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Sex-specific thermal tolerance limits in the ditch shrimp Palaemon varians: Eco-evolutionary implications under a warming ocean

Sex-specific thermal tolerance limits in the ditch shrimp Palaemon varians: Eco-evolutionary implications under a warming ocean

Journal of Thermal Biology 103: 103151

PMID: 35027201

As global temperatures continue to rise due to global change, marine heatwaves are also becoming more frequent and intense, impacting marine biodiversity patterns worldwide. Organisms inhabiting shallow water environments, such as the commercially relevant ditch shrimp Palaemon varians, are expected to be the most affected by rising temperatures. Thus, addressing species' thermal ecology and climate extinction-risk is crucial to foster climate-smart conservation strategies for shallow water ecosystems. Here, we estimated sex-specific upper thermal tolerance limits for P. varians via the Critical Thermal Maximum method (CTmax), using loss of equilibrium as endpoint. We further calculated thermal safety margins for males and females and tested for correlations between upper thermal limits and shrimps' body size. To determine sex-biased variation in P. varians' traits (CTmax, weight and length), we compared trait variation between females and males through the coefficient of variation ratio (lnCVR). Females displayed an average CTmax value 1.8% lower than males (CTmaxfemales = 37.0 °C vs CTmaxmales = 37.7 °C). This finding may be related to the larger body size exhibited by females (156% heavier and 39% larger than males), as both length and weight had a significant effect on CTmax. The high energetic investment of females in offspring may also contribute to the differences recorded in thermal tolerance. Overall, organisms with a smaller body-size displayed a greater tolerance to elevated temperature, thus suggesting that smaller individuals may be positively selected in warmer environments. This selection may result in a reduction of size-at-maturity and shifts in sex ratio, given the sexual dimorphism in body size of shrimps. The thermal safety margin of P. varians was narrow (∼2.2 °C for males and ∼1.5 °C for females), revealing the vulnerability of this species to ocean warming and heatwaves.

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Accession: 079588798

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