How do marine nematodes cope ... fluctuations?

How do marine nematodes cope w ith extrem e tem peratures and
Vafeiadou Anna-M aria12, Chariton C h in tiro g lo u 2 and Tom M oens1
1 Marine Biology Section, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 /S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
E-mail: [email protected]
2 Biology Departm ent, A risto tle U niversity o f Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Increased tem perature flu ctu a tio n s and m axim a have been reported the last decades as main
consequences o f global clim ate change. In inte rtid a l areas, the com bination o f episodically elevated
w ater tem perature and short-term exposure to high air tem perature at low tide may exceed the
tolerance o f some organism s, causing local extinctio ns. A lth ou g h organism s develop p la sticity
tow ards stress, extrem e change o f the environm ental co nd itio ns can eventually a lter population
dynamics. Marine nematodes are the m ost abundant benthic organism s, and due to th e ir short life
span, th ey are an excellent taxon fo r the investigation o f benthic responses to such stress
conditions. T he ir response w ill be exam ined at m ultiple levels: from individuals to populations and
com m unities, including also interactions among species a n d /o r tro p h ic levels. Specifically, the
effects o f short-term (daily/w eekly) tem perature flu ctua tion s on nematode populations and
individuals, w ith in the same or between adjacent tro p h ic levels w ill be exam ined. In a dd itio n, the
effects o f tem perature changes on the ecology o f marine nematodes, and in particular th e ir
behavior, w ill be investigated w ith in vivo m icrocosm experim ents. Specifically, we focus on the
m oving a b ility and the food selectivity o f three closely related nematode species which d iffe r in th e ir
tolerance to tem perature flu ctu a tio n s and extrem es to detect any effects due to flu ctu a tin g
tem perature.
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