Constraints and trade-offs in climate-dependent adaptation: energy budgets and growth in a latitudinal cline
H.O. Pörtner, D. Storch and O. Heilmayer

Characteristics of temperature-dependent metabolic adaptation as well as their implications for associated changes in energy budgets are analysed based on comparisons of fish and invertebrates from various latitudinal clines in northern and southern hemispheres and on integrated ecological and physiological approaches. To identify putative “bottlenecks” of adaptation and for a general cause and effect understanding, the temperature sensitivity of growth as a key energy budget component is investigated, considering underlying processes at population, whole animal and cellular levels. Available data support the hypothesis that natural selection favours individuals for energy efficiency and maximised growth, but is subject to constraints of limited energy availability and temperature. According to emerging relationships between energy turnover, temperature variability and thermal tolerance, the notion that selection should favour a certain metabolic rate according to mean temperature is too simplistic. Within the energy budget, savings in maintenance costs set free energy for growth, visible as growth increments at a low standard metabolic rate. Such energy savings are maximised at the permanently low temperature of the Antarctic. However, some variability persists as pelagic lifestyles in the Antarctic are fuelled by higher metabolic rates at the expense of reduced growth. Temperature variability in the cold, as in the Subarctic, causes a rise in maintenance costs at the expense of growth, but in favour of exercise and thus foraging capacity. Such transitions in energy cost between sub-polar and polar areas are not visible in the southern hemisphere, where there is less temperature variability. However, these patterns—as well as many of the underlying mechanisms—still remain incompletely investigated, especially with respect to the suggested hierarchy in energy allocation to energy budget components.

Keywords: Antarctic, energy efficiency, lifestyle, cold adaptation, growth performance, Magellan, temperature variability, eurythermy, stenothermy.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 69(Suppl.2) : 271-285 Back PDF
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