Ecophysiological Implications of Vertical Migration into Oxygen Minimum Zones for the Hyperiid Amphipod Phronima sedentaria

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Phronima sedentaria is a hyperiid amphipod that diel migrates into a pronounced oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific. In this study, oxygen consumption and lactate production were measured in P. sedentaria to estimate the aerobic and anaerobic contributions to total metabolism under conditions that mimic its day- (1% oxygen, 10°C) and night-time (20% oxygen, 20°C) habitat. When exposed to hypoxia and low temperature, the total metabolism of P. sedentaria was depressed by 78% compared with normoxic conditions. The metabolic enzymes citrate synthase (CS) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were also measured as indicators of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, and compared with specimens collected from the California Current and the North Atlantic to assess potential adaptations to low oxygen. LDH activity was not significantly different between regions. Significant differences in CS activity may be due to variation in food availability. Climate change is predicted to increase surface temperatures and cause the expansion of OMZs. This will result in vertical compression of the night-time range for P. sedentaria and is likely to have the same impact on other diel migrators. Habitat compression will reduce zooplankton contribution to carbon cycling and alter oceanic ecology, including predator–prey interactions.

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Journal of Plankton Research, v. 37, issue 5, p. 897-911