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Physiological acclimatization in high-latitude zooplankton


Roncalli, Vittoria et al. (2022), Physiological acclimatization in high-latitude zooplankton, Dryad, Dataset,


How individual organisms adapt to non-optimal conditions through physiological acclimatization is central to predicting the consequences of unusual abiotic and biotic conditions such as those produced by marine heat waves. The Northeast Pacific, including the Gulf of Alaska experienced an extreme warming event (2014-2016, “The Blob”) that affected all trophic levels leading to large-scale changes in the community. The marine copepod Neocalanus flemingeri is one key member of the subarctic Pacific pelagic ecosystem. During the spring phytoplankton bloom this copepod builds substantial lipid stores as it prepares for its non-feeding adult phase. A three-year comparison of gene expression profiles of copepods collected in Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska between 2015 and 2017 included two high-temperature years (2015 and 2016) and one year with very low phytoplankton abundances (2016). The largest differences in gene expression were between high and low chlorophyll years, and not between warm and cool years. The observed gene expression patterns are indicative of physiological acclimatization. The predominant signal in 2016 was the down-regulation of genes involved in glycolysis and its incoming pathways, consistent with the modulation of metabolic rates in response to prolonged low food conditions. Despite the down-regulation of genes involved in metabolism, there was no evidence of suppression of protein synthesis based on gene expression or behavioral activity. Genes involved in muscle function were up-regulated, and the copepods were actively swimming and responsive to stimuli at collection. However, genes involved in fatty acid metabolism were down-regulated in 2016, suggesting reduced lipid accumulation. 


National Science Foundation, Award: OCE-1756767

National Science Foundation, Award: OCE-1459235

National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation, Award: OCE-1459826

North Pacific Research Board, Award: 1418