Research Output
Diel oxygen fluctuation drives the thermal response and metabolic performance of coastal marine ectotherms
  Coastal marine systems are characterized by high levels of primary production that result in diel oxygen fluctuations from undersaturation to supersaturation. Constant normoxia, or 100% oxygen saturation, is therefore rare. Since the thermal sensitivity of invertebrates is directly linked to oxygen availability, we hypothesized that (i) the metabolic response of coastal marine invertebrates would be more sensitive to thermal stress when exposed to oxygen supersaturation rather than 100% oxygen saturation and (ii) natural diel fluctuation in oxygen availability rather than constant 100% oxygen saturation is a main driver of the thermal response. We tested the effects of oxygen regime on the metabolic rate, and haemocyanin and lactate levels, of velvet crabs (Necora puber) and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), under rising temperatures (up to 24°C) in the laboratory. Oxygen supersaturation and photosynthetically induced diel oxygen fluctuation amplified animal metabolic thermal response significantly in both species, demonstrating that the natural variability of oxygen in coastal environments can provide considerable physiological benefits under ocean warming. Our study highlights the significance of integrating ecologically relevant oxygen variability into experimental assessments of animal physiology and thermal response, and predictions of metabolic performance under climate warming. Given the escalating intensity and frequency of climate anomalies, oxygen variation caused by coastal vegetation will likely become increasingly important in mitigating the effects of higher temperatures on coastal fauna.

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    23 June 2021

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  • Funders:

    New Funder; Edinburgh Napier Funded


Booth, J., Fusi, M., Giomi, F., Chapman, E., Diele, K., & McQuaid, C. (2021). Diel oxygen fluctuation drives the thermal response and metabolic performance of coastal marine ectotherms. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 288(1953),



marine invertebrates, ocean warming refugia, macroalgae, oxygen supersaturation, climate change, thermal response

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