Metabolic Suppression in Thecosomatous Pteropods as an Effect of Low Temperature and Hypoxia in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific

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Metabolic Rate, Mixed Layer, Metabolic Suppression, Ammonia Excretion, Oxygen Minimum Zone

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Many pteropod species in the eastern tropical North Pacific Ocean migrate vertically each day, transporting organic matter and respiratory carbon below the thermocline. These migrations take species into cold (15–10° C) hypoxic water (<20 μmol O2 kg−1) at depth. We measured the vertical distribution, oxygen consumption and ammonia excretion for seven species of pteropod, some of which migrate and some which remain in oxygenated surface waters throughout the day. Within the upper 200 m of the water column, changes in water temperature result in a ~60–75 % reduction in respiration for most species. All three species tested under hypoxic conditions responded to low O2 with an additional ~35–50 % reduction in respiratory rate. Combined, low temperature and hypoxia suppress the metabolic rate of pteropods by ~80–90 %. These results shed light on the ways in which expanding regions of hypoxia and surface ocean warming may impact pelagic ecology.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Marine Biology, v. 159, p. 1955-1967