Life in cold oceans:activity dependent on extracellular ion regulation?


Dr. Franz Josef Sartoris 
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

project description

The physiological fundamentals of temperature dependent distribution limits in cold oceans are addressed as a precondition to understand ecological performance and ecosystem function. The study will focus on the specific role of extracellular ion concentration in setting limitations to lifestyle and life history evolution. The biogeography of marine crustaceans in cold oceans is related to the combined effects of extracellular Mg2+ levels [Mg2+]e and low temperature, which act synergistically to slow muscular activity in the cold. The highly active cephalopod molluscs may have overcome the constraint of high [Mg2+]e by slightly increasing the extracellular potassium concentration ([K+]e), thereby exploiting the antagonistic effects of magnesium and potassium. We attempt to develop quantitative knowledge of the temperature dependent effects of potassium and magnesium on animal life cycle resulting from changes in physiology performance, larval development, and growth rate. In addition, it appears most crucial to understand the biochemical mechanisms leading to the increased magnesium effect in the cold. Within the crustacean phyla this work will focus on the lithodid crabs. They are suitable for such studies since they have a wide distribution range north and south of the Antarctic convergence and thus covering a broad temperature regime. For comparable studies boreal reptant crabs and boreal and Antarctic natant shrimps will also be included. Within the cephalopod phyla we will concentrate on the boreal species Sepia officinalis to investigate principle mechanisms. Accordingly, the present study is intended to explore, from a more conceptual point of view, whether limitations in ion regulation capacities and costs may play a role in setting the levels of biodiversity observed in extant Antarctic marine fauna.


DFG-Verfahren: Infrastruktur-Schwerpunktprogramme

term from 2006 to 2018