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MEPS 623:51-70 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12984

Life on the edge: incubation behaviour and physiological performance of squat lobsters in oxygen-minimum conditions

María de los Ángeles Gallardo1,2,3, Isis Rojas4,5, Katherina Brokordt3,5, Gustavo Lovrich6, Valentina Nuñez7, Kurt Paschke8,9, Martin Thiel2,3,7, Beatriz Yannicelli2,7,10,*

1Programa de Doctorado en Biología y Ecología Aplicada, Universidad Católica del Norte, Larrondo 1281, 1781421 Coquimbo, Chile
2Millennium Nucleus Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Island (ESMOI), Larrondo 1281, 1781421 Coquimbo, Chile
3Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas, Larrondo 1281, 1781421 Coquimbo, Chile
4Programa Cooperativo Doctorado en Acuicultura, Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN), Larrondo 1281, 1781421 Coquimbo, Chile
5Laboratorio de Fisiología y Genética Marina (FIGEMA), Departamento de Acuicultura, Facultad de Ciencias de Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile
6Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)-Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas (CADIC), Houssay 200, V9410CAB Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
7Departamento de Biología Marina, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Campus Guayacán, Larrondo 1281, 1781421 Coquimbo, Chile
8Instituto de Acuicultura, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 1327, 5480000 Puerto Montt, Chile
9Centro FONDAP de Investigación en Dinámica de Ecosistemas Marinos de Altas Latitudes (IDEAL), Casilla 1327, 5480000 Puerto Montt, Chile
10Centro Universitario Regional Este, Rocha, Universidad de la República, 9, 27000 Rocha, Uruguay
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Squat lobsters frequently inhabit low-oxygen waters, facing particular physiological challenges. Pleuroncodes monodon inhabits one of the most extreme oxygen minimum zones in the world’s oceans at low temperatures, but avoids high temperature hypoxic waters. The present study aimed to determine whether the maternally dependent reproductive outcome is compromised under realistic oxygen/temperature conditions (normoxia and 0.7 mg l-1 at 11 and 15°C) and to evaluate some potential metabolic bases. Females incubated for a significantly longer time at low as compared to high temperatures, but reproductive success was only compromised under hypoxic conditions. Brood viability and synchrony were affected by temperature and its interaction with oxygen concentration (especially under hypoxic conditions and 15°C). Non-viable larvae were hatched at hypoxia-15°C, and larvae hatched in hypoxia-11°C did not survive until moulting. Under normoxic conditions, ventilation of the brood mass decreased with advancing embryo development, but remained high or increased under hypoxic conditions, especially at high temperatures. After releasing their broods, females from all treatments had developing oocytes in their ovaries, but the proportion of oocytes in secondary vitellogenesis was larger at 15°C. The diameter of oocytes in secondary vitellogenesis was significantly smaller in hypoxia treatments. Oxygen consumption of ovigerous P. monodon was generally higher at 15°C, especially at normoxia, and their critical point was significantly larger at 15°C. Under hypoxic conditions, ovigerous females compensated their energetic requirements using anaerobic pathways (increase of pyruvate kinase:citrate synthase ratio and lactate). This suggests that this and other species living in hypoxic waters might suffer severe challenges in a warming ocean.


KEY WORDS: Pleuroncodes monodon · Hypoxia · Temperature · Incubation behaviour · Physiological performance · Reproductive potential


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Cite this article as: Gallardo MdlÁ, Rojas I, Brokordt K, Lovrich G and others (2019) Life on the edge: incubation behaviour and physiological performance of squat lobsters in oxygen-minimum conditions. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 623:51-70. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12984

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