Oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance: bridging ecology and physiology


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Christian.Bock [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Observations of climate impacts on ecosystems highlight the need for an understanding of organismal thermal ranges and their implications at the ecosystem level. Where changes in aquatic animal populations have been observed, the integrative concept of oxygen- and capacitylimited thermal tolerance (OCLTT) has successfully characterised the onset of thermal limits to performance and field abundance. The OCLTT concept addresses the molecular to whole-animal mechanisms that define thermal constraints on the capacity for oxygen supply to the organism in relation to oxygen demand. The resulting ‘total excess aerobic power budget’ supports an animal’s performance (e.g. comprising motor activity, reproduction and growth) within an individual’s thermal range. The aerobic power budget is often approximated through measurements of aerobic scope for activity (i.e. the maximumdifference between resting and the highest exerciseinduced rate of oxygen consumption), whereas most animals in the field rely on lower (i.e. routine) modes of activity. At thermal limits, OCLTT also integrates protective mechanisms that extend time-limited tolerance to temperature extremes – mechanisms such as chaperones, anaerobic metabolism and antioxidative defence. Here, we briefly summarise the OCLTT concept and update it by addressing the role of routine metabolism.We highlight potential pitfalls in applying the concept and discuss the variables measured that led to the development ofOCLTT.We propose that OCLTTexplains why thermal vulnerability is highest at the whole-animal level and lowest at the molecular level. We also discuss how OCLTT captures the thermal constraints on the evolution of aquatic animal life and supports an understanding of the benefits of transitioning from water to land.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
45644
DOI 10.1242/jeb.134585

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Pörtner, H. O. , Bock, C. and Mark, F. C. (2017): Oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance: bridging ecology and physiology , Journal of Experimental Biology, 220 (15), pp. 2685-2696 . doi: 10.1242/jeb.134585


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