Stress response ofChironomus ripariusto changes in water temperature and oxygen concentration in a lowland stream [article]

Alessandro Manfrin, Stefano Larsen, Massimiliano Scalici, Sven Wurtz, Michael T Monaghan
2018 bioRxiv   pre-print
The increasing impairment of lotic ecosystems has promoted a growing effort into assessing their ecological status by means of biological indicators. While community-based approaches have proven valuable to assess ecosystem integrity, they mostly reflect long-term changes and might not be suitable for tracking and monitoring short-term events. Responses to rapid changes in environmental conditions have been rarely studied under natural conditions. Biomarkers offer the benefit of integrating
more » ... ogical responses at different time scales. Here we used a field experiment to test how the synthesis of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) and Haemoglobin (Hb) in laboratory-reared larvae ofChironomus riparius(Diptera, Chironomidae) were influenced by short-term changes to water temperature and oxygen concentration in a lowland stream. Our aim was to determine whether HSP70 mRNA expression and Hb content could be used as an in situ "early warning system" for freshwater habitats undergoing environmental change. HSP70 exhibited a clear response to changes in temperature measured over a one-day period, confirming its suitability as an indicator of environmental stress. Hb concentration was related to oxygen concentration, but not to temperature. Our findings support the hypothesis that depletion in oxygen induces Hb synthesis inC. ripariuslarvae. Because tolerance to low oxygen is not only related to total Hb, but also to a more efficient uptake (binding to Hb, e.g. Bohr effect) and release of oxygen to the cell (Root effect), we cannot discern from our data whether increased efficiency played a role. We suggest thatC. ripariusis a suitable model organism for monitoring sub-lethal stress in the field and that the approach could be applied to other species as more genomic data are available for non-model organisms.
doi:10.1101/266528 fatcat:imp2s4su55cijeyqtb5jjiyghi