MEPS - Vol. 356 - Feature article

Gaping mussels in the intertidal zone at Strawberry Hill, Oregon, USA, a suspected ecological hotspot with high temperature stress for mussels during emersion in summer. Photo: Gretchen E. Hofmann

Place SP, O'Donnell MJ, Hofmann GE

 

Gene expression in the intertidal mussel Mytilus californianus: physiological response to environmental factors on a biogeographic scale

 

A central goal in marine ecology is to understand the factors that determine species distributions. In a biogeographic study spanning 17° of latitude on the northeast Pacific coast, Place and co-workers characterized the physiological state of the intertidal bivalve Mytilus californianus. Microarray analyses revealed that mussels from very distant populations showed more similar gene expression patterns than neighboring populations, suggesting that the physiological responses of intertidal organisms to abiotic factors cannot be predicted from the latitudinal gradient. These results underscore the complexity of coastal habitats and emphasize the need to consider variability of physiological responses to abiotic factors at multiple scales across an organism’s biogeographic range.

 

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