DAO 82:135-143 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao01977

Effects of emersion-induced hypoxia on some haemolymph constituents of Nephrops norvegicus

C. J. Bernasconi, R. F. Uglow*

University of Hull, Department of Biological Sciences, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The effects of prolonged emersion (24, 48 and 72 h) and subsequent re-immersion on Nephrops norvegicus (L.) held at 5°C were assessed using an index of physical quality criteria and a suite of haemolymph constituent assays. Collectively, these showed classical hypoxia-induced changes over 48 h of emersion, but, subsequently, between 48 and 72 h emersion, physical activity, haemolymph pH and circulating levels of urate, free amino acids and major ions all returned to normal (control) levels, and L-lactate levels had started to decrease towards control levels. These patterns of changes differed from that of the haemolymph total ammonia levels which continued to increase linearly throughout emersion. N. norvegicus appeared to partially compensate for the post-48 h emersion increased levels by increasing the production, and hence relative proportions, of other less toxic nitrogenous metabolites. The data replicated that of preliminary trials. Working on the presumption that such events could occur only in the presence of oxygen, possible sources of such oxygen under prolonged hypoxia are discussed. The low holding temperature appears to be the key to prolonged survival of N. norvegicus, and the switch from anaerobic to aerobic respiration itself appears to be a function of a preceding, prolonged period of hypoxia. The ecological and commercial implications for a burrow-dwelling, benthic animal that may experience episodic periods of hypoxia and which forms a highly important proportion of the value of total UK commercial landings are discussed.


KEY WORDS: Hypoxia · Nephrops norvegicus · Emersion


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Cite this article as: Bernasconi CJ, Uglow RF (2008) Effects of emersion-induced hypoxia on some haemolymph constituents of Nephrops norvegicus. Dis Aquat Org 82:135-143. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao01977

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