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Aquatic Biology

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AB 12:249-260 (2011)  -  DOI:

Growth, tolerance to low ­salinity, and osmoregulation in decapod crustacean larvae

Gabriela Torres1,2,*, Luis Giménez1, Klaus Anger2

1School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Menai Bridge, LL59 5AB, UK
2Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, Foundation Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, 27498 Helgoland, Germany

ABSTRACT: Marine invertebrate larvae suffer high mortality due to abiotic and biotic stress. In planktotrophic larvae, mortality may be minimised if growth rates are maximised. In estuaries and coastal habitats however, larval growth may be limited by salinity stress, which is a key factor selecting for particular physiological adaptations such as osmoregulation. These mechanisms may be energetically costly, leading to reductions in growth. Alternatively, the metabolic costs of osmoregulation may be offset by the capacity maintaining high growth at low salinities. Here we attempted identify general response patterns in larval growth at reduced salinities by comparing 12 species of decapod crustaceans with differing levels of tolerance to low salinity and differing osmoregulatory capability, from osmoconformers to strong osmoregulators. Larvae possessing tolerance to a wider range in salinity were only weakly affected by low salinity levels. Larvae with a narrower tolerance range, by contrast, generally showed reductions in growth at low salinity. The negative effect of low salinity on growth decreased with increasing osmoregulatory capacity. Therefore, the ability to osmoregulate allows for stable growth. In euryhaline larval decapods, the capacity to maintain high growth rates in physically variable environments such as estuaries appears thus to be largely unaffected by the energetic costs of osmoregulation.

KEY WORDS: Biomass growth · Crustacean larvae · Physiological plasticity · Osmoregulation · Osmotic stress · Salinity

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Cite this article as: Torres G, Giménez L, Anger K (2011) Growth, tolerance to low ­salinity, and osmoregulation in decapod crustacean larvae. Aquat Biol 12:249-260.

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