Juveniles are more resistant to warming than adults in 4 species of Antarctic marine invertebrates
Juvenile stages are often thought to be less resistant to thermal challenges than adults, yet few studies make direct comparisons using the same methods between different life history stages. We tested the resilience of juvenile stages compared to adults in 4 species of Antarctic marine invertebrate over 3 different rates of experimental warming. The species used represent 3 phyla and 4 classes, and were the soft-shelled clam Laternula elliptica, the sea cucumber Cucumaria georgiana, the sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri, and the seastar Odontaster validus. All four species are widely distributed, locally abundant to very abundant and are amongst the most important in the ecosystem for their roles. At the slowest rate of warming used (1°C 3 days−1) juveniles survived to higher temperatures than adults in all species studied. At the intermediate rate (1°C day−1) juveniles performed better in 3 of the 4 species, with no difference in the 4th, and at the fastest rate of warming (1°C h−1) L. elliptica adults survived to higher temperatures than juveniles, but in C. georgiana juveniles survived to higher temperatures than adults and there were no differences in the other species. Oxygen limitation may explain the better performance of juveniles at the slower rates of warming, whereas the loss of difference between juveniles and adults at the fastest rate of warming suggests another mechanism sets the temperature limit here.
Authors: Peck, Lloyd S., Souster, Terri, Clark, Melody S. ORCID record for Melody S. Clark