Zeitschrift für vergleichende Physiologie

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 537–547 | Cite as

On the hibernation of Spongilla lacustris (L.)

  • Erik Zeuthen


The osmotic pressure of the summer-sponge is about 25–30 mM NaCl. At and after gemmulation it increases to about 110 mM (in a single case 175 mM was found), due to a liberation of small organic molecules. Osmotic pressure remains constant for a time, but in January and February (i. e. before the germination) it is again reduced to the summer values. The shell allows a high hydrostatic pressure to develop and thereby prevents osmotic rupture of the gemmula. The hibernation may be divided into three periods: The prehibernation, the posthibernation and intercalated between them the hibernation proper. In the prehibernation and in the posthibernation definite changes take place in the tissue, but in the hibernation proper no changes are observed. In Nature the hibernation lasts about six months at, say, 4°, but at 22 degrees the whole hibernation will abbreviate to about 13 days.

This is due to an abbreviation of all the three periods of hibernation, but whereas the pre- and the posthibernation will only be accelerated in a manner similiar to that of other physiological processes, such as processes of growth, development and metabolism, the hibernation proper will be accelerated much more, and in fact it will be almost abolished at 22°. This strange effect of temperature on hibernation proper is discussed. Since development often occurs at very low temperatures (2–5°), we may conclude that a mechanism must be present in the gemmulae which ensures development after a certain time, here 6 months. The different phases of hibernation may serve as an indicator of this mechanism. It is suggested, that the transformations taking place during prehibernation and posthibernation, and resulting in the germination of the gemmula are inhibited during hibernation proper by a substance formed in prehibernation.


Hydrostatic Pressure Physiological Process Organic Molecule Osmotic Pressure Single Case 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1939

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Zeuthen
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of ZoophysiologyCopenhagen UniversityDenmark

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