Oxygen consumption and osmoregulatory capacity in Neomysis integer reduce competition for resources among mysid shrimp in a temperate estuary.

Research paper by Cesar C Vilas, Pilar P Drake, Emilio E Pascual

Indexed on: 24 Aug '06Published on: 24 Aug '06Published in: Physiological and biochemical zoology : PBZ


Results of field surveys and laboratory measurements of oxygen consumption and body fluid osmolality at different salinities in the mysids Neomysis integer, Mesopodopsis slabberi, and Rhopalophthalmus mediterraneus from the Guadalquivir estuary (southwest Spain) were used to test the hypothesis that osmotic stress (oxygen consumption vs. isosmotic points) was lowest at salinities that field distributions suggest are optimal. The three species showed overlapping spatial distributions within the estuary but clear segregation along the salinity gradient: N. integer, M. slabberi, and R. mediterraneus displayed maximal densities at lower, intermediate, and higher salinities, respectively. Adults of N. integer were extremely efficient hyperregulators (isosmotic point 30 per thousand) over the full salinity range tested (3 per thousand-32 per thousand), and their oxygen consumption rates were independent of salinity; adults of M. slabberi were strong hyper- and hyporegulators at salinities between 7 per thousand and 29 per thousand (isosmotic point, 21 per thousand) and showed higher oxygen consumptions at the lowest salinity (6 per thousand); adults of R. mediterraneus hyperregulated at salinities between 19 per thousand and seawater (isosmotic point, 36 per thousand), with the lowest oxygen consumption at salinity around their isosmotic point (35 per thousand). Thus, the osmoregulation capabilities of M. slabberi and R. mediterraneus seem to determine the salinity ranges in which most of their adults live, but this is not so for adults of N. integer. Moreover, maximal field densities of M. slabberi (males and females) and R. mediterraneus (males) occur at the same salinities as the lowest oxygen consumption. In contrast, field distribution of N. integer was clearly biased toward the lower end of the salinity ranges within which it osmoregulated. We hypothesize that the greater euryhalinity of N. integer makes it possible for this species to avoid competition with R. mediterraneus by inhabiting the more stressful oligohaline zone.