Field Measurements Indicate Unexpected, Serious Underestimation of Mussel Heart Rates and Thermal Tolerance by Laboratory StudiesReport as inadecuate




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Attempts to predict the response of species to long-term environmental change are generally based on extrapolations from laboratory experiments that inevitably simplify the complex interacting effects that occur in the field. We recorded heart rates of two genetic lineages of the brown mussel Perna perna over a full tidal cycle in-situ at two different sites in order to evaluate the cardiac responses of the two genetic lineages present on the South African coast to temperature and the immersion-emersion cycle. -Robomussel- temperature loggers were used to monitor thermal conditions at the two sites over one year. Comparison with live animals showed that robomussels provided a good estimate of mussel body temperatures. A significant difference in estimated body temperatures was observed between the sites and the results showed that, under natural conditions, temperatures regularly approach or exceed the thermal limits of P. perna identified in the laboratory. The two P. perna lineages showed similar tidal and diel patterns of heart rate, with higher cardiac activity during daytime immersion and minimal values during daytime emersion. Comparison of the heart rates measured in the field with data previously measured in the laboratory indicates that laboratory results seriously underestimate heart rate activity, by as much as 75%, especially during immersion. Unexpectedly, field estimates of body temperatures indicated an ability to tolerate temperatures considered lethal on the basis of laboratory measurements. This suggests that the interaction of abiotic conditions in the field does not necessarily raise vulnerability to high temperatures.



Author: Morgana Tagliarolo , Christopher D. McQuaid

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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