Local conditions influence thermal sensitivity of pencil urchin populations (Eucidaris galapagensis) in the Galápagos Archipelago

Isabel Silva Romero, John F. Bruno, Nyssa J. Silbiger, Margarita Brandt

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The responses of ectothermic organisms to changes in temperature can be modified by acclimatization or adaptation to local thermal conditions. Thus, the effect of global warming and the deleterious effects of extreme heating events (e.g., heatwaves) on the metabolism and fitness of ectotherms can be population specific and reduced at warmer sites. We tested the hypothesis that when environmental temperature is greater, grazer populations in the Galápagos are less thermally sensitive (potentially due to acclimatization or adaptation). We quantified the acute thermal sensitivity of four populations of the pencil sea urchin, Eucidaris galapagensis, by measuring individual oxygen consumption across a range of temperatures. Thermal performance curves were estimated for each population and compared to local thermal conditions 2 months prior to collection. Results indicate that E. galapagensis populations were adapted and/or acclimatized to short-term local temperature as populations at warmer sites had substantially higher thermal tolerances. The acute thermal optimum (Topt) for the warmest and coolest site populations differed by 3 °C and the Topt was positively correlated with maximum temperature recorded at each site. Additionally, temperature-normalized respiration rate and activation energy (E) were negatively related to the maximum temperature. Understanding the temperature-dependent performance of the pencil urchin (the most significant mesograzer in this system), including its population specificity, provides insight into how herbivores and the functions they perform might be affected by further ocean heating.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo34
PublicaciónMarine Biology
EstadoPublicada - mar. 2021


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