Thermal adaptation and physiological responses to environmental stress in tunicates

Gianluca Sara', Valeria Montalto, Rinaldi, Mirto, Simone Mirto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the multifaceted nature of environmental fluctuations is crucial topredicting the physiological adjustments utilised by organisms in resisting or adapting to changesover time. Here we investigate the effects of 2 environmental stressors on tunicates, whose fitnesscan have important repercussions on the quality of habitat. Specifically, we report respiration rate(RR), clearance rate (CR), and assimilation efficiency (AE) of the ascidian Styela plicata inresponse to a range of temperatures and varying food availability. Temperature-dependent RRwas observed only within a portion of the thermal window of the species. Significant differencesin clearance rates were detected among organisms fed with varying algal concentrations, while nosignificant influence of food concentrations on AE was observed. This plasticity of the physiologicalrates and the development of ubiquitous mechanisms such as temperature-insensitive aerobicmetabolism suggest a competitive advantage of this group. Such knowledge may allow for moreaccurate predictions of the physiological and evolutionary mechanisms driving current and futuredistribution of this species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalAquatic Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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