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Synchronization of seasonal acclimatization and short-term heat hardening improves physiological resilience in a changing climate

Citation

Zhang, Wenyi; Storey, Kenneth B.; Dong, Yunwei (2021), Synchronization of seasonal acclimatization and short-term heat hardening improves physiological resilience in a changing climate, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.70rxwdbwq

Abstract

Summary

1. Animal survival and species distribution in the face of global warming and increasing occurrences of heatwave largely depend on how heat tolerance shifts with plastic responses at different spatiotemporal scales, including long-term acclimation/acclimatization and short-term heat hardening. However, knowledge about the interaction of these plastic responses is still unclear.

2. To understand how plastic responses at different timescales work together to adjust heat tolerance of organisms, we examined the effect of heat hardening on the upper thermal limits of an intertidal mudflat bivalve, the razor clam Sinonovacula constricta, for different seasons by using heart rate as a proxy.

3. We observed a stronger heat hardening response of S. constricta in warm seasons, implying that heat hardening worked synchronously with seasonal acclimatization to increase resistance of the clams to high temperatures in warm seasons. In warm seasons, heat hardening increased heat tolerance by 2-4°C and showed a 24-h temporal dependence, suggesting an adaptation to the diel fluctuation of thermal regimes in summer.

4. Furthermore, thermal stress resembling seasonal maximum environmental temperature induced stronger heat hardening effects, indicating that heat hardening is an essential plastic response to extreme hot weather, complementing seasonal acclimatization.

5. Our results suggest that high temperature risk can be alleviated jointly by seasonal acclimatization and heat hardening, and emphasize the importance of considering physiological plasticity on both long-term and short-term temporal scales in evaluating and forecasting vulnerability of organisms to climate change.

Funding

National Outstanding Youth Science Fund Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: No. 31901094

Chinese Postdoctoral Science Foundation, Award: No. 2018M642568

National Key Research and Development Program of China, Award: 2019YFD0900402