Alterations in gill structure in tropical reef fishes as a result of elevated temperatures

Bowden, A.J., Gardiner, N.M., Couturier, C.S., Stecyk, J.A.W, Nilsson, G.E., Munday, P.L., and Rummer, J.L. (2014) Alterations in gill structure in tropical reef fishes as a result of elevated temperatures. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 175. pp. 64-71.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


Tropical regions are expected to be some of the most affected by rising sea surface temperatures (SSTs) because seasonal temperature variations are minimal. As temperatures rise, less oxygen dissolves in water, but metabolic requirements of fish and thus, the demand for effective oxygen uptake, increase. Gill remodelling is an acclimation strategy well documented in freshwater cyprinids experiencing large seasonal variations in temperature and oxygen as well as an amphibious killifish upon air exposure. However, no study has investigated whether tropical reef fishes remodel their gills to allow for increased oxygen demands at elevated temperatures. We tested for gill remodelling in five coral reef species (Acanthochromis polyacanthus, Chromis atripectoralis, Pomacentrus moluccensis, Dascyllus melanurus and Cheilodipterus quinquelineatus) from populations in northern Papua New Guinea (2° 35.765' S; 150° 46.193' E). Fishes were acclimated for 12–14 days to 29 and 31 °C (representing their seasonal range) and 33 and 34 °C to account for end-of-century predicted temperatures. We measured lamellar perimeter, cross-sectional area, base thickness, and length for five filaments on the 2nd gill arches and qualitatively assessed 3rd gill arches via scanning electron microscopy (SEM). All species exhibited significant differences in the quantitative measurements made on the lamellae, but no consistent trends with temperature were observed. SEM only revealed alterations in gill morphology in P. moluccensis. The overall lack of changes in gill morphology with increasing temperature suggests that these near-equatorial reef fishes may fail to maintain adequate O2 uptake under future climate scenarios unless other adaptive mechanisms are employed.

Item ID: 36152
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1531-4332
Keywords: gills, physiology, damselfish, cardinalfish, climate change, acclimation, performance
Funders: Australian Research Council Super Science Fellowship, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies), James Cook University (JCU), University of Oslo, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Projects and Grants: ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies (FS110200046 and FT130100505), NIGMS (P20GM103395)
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 11:12
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 2
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page