The Secret to Successful Deep-Sea Invasion: Does Low Temperature Hold the Key?
Public Library of Science
Copyright: © 2012 Smith, Thatje. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
There is a general consensus that today’s deep-sea biodiversity has largely resulted from recurrent invasions and speciations occurring through homogenous waters during periods of the Phanerozoic eon. Migrations likely continue today, primarily via isothermal water columns, such as those typical of Polar Regions, but the necessary ecological and physiological adaptations behind them are poorly understood. In an evolutionary context, understanding the adaptations, which allow for colonisation to high-pressure environments, may enable us to predict future events. In this investigation, we examine pressure tolerance during development, in the shallow-water neogastropod Buccinum undatum using thermally acclimated egg masses from temperate and sub-polar regions across the species range. Fossil records indicate neogastropods to have a deep-water origin, suggesting shallow-water species may be likely candidates for re-emergence into the deep sea. Our results show population level differences in physiological thresholds, which indicate low temperature acclimation to increase pressure tolerance. These findings imply this species is capable of deep-sea penetration through isothermal water columns prevailing at high latitudes. This study gives new insight into the fundamentals behind past and future colonisation events. Such knowledge is instrumental to understand better how changes in climate envelopes affect the distribution and radiation of species along latitudinal as well as bathymetric temperature gradients.
This work was made possible through a grant (Abyss2100) from the Total Foundation to Sven Thatje and from the Malacological Society of London to Kathryn Smith. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Public Library of Science via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 7(12), article e51219