub-set of N. concinna (South Georgia, Signy and Rothera) and L. elliptica (Rothera) were acclimated to 3.0 degrees C. At 0.0 degrees C N. concinna had higher Vv((mt,f)), Sv((im,mt)), Sv((im,f)) and muscle fibre specific CS activity than L. elliptica which correlated with the more active life style of N. concinna. However, mitochondrial density was very low, 1-2% in both species, suggesting that low temperature compensation of mitochondrial density is not a universal evolutionary response of Antarctic marine ectotherms. Both Sv((im,mt)) and Sv((im,f)) were reduced by warm acclimation of N. concinna. South Georgia N. concinna maintained muscle fibre specific CS activity after acclimation, in contrast to N. concinna from Rothera and Signy and L. elliptica from Rothera, indicating that they have the physiological plasticity to respond to their warmer, more variable thermal environment.
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Triggers of the HSP70 stress response: environmental responses and laboratory manipulation in an Antarctic marine invertebrate (Nacella concinna).
Cell Stress Chaperones
PUBLISHED: 03-09-2009
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The Antarctic limpet, Nacella concinna, exhibits the classical heat shock response, with up-regulation of duplicated forms of the inducible heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) gene in response to experimental manipulation of seawater temperatures. However, this response only occurs in the laboratory at temperatures well in excess of any experienced in the field. Subsequent environmental sampling of inter-tidal animals also showed up-regulation of these genes, but at temperature thresholds much lower than those required to elicit a response in the laboratory. It was hypothesised that this was a reflection of the complexity of the stresses encountered in the inter-tidal region. Here, we describe a further series of experiments comprising both laboratory manipulation and environmental sampling of N. concinna. We investigate the expression of HSP70 gene family members (HSP70A, HSP70B, GRP78 and HSC70) in response to a further suite of environmental stressors: seasonal and experimental cold, freshwater, desiccation, chronic heat and periodic emersion. Lowered temperatures (-1.9 degrees C and -1.6 degrees C), generally produced a down-regulation of all HSP70 family members, with some up-regulation of HSC70 when emerging from the winter period and increasing sea temperatures. There was no significant response to freshwater immersion. In response to acute and chronic heat treatments plus simulated tidal cycles, the data showed a clear pattern. HSP70A showed a strong but very short-term response to heat whilst the duplicated HSP70B also showed heat to be a trigger, but had a more sustained response to complex stresses. GRP78 expression indicates that it was acting as a generalised stress response under the experimental conditions described here. HSC70 was the major chaperone invoked in response to long-term stresses of varying types. These results provide intriguing clues not only to the complexity of HSP70 gene expression in response to environmental change but also insights into the stress response of a non-model species.
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Geographical variation in thermal tolerance within Southern Ocean marine ectotherms.
Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part A Mol. Integr. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 01-26-2009
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Latitudinal comparisons of the Southern Ocean limpet, Nacella concinna, and clam, Laternula elliptica, acclimated to 0.0 degrees C, were used to assess differences in thermal response to two regimes, 0.0, 5.1 to 10.0 degrees C and 2.5, 7.5 to 12.5 degrees C, raised at 5.0 degrees C per week. At each temperature, tissue energy status was measured through a combination of O(2) consumption, intracellular pH, cCO(2), citrate synthase (CS) activity, organic acids (succinate, acetate, propionate), adenylates (ATP, ADP, AMP, ITP, PLA (phospho-L-arginine)) and heart rate. L. elliptica from Signy (60 degrees S) and Rothera (67 degrees S), which experience a similar thermal regime (-2 to +1 degrees C) had the same lethal (7.5-10.0 degrees C), critical (5.1-7.5 degrees C) and pejus (<5.1 degrees C;=getting worse) limits with only small differences in biochemical response. N. concinna, which experiences a wider thermal regime (-2 to +15.8 degrees C), had higher lethal limits (10.0-12.5 degrees C). However, at their Northern geographic limit N. concinna, which live in a warmer environment (South Georgia, 54 degrees S), had a lower critical limit (5.1-10.0 degrees C; O(2), PLA and organic acids) than Rothera and Signy N. concinna (10.0-12.5 degrees C). This lower limit indicates that South Georgia N. concinna have different biochemical responses to temperatures close to their thermal limit, which may make them more vulnerable to future warming trends.
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Transcriptome pyrosequencing of the Antarctic brittle star Ophionotus victoriae.
Mar Genomics
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Brittle stars are included within a whole range of species, which contribute to knowledge in the medically important area of tissue regeneration. All brittle stars regenerate lose limbs, but the rate at which this occurs is highly variable and species-specific. One of the slowest rates of arm regeneration reported so far is that of the Antarctic Ophionotus victoriae. Additionally, O. victoriae also has an unusual delay in the onset of regeneration of about 5months. Both processes are of interest for the areas of regeneration biology and adaptation to cold environments. One method of understanding the details of regeneration events in brittle stars is to characterise the genes involved. In the largest transcriptome study of any ophiuroid to date, we describe the results of mRNA pyrosequencing from pooled samples of regenerating arms of O. victoriae. The sequencing reads resulted in 18,000 assembled contiguous sequences of which 19% were putatively annotated by blast sequence similarity searching. We focus on the identification of major gene families and pathways with potential relevance to the regenerative processes including the Wnt/?-catenin pathway, Hox genes, the SOX gene family and the TGF beta signalling pathways. These data significantly increase the amount of ophiuroid sequences publicly available and provide candidate transcripts for the further investigation of the unusual regenerative process in this Antarctic ophiuroid.
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Thermal reaction norms and the scale of temperature variation: latitudinal vulnerability of intertidal nacellid limpets to climate change.
PLoS ONE
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The thermal reaction norms of 4 closely related intertidal Nacellid limpets, Antarctic (Nacella concinna), New Zealand (Cellana ornata), Australia (C. tramoserica) and Singapore (C. radiata), were compared across environments with different temperature magnitude, variability and predictability, to test their relative vulnerability to different scales of climate warming. Lethal limits were measured alongside a newly developed metric of "duration tenacity", which was tested at different temperatures to calculate the thermal reaction norm of limpet adductor muscle fatigue. Except in C. tramoserica which had a wide optimum range with two break points, duration tenacity did not follow a typical aerobic capacity curve but was best described by a single break point at an optimum temperature. Thermal reaction norms were shifted to warmer temperatures in warmer environments; the optimum temperature for tenacity (T(opt)) increased from 1.0°C (N. concinna) to 14.3°C (C. ornata) to 18.0°C (an average for the optimum range of C. tramoserica) to 27.6°C (C. radiata). The temperature limits for duration tenacity of the 4 species were most consistently correlated with both maximum sea surface temperature and summer maximum in situ habitat logger temperature. Tropical C. radiata, which lives in the least variable and most predictable environment, generally had the lowest warming tolerance and thermal safety margin (WT and TSM; respectively the thermal buffer of CT(max) and T(opt) over habitat temperature). However, the two temperate species, C. ornata and C. tramoserica, which live in a variable and seasonally unpredictable microhabitat, had the lowest TSM relative to in situ logger temperature. N. concinna which lives in the most variable, but seasonally predictable microhabitat, generally had the highest TSMs. Intertidal animals live at the highly variable interface between terrestrial and marine biomes and even small changes in the magnitude and predictability of their environment could markedly influence their future distributions.
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A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2013.
Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.)
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This paper presents the findings of our fourth annual horizon-scanning exercise, which aims to identify topics that increasingly may affect conservation of biological diversity. The 15 issues were identified via an iterative, transferable process by a team of professional horizon scanners, researchers, practitioners, and a journalist. The 15 topics include the commercial use of antimicrobial peptides, thorium-fuelled nuclear power, and undersea oil production.
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Iceberg scour and shell damage in the Antarctic bivalve Laternula elliptica.
PLoS ONE
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We document differences in shell damage and shell thickness in a bivalve mollusc (Laternula elliptica) from seven sites around Antarctica with differing exposures to ice movement. These range from 60% of the sea bed impacted by ice per year (Hangar Cove, Antarctic Peninsula) to those protected by virtually permanent sea ice cover (McMurdo Sound). Patterns of shell damage consistent with blunt force trauma were observed in populations where ice scour frequently occurs; damage repair frequencies and the thickness of shells correlated positively with the frequency of iceberg scour at the different sites with the highest repair rates and thicker shells at Hangar Cove (74.2% of animals damaged) compared to the other less impacted sites (less than 10% at McMurdo Sound). Genetic analysis of population structure using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs) revealed no genetic differences between the two sites showing the greatest difference in shell morphology and repair rates. Taken together, our results suggest that L. elliptica exhibits considerable phenotypic plasticity in response to geographic variation in physical disturbance.
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Estimating long-term survival temperatures at the assemblage level in the marine environment: towards macrophysiology.
PLoS ONE
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Defining ecologically relevant upper temperature limits of species is important in the context of environmental change. The approach used in the present paper estimates the relationship between rates of temperature change and upper temperature limits for survival in order to evaluate the maximum long-term survival temperature (Ts). This new approach integrates both the exposure time and the exposure temperature in the evaluation of temperature limits. Using data previously published for different temperate and Antarctic marine environments, we calculated Ts in each environment, which allowed us to calculate a new index: the Warming Allowance (WA). This index is defined as the maximum environmental temperature increase which an ectotherm in a given environment can tolerate, possibly with a decrease in performance but without endangering survival over seasonal or lifetime time-scales. It is calculated as the difference between maximum long-term survival temperature (Ts) and mean maximum habitat temperature. It provides a measure of how close a species, assemblage or fauna are living to their temperature limits for long-term survival and hence their vulnerability to environmental warming. In contrast to data for terrestrial environments showing that warming tolerance increases with latitude, results here for marine environments show a less clear pattern as the smallest WA value was for the Peru upwelling system. The method applied here, relating upper temperature limits to rate of experimental warming, has potential for wide application in the identification of faunas with little capacity to survive environmental warming.
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Unexpected fine-scale population structure in a broadcast-spawning Antarctic marine mollusc.
PLoS ONE
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Several recent empirical studies have challenged the prevailing dogma that broadcast-spawning species exhibit little or no population genetic structure by documenting genetic discontinuities associated with large-scale oceanographic features. However, relatively few studies have explored patterns of genetic differentiation over fine spatial scales. Consequently, we used a hierarchical sampling design to investigate the basis of a weak but significant genetic difference previously reported between Antarctic limpets (Nacella concinna) sampled from Adelaide and Galindez Islands near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula. Three sites within Ryder Bay, Adelaide Island (Rothera Point, Leonie and Anchorage Islands) were each sub-sampled three times, yielding a total of 405 samples that were genotyped at 155 informative Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs). Contrary to our initial expectations, limpets from Anchorage Island were found to be subtly, but significantly distinct from those sampled from the other sites. This suggests that local processes may play an important role in generating fine-scale population structure even in species with excellent dispersal capabilities, and highlights the importance of sampling at multiple spatial scales in population genetic surveys.
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Physiological plasticity, long term resistance or acclimation to temperature, in the Antarctic bivalve, Laternula elliptica.
Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part A Mol. Integr. Physiol.
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To further investigate the previously reported limited acclimation capacities of Antarctic marine stenotherms, the Antarctic mud clam, Laternula elliptica (King and Broderip, 1830-1831), was incubated at 3.0°C for 89days. The thermal windows of a suite of biochemical and physiological metrics that characterise tissue aerobic status, were then measured in response to acute temperature elevation (2-2.5°C increase per week). To test if acclimation had occurred at the higher temperature, results were compared with published data, from the preceding year, for L. elliptica which had been incubated at ambient temperature (0.0°C) and then subjected to the same acute temperature treatments. Incubation to 3.0°C led to a temperature induced increase of tissue aerobic status (reduced intracellular cCO(2) with increased O(2) consumption, PLA (phospho-L-arginine) and ATP). At the highest acute temperature (7.5°C) the increase in anaerobic pathways (summed acetate/succinate and propionate) was less after 3.0°C than 0.0°C incubation. No other metric shifted its reaction norm in response to acute temperature elevation and so whole animal acclimation had not occurred, even after 3months at 3.0°C. Combined with the constant mortality throughout the 3.0°C incubation period, these data suggest that the recorded physiological changes were either the early stages of acclimation or, more likely, time limited resistance mechanisms.
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