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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Osmotic and ionic regulatory capacities of a population of Sesarma reticulatum from Brunswick, Georgia, on the Atlantic coast of the United States were compared with those of a population of S. sp. (near reticulatum) from coastal Louisiana in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Samples of similar-sized adults from both populations were subjected to simultaneous 8-day acclimation treatments over a range of salinities from 48-1 ppt. At acclimation salinities from >5 to <35 ppt, animals from the northern Gulf of Mexico hyperosmoregulated at a lower plateau of blood osmolality than did those from the Atlantic coast. However, from midrange to the lowest acclimation salinities, hyperosmotic regulation in the Gulf of Mexico population was maintained without measurable reduction of blood osmotic concentration. A major component of the variation in blood osmolality appears to be reflected in differential regulation of sodium at salinities < 10 ppt. We suggest that divergence in osmoregulatory pattern of sibling populations is genetically based and is maintained by the absence of gene flow around the peninsula of Florida. This divergence may reflect differential adaptation to habitats that vary in salinity structure, tidal effects, and temperature.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology and Center for Crustacean Research, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana 70504-2451, U.S.A.


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