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Physiological responses to hypoxia and anoxia in the giant barnacle, Austromegabalanus psittacus (Molina, 1782)

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The functional capacities of the subtidal balanomorph cirripede, Austromegabalanus psittacus were investigated, including aerial respiration, survival in emersion, survival in anoxic conditions, and the production of lactate as an anaerobic product.

The aerial respiration rate in A. psittacus is high for a subtidal organism: aerial oxygen uptake after 3 h of air exposure at 10°C reached values of over 60% of oxygen uptake in submersion. The rate of aerial respiration was independent of ambient temperatures between 10° and 20°C, but temperature does affect oxygen uptake in immersion, which increases when temperature rises. A. psittacus showed a high survival capacity both in emersion (Lp50 = 7.6 ± 1.7 days) and in submersion with bubbled N2 (Lp50 = 4.64 ± 1.27 days). A low rate of water loss during prolonged periods of emersion was observed. The production of D-lactate as an anaerobic end product was detected: low during short emersion periods and high during anoxic emersion (N2 atmosphere), with an intermediate value for anoxic immersion. L-lactate was not detected under any experimental conditions. A D-lactate dehydrogenase activity was detected in crude muscle extracts.

The combined effect of two functional capacities, an efficient control of water loss, and anaerobic metabolism could account for the high capacity of A. psittacus to colonize habitats often exposed to prolonged emersion periods.

En el presente trabajo se estudian las capacidades funcionales del cirripedio balanomorfo submareal chileno Austromegabalanus psittacus incluyendo respiración aérea, sobrevivencia en emersión, sobrevivencia en condiciones anóxicas y la producción de lactato como producto anaeróbico. La tasa de respiración aérea en A. psittacus fue alta para un organismo submareal: la respiración aérea después de 3 h de exposición al aire, alcanzó valores sobre el 60% del oxígeno captado en inmersión. La tasa de respiración aérea fue independiente de la temperatura ambiental entre 10° y 20°C, pero la temperatura incrementó el consumo de oxígeno en inmersión. Austromegabalanus psittacus mostró una alta capacidad de sobrevivencia en emersión (Lp50 = 7,6 ± 1,7 días) y en inmersión con burbujeo de nitrógeno (Lp50 = 4,64 ± 1,27 días); se observó además, una baja tasa de pérdida de agua durante períodos prolongados de emersión. Se detectó la producción de D-lactato como producto final anaeróbico: bajo en períodos cortos de emersión y alta en emersión anóxica (atmósfera de N2), alcanzando un valor intermedio en inmersión anóxica. No se detectó la presencia de L-lactato en ninguna condición experimental. En extractos musculares crudos se detectó actividad de D-lactato dehidrogenasa.

El efecto combinado de dos capacidades funcionales, control eficiente de la pérdida de agua y metabolismo anaeróbico, podría dar cuenta de la alta capacidad de A. psittacus para colonizar ambientes expuestos a períodos prolongados de emersión.


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