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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 307:187-198 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/meps307187

Physiological ageing in a temperate and a polar swimming scallop

Eva Philipp1, Thomas Brey1, Olaf Heilmayer2, Doris Abele1,*, Hans-Otto Pörtner1

1Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Ökophysiologie, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
2Florida Atlantic University, Department of Biological Sciences, Boca Raton, Florida 33431, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We compared physiological ageing parameters in 2 scallops, the temperate Aequipecten opercularis and the Antarctic Adamussium colbecki. These 2 species are phylogenetically closely related and display a similar lifestyle but have distinctly different maximum lifespans (MLSP). A. opercularis does not live longer than 8 to 10 yr, whereas A. colbecki lives over 18 yr. The development of several physiological ageing parameters over time, chosen according to the ‘free radical theory of ageing‘, was compared in the 2 species to identify differences in the ageing process. In the shorter-lived A. opercularis, activities of the mitochondrial enzymes citrate synthase and cytochrome c oxidase and of the antioxidant enzyme catalase showed a more pronounced decrease with increasing age than in the longer-lived A. colbecki. In line with this finding, lipofuscin accumulation increased more distinctly in A. opercularis than in A. colbecki, while tissue protein content decreased in A. opercularis but increased in A. colbecki. Its better preservation of mitochondrial and antioxidant enzyme activities and the avoidance of waste accumulation may enable A. colbecki to live longer than A. opercularis. Mitochondrial function investigated in A. opercularis showed only minor changes with age, and mitochondrial H2O2 generation rates were low at all ages. We relate our findings to the ‘free radical–rate of living’ theory, to the ‘uncoupling to survive‘ hypothesis, and to the particular lifestyle of these scallops.

KEY WORDS: Ageing · scallops · Reactive oxygen species · ROS · Mitochondria

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