Thermal stress and energy metabolism in two circumtropical decapod crustaceans: Responses to acute temperature events

Carolina Madeira, Miguel C. Leal, Mário S. Diniz, Henrique N. Cabral, Catarina Vinagre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Extreme events associated with global warming, such as ocean heat waves, can have contrasting fitness consequences for different species, thereby modifying the structure and composition of marine communities. Here, we examined the effects of a laboratory simulated heat wave on the physiology and performance of two Indo-Pacific crustacean species: the shrimp Rhynchocinetes durbanensis and the hermit crab Calcinus laevimanus. We exposed the crustaceans to a control temperature or to a +5 °C temperature (25 °C vs 30 °C) for two consecutive weeks, and weekly analyzed protective proteins, antioxidant activity, and lipid peroxides in muscle and visceral mass. Fulton's K, total protein, %C, and C:N molar ratio of muscle tissue were also analyzed at the end of the experiment. Results showed that 1) the most responsive tissues were the muscle in the shrimp species and the visceral mass in the hermit crab species; 2) biomarker responses in both species occurred mostly after 7 days of exposure; 3) temperature stress led to an increase in biomarker levels; 4) highest biomarker fold-changes were detected in protective chaperones and antioxidants superoxide dismutase and glutathione-S-transferase; 4) integrated biomarker indices suggested poorer health status in individuals subjected to the heat wave; 5) performance changes at the organism level were only detected in R. durbanensis; and 6) mortality rates of both species remained unchanged with the heat wave. Finally, we concluded that these species are capable of physiological adjustments in response to rapid environmental changes, which ultimately confers them with enough thermal tolerance to withstand this simulated heat wave without major consequences for fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-158
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Decapod crustaceans
  • Energy reserves
  • Integrated biomarker index
  • Marine heat waves
  • Thermal stress
  • Tropical Indo-Pacific


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