Ocean Warming Enhances Malformations, Premature Hatching, Metabolic Suppression and Oxidative Stress inthe Early Life Stages of a Keystone Squid

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Abstract

Background The knowledge about the capacity of organisms' early life stages to adapt to elevated temperatures is very limited but crucial to understand how marine biota will respond to global warming. Here we provide a comprehensive and integrated view of biological responses to future warming during the early ontogeny of a keystone invertebrate, the squid Loligo vulgaris. Methodology/Principal Findings Recently-spawned egg masses were collected and reared until hatching at present day and projected near future (+2°C) temperatures, to investigate the ability of early stages to undergo thermal acclimation, namely phenotypic altering of morphological, behavioural, biochemical and physiological features. Our findings showed that under the projected near-future warming, the abiotic conditions inside the eggs promoted metabolic suppression, which was followed by premature hatching. Concomitantly, the less developed newborns showed greater incidence of malformations. After hatching, the metabolic burst associated with the transition from an encapsulated embryo to a planktonic stage increased linearly with temperature. However, the greater exposure to environmental stress by the hatchlings seemed to be compensated by physiological mechanisms that reduce the negative effects on fitness. Heat shock proteins (HSP70/HSC70) and antioxidant enzymes activities constituted an integrated stress response to ocean warming in hatchlings (but not in embryos). Conclusions/Significance The stressful abiotic conditions inside eggs are expected to be aggravated under the projected near-future ocean warming, with deleterious effects on embryo survival and growth. Greater feeding challenges and the lower thermal tolerance limits of the hatchlings are strictly connected to high metabolic demands associated with the planktonic life strategy. Yet, we found some evidence that, in the future, the early stages might support higher energy demands by adjusting some cellular functional properties to increase their thermal tolerance windows.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)n/a
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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