Temporal metabolic rate variation in a continental Antarctic springtail

Terrestrial systems in Antarctica are characterized by substantial spatial and temporal variation. However, few studies have addressed the paucity of data on metabolic responses to the unpredictable Antarctic environment, particularly with regard to terrestrial biota. This study measured metabolic rate variation for individual springtails at a continental Antarctic site using a fiber-optic closed respirometry system incorporating a custom-made respiration chamber. Concurrent measures of (behavioural) activity were made via daily pitfall counts. Metabolic rate of Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni measured at constant temperature varied systematically with progression through the austral summer, and was greatest mid-season. This finding of clear intraseasonal and temperature-independent variation in mass-specific metabolic rate in G. hodgsoni is one of very few such reports for a terrestrial invertebrate (and the only such study for Antarctica), and parallels physiological studies in the Antarctic marine environment linking metabolic rate elevation with biological function rather than temperature adaptation per se. However, response to temperature at relatively short time-scales is also likely to be an important part of the life history strategy of Antarctic terrestrial invertebrates such as G. hodgsoni, which appears capable of both physiologically and behaviourally 'tuning' in to short-term thermal variability to respond appropriately to the local unpredictable Antarctic habitat. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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Authors: McGaughran, A., Redding, G.P., Stevens, M.I., Convey, Peter ORCIDORCID record for Peter Convey

On this site: Peter Convey
1 January, 2009
Journal of Insect Physiology / 55
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