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Diel oxygen fluctuation drives the thermal response and metabolic performance of coastal marine ectotherms

Booth, J.M.; Fusi, Marco; Giomi, F.; Chapman, E.C.N.; Diele, Karen; McQuaid, C.D.


J.M. Booth

Marco Fusi

F. Giomi

E.C.N. Chapman

C.D. McQuaid


Coastal marine systems are characterized by high levels of primary production that result in diel oxygen fluctuations from undersaturation to supersaturation. Constant normoxia, or 100% oxygen saturation, is therefore rare. Since the thermal sensitivity of invertebrates is directly linked to oxygen availability, we hypothesized that (i) the metabolic response of coastal marine invertebrates would be more sensitive to thermal stress when exposed to oxygen supersaturation rather than 100% oxygen saturation and (ii) natural diel fluctuation in oxygen availability rather than constant 100% oxygen saturation is a main driver of the thermal response. We tested the effects of oxygen regime on the metabolic rate, and haemocyanin and lactate levels, of velvet crabs (Necora puber) and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), under rising temperatures (up to 24°C) in the laboratory. Oxygen supersaturation and photosynthetically induced diel oxygen fluctuation amplified animal metabolic thermal response significantly in both species, demonstrating that the natural variability of oxygen in coastal environments can provide considerable physiological benefits under ocean warming. Our study highlights the significance of integrating ecologically relevant oxygen variability into experimental assessments of animal physiology and thermal response, and predictions of metabolic performance under climate warming. Given the escalating intensity and frequency of climate anomalies, oxygen variation caused by coastal vegetation will likely become increasingly important in mitigating the effects of higher temperatures on coastal fauna.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 27, 2021
Online Publication Date Jun 23, 2021
Publication Date 2021-06
Deposit Date Jun 23, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jun 23, 2021
Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Print ISSN 0962-8452
Publisher Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 288
Issue 1953
Keywords marine invertebrates, ocean warming refugia, macroalgae, oxygen supersaturation, climate change, thermal response
Public URL


Diel Oxygen Fluctuation Drives The Thermal Response And Metabolic Performance Of Coastal Marine Ectotherms (accepted version) (21.5 Mb)

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