Meeting Abstract

35.3  Thursday, Jan. 5  Respiratory response of the deep-sea amphipod Stephonyx biscayensis indicates bathymetric range limitation by temperature and hydrostatic pressure BROWN, A.*; THATJE, S.; University of Southampton; University of Southampton

Depth zonation of fauna on continental margins is well documented. Whilst increasing hydrostatic pressure with depth has long been considered a factor contributing significantly to this pattern, discussion of the relative significance of decreasing temperature with depth has continued. This study investigates the physiological tolerances of fed and starved specimens of the bathyal lysianassoid amphipod Stephonyx biscayensis at varying temperature to acute pressure exposure by measuring the rate of oxygen consumption. Acclimation to atmospheric pressure is shown to have no significant interaction with temperature and/or pressure effects. Similarly, starvation is shown to have no significant effect on the interaction of temperature and pressure. Subsequently, the effect of pressure on respiration rate is revealed to be dependent on temperature: pressure equivalent to 2000 m depth was tolerated at 1 and 3°C; pressure equivalent to 2500 m depth was tolerated at 5.5°C; at 10°C pressure equivalent to 3000 m depth was tolerated. The variation in tolerance is consistent with the natural distribution range reported for this species. There are clear implications for hypotheses relating to the observed phenomenon of a biodiversity bottleneck between 2000 and 3000 metres, and for the potential for bathymetric range shifts in response to global climate change.