Last snail standing? superior thermal resilience of an alien tropical intertidal gastropod over natives in an ocean-warming hotspot

Gil Rilov, Lior Klein, David Iluz, Zvy Dubinsky, Tamar Guy-Haim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ocean warming threatens the stability and survival of marine ecosystems, exposing species to lethal and sub-lethal effects. This is true particularly at their warm distributional edge, and more so, in extreme and highly variable environments like the intertidal zone where they can be often exposed to temperatures close or beyond their thermal limits. When thermophilic non-indigenous species invade such extreme environments, they should have a physiological advantage over native species. However, this assumption was rarely investigated. To test this, we investigated the thermal environment and vulnerability of four intertidal gastropods, two native topshells and two limpets, one native, and one Indo-Pacific, in the rapidly-warming southeastern Levantine basin, the warmest part of the Mediterranean Sea. Species metabolic performance was tested under a wide water temperature range, 18–37 °C, by measuring their respiration rates (a proxy for metabolic rates) and survival. The optimum of the three native snails ranged between 29 and 33 °C, and they all died at 35 °C, though at different rates. The measured optimum of the native limpet, was higher than that assessed in the western Mediterranean, suggesting either phenotypic plasticity or genotypic adaptation for warmer conditions. With the recent warming of 2–3 °C, all native snails have become much closer to their thermal edge. The tropical limpet survived, however, at 35 °C for weeks and its respiration rates did not decrease under this extreme temperature. After few more decades of Levantine warming, the tropical limpet might thus be the last large mid-intertidal snail remaining, and the main one to sustain the important function of a macro-grazer on endo- and epi-lithic algae at this zone.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiological Invasions
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank for the hard lab and field work of the Rilov Lab technicians: D. Golomb, O. Peleg. The work was generously supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) Grant Number 117/10 (to GR), by a Binational Science Foundation Grant Number 2016530 (as part of a BSF-National Science Foundation, NSF, grant to GR and Brian Helmuth), and the by the Ministry of Science & Technology of the State of Israel and Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany, Grant Number 9732 (to GR).

Funding Information:
The work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) Grant Number 117/10 (to GR), and the by the Ministry of Science & Technology of the State of Israel and Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany, Grant Number 9732 (to GR).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Grazers
  • Intertidal
  • Metabolic rates
  • Ocean warming
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Thermal performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Last snail standing? superior thermal resilience of an alien tropical intertidal gastropod over natives in an ocean-warming hotspot'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this