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Temperature and salinity survival limits of the fluffy sea anemone, Metridium senile (L.), in Japan

Abstract

Metridium senile, the fluffy (or plumose) sea anemone, is a circumboreal species adapted to the cold northern oceans. We performed a 40-day experiment on 108 individuals of M. senile collected from the Akkeshi-ko estuary in Japan to test their survivability in higher temperatures and their upper and lower salinity survivability limits. In addition to using survivorship to determine if there is a smaller tolerance range than the extreme limits of temperature and salinity, we used asexual reproduction via pedal laceration as an indicator of the most favorable environmental conditions for M. senile. The resulting limitations are used to both broaden our understanding of the biology of M. senile and to assess potential effects of changing oceanic conditions, since M. senile is unable to survive in warm water temperatures or in extreme salinities. Our results support the use of pedal laceration by M. senile as a way to quickly colonize an area with favorable environmental conditions in order to preserve a well-adapted phenotype.

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Acknowledgements

This project was funded through the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute program jointly funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF; Award Number 1713898) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). This research was also partially supported by the Environmental Research and Technology Development Fund (S-15 Predicting and Assessing Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services [PANCES]) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. The authors thank all the Akkeshi Marine Station staff and faculty for assisting them in setting up experiments and for their hospitality. The authors specially thank Mizuho, Ahn-san, Takaaki, and Franz for their continued support during the experiment duration. Finally, they thank Mael Glon for statistics discussions and support at home.

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Correspondence to Heather Glon.

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Handling editor: Jonne Kotta

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Glon, H., Haruka, Y., Daly, M. et al. Temperature and salinity survival limits of the fluffy sea anemone, Metridium senile (L.), in Japan. Hydrobiologia 830, 303–315 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-018-3879-2

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Keywords

  • Lethal limits
  • Tolerance
  • Actiniaria
  • Pedal laceration
  • Asexual reproduction