High thermal stress responses of Echinolittorina snails at their range edge predict population vulnerability to future warming

Han, Guo-dong, Cartwright, Stephen R., Ganmanee, Monthon, Chan, Benny K.K., Adzis, Kee A.A., Hutchinson, Neil, Wang, Jie, Hui, T.Y., Williams, Gray, and Dong, Yun-wei (2019) High thermal stress responses of Echinolittorina snails at their range edge predict population vulnerability to future warming. Science of the Total Environment, 647. pp. 763-771.

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Populations at the edge of their species' distribution ranges are typically living at the physiological extreme of the environmental conditions they can tolerate. As a species' response to global change is likely to be largely determined by its physiological performance, subsequent changes in environmental conditions can profoundly influence populations at range edges, resulting in range extensions or retractions. To understand the differential physiological performance among populations at their distribution range edge and center, we measured levels of mRNA for heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) as an indicator of temperature sensitivity in two high-shore littorinid snails, Echinolittorina malaccana and E. radiata, between 1°N to 36°N along the NW Pacific coast. These Echinolittorina snails are extremely heat-tolerant and frequently experience environmental temperatures in excess of 55°C when emersed. It was assumed that animals exhibiting high temperature sensitivity will synthesize higher levels of mRNA, which will thus lead to higher energetic costs for thermal defense. Populations showed significant geographic variation in temperature sensitivity along their range. Snails at the northern range edge of E. malaccana and southern range edge of E. radiata exhibited higher levels of hsp70 expression than individuals collected from populations at the center of their respective ranges. The high levels of hsp70 mRNA in populations at the edge of a species' distribution range may serve as an adaptive response to locally stressful thermal environments, suggesting populations at the edge of their distribution range are potentially more sensitive to future global warming.

Item ID: 54920
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Funders: Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (RGC), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC), Nature Science Funds for Distinguished Young Scholars of Fujian Province, China (NSF)
Projects and Grants: RGC HKU782011M, NNSFC 41476115, NNSFC 41776135, NSF 2017J07003
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 00:42
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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