, Volume 140, Issue 6, pp 1167-1179

Temperature acclimation of upper and lower thermal limits and freeze resistance in the nonindigenous brown mussel, Perna perna (L.), from the Gulf of Mexico

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Acute and chronic upper and lower thermal limits and freeze resistance were investigated in the nonindigenous brown mussel, Perna perna, from the Texas Gulf of Mexico coast in order to assess its potential distribution in North American coastal waters. This species' long-term, incipient lower and upper thermal limits were 7.5°C and 30°C, congruent with the seasonal ambient water temperature range of 10–30°C reported for other populations worldwide. Effects of temperature acclimation and individual size on survival time were most pronounced on chronic exposures to lethal temperatures approaching incipient lower or upper thermal limits. When exposed to temperature increasing at 0.1°C min–1, the acute upper lethal limit was 44°C regardless of acclimation temperature or individual size. P. perna had a limited freeze resistance, being intolerant of emersion at –2.5°C. This species' narrow incipient thermal limits, limited capacity for temperature acclimation and poor freeze resistance may account for its restriction to subtidal and lower eulittoral zones of cooler subtropical rocky shores. Near extinction of P. perna from Texas Gulf of Mexico waters occurred in the summer of 1997 when mean surface-water temperatures approached its incipient upper limit of 30°C.

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