Title Environmental and molecular mechanisms of cold adaptation in polar marine invertebrates
Author Marsh, A.G.
Author Affil Marsh, A.G., University of Delaware, College of Marine and Earth Studies, Lewes, DE
Source p.253-263, ; Smithsonian at the poles, Washington, DC, May 3-4, 2007, edited by I. Krupnik, M.A. Lang and S.E. Miller. Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington, DC, United States. ISBN: 978-0-9788460-1-50-9788460-1- X
Publication Date 2009
Notes In English. NSF Grant OPP-0238281. 53 refs. Ant. Acc. No: 86092. CRREL Acc. No: 63004404
Index Terms animals; ecology; ocean environments; temperature; Southern Ocean; adaptation; biota; cold adaptation; International Polar Year 2007-08; Invertebrata; IPY 2007-08 Research Publications; marine environment; metabolism; molecular biology; physiology
Abstract The under-ice environment places extreme selective pressures on polar marine invertebrates (sea urchins, starfish, clams, worms) in terms of the low temperature, oligotrophic waters, and limited light availability. Free-swimming embryos and larvae face inordinate challenges of survival with almost nonexistent food supplies establishing near starvation conditions at the thermal limits of cellular stress that would appear to require large energy reserves to overcome. Yet, despite the long developmental periods for which these embryos and larvae are adrift in the water column, the coastal under-ice habitats of the polar regions support a surprising degree of vibrant marine life. How can so many animals be adapted to live in such an extreme environment? We all recognize that environmental adaptations are coded in the DNA sequences that comprise a species genome. The field of polar molecular ecology attempts to unravel the specific imprint that adaptations to life in a polar habitat have left in the genes and genomes of these animals. This work requires a unique integration of both field studies (under ice scuba diving and experiments) and laboratory work (genome sequencing and gene expression studies). Understanding the molecular mechanisms of cold adaptation is critical to our understanding of how these organisms will respond to potential future changes in their polar environments associated with global climate warming.
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10088/6815
Publication Type monograph
Record ID 292165