Hagfish: champions of CO2 tolerance question the origins of vertebrate gill function

Baker, Daniel W., Sardella, Brian, Rummer, Jodie L., Sackville, Michael, and Brauner, Colin J. (2015) Hagfish: champions of CO2 tolerance question the origins of vertebrate gill function. Scientific Reports, 5. 11182.

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Abstract

The gill is widely accepted to have played a key role in the adaptive radiation of early vertebrates by supplanting the skin as the dominant site of gas exchange. However, in the most basal extant craniates, the hagfishes, gills play only a minor role in gas exchange. In contrast, we found hagfish gills to be associated with a tremendous capacity for acid-base regulation. Indeed, Pacific hagfish exposed acutely to severe sustained hypercarbia tolerated among the most severe blood acidoses ever reported (1.2 pH unit reduction) and subsequently exhibited the greatest degree of acid-base compensation ever observed in an aquatic chordate. This was accomplished through an unprecedented increase in plasma [HCO3−] (>75 mM) in exchange for [Cl−]. We thus propose that the first physiological function of the ancestral gill was acid-base regulation, and that the gill was later co-opted for its central role in gas exchange in more derived aquatic vertebrates.

Item ID: 44449
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information:

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Funders: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 04:10
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060305 Evolution of Developmental Systems @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060603 Animal Physiology Systems @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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