Physiological Responses in a Variable Environment: Relationships between Metabolism, Hsp and Thermotolerance in an Intertidal-Subtidal Species
- 海洋环境－已发表论文 
Physiological responses to temperature reflect the evolutionary adaptations of organisms to their thermal environment and the capability of animals to tolerate thermal stress. Contrary to conventional metabolism theory, increasing environmental temperatures have been shown to reduce metabolic rate in rocky-eulittoral-fringe species inhabiting highly variable environments, possibly as a strategy for energy conservation. To study the physiological adaptations of an intertidal-subtidal species to the extreme and unpredictable heat stress of the intertidal zone, oxygen consumption rate and heat shock protein expression were quantified in the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus. Using simulate natural temperatures, the relationship between temperature, physiological performance (oxygen consumption and heat shock proteins) and thermotolerance were assessed. Depression of oxygen consumption rate and upregulation of heat shock protein genes (hsps) occurred in sequence when ambient temperature was increased from 24 to 30 degrees C. Large-scale mortality of the sea cucumber occurred when temperatures rose beyond 30 degrees C, suggesting that the upregulation of heat shock proteins and mortality are closely related to the depression of aerobic metabolism, a phenomenon that is in line with the concept of oxygen-and capacity-limited thermal tolerance (OCLTT). The physiologically-related thermotolerance of this sea cucumber should be an adaptation to its local environment.