Ecophysiology of native and alien invasive clams in an ocean warming context

Patricia Anacleto, Ana Luisa Maulvault, Vanessa M. Lopes, Tiago Repolho, Mário Emanuel Campos de Sousa Diniz, Maria Leonor Nunes, António Marques, Rui Rosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Both climate change and biological invasions are among the most serious global environmental threats. Yet mechanisms underlying these eventual interactions remain unclear. The aim of this study was to undertake a comprehensive examination of the physiological and biochemical responses of native (Ruditapes decussatus) and alien invasive (Ruditapes philippinarum) clams to environmental warming. We evaluated thermal tolerance limits (CTMax), routine metabolic rates (RMR) and respective thermal sensitivity (Q10 values), critical oxygen partial pressure (Pcrit), heat shock response (HSP70/HSC70 levels), lipid peroxidation (MDA build-up) and antioxidant enzyme [glutathione-S-transferase (GST), catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD)] activities. Contrary to most studies that show that invasive species have a higher thermal tolerance than native congeners, here we revealed that the alien invasive and native species had similar CTMax values. However, warming had a stronger effect on metabolism and oxidative status of the native R. decussatus, as indicated by the higher RMR, HSP70/HSC70 and MDA levels, as well as GST, CAT and SOD activities. Moreover, we argue that the alien invasive clams, instead of up-regulating energetically expensive cellular responses, have evolved a less demanding strategy to cope with short-term environmental (oxidative) stress - pervasive valve closure. Although efficient during stressful short-term periods to ensure isolation and guarantee longer survival, such adaptive behavioural strategy entails metabolic arrest (and the enhancement of anaerobic pathways), which to some extent, will not be advantageous under the chronically warming conditions predicted in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-37
JournalComparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • Biological invasions
  • Metabolism
  • Oxidative stress
  • Ruditapes decussatus
  • Ruditapes philippinarum
  • Thermal tolerance

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