Meeting Abstract

3.7  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Effect of increased aerial temperature on sex-specific foraging and growth in rocky intertidal snails VAUGHN, D. *; TURNROSS, O. ; CARRINGTON, E.; Univ. of Washington, Friday Harbor Laboratories; Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Univ. of Washington, Friday Harbor Laboratories

Temperature influences species across a range of organizational scales – from individual performance to ecosystem function. Effects of global climate change, including elevated temperatures and increased frequency of extreme climatic events, are predicted to measurably impact organisms at each of these scales. The consequence of temperature for individual performance is determined in part by an organism’s physiology. For ectotherms, warmer temperatures may increase demand for energy by increasing metabolic rate, which may then reduce energy available for growth and reproduction. Given differences in reproductive physiology, temperature-related increases in metabolic demand may be experienced differently by males and females of a species. In this study we manipulated low-tide aerial temperature to test the predicted effects of climate change on sex-specific differences in foraging and growth in the intertidal predatory whelk, Nucella ostrina. Snails foraged periodically (every two weeks) and subjecting snails to either chronically or acutely elevated aerial temperatures did not alter the timing or magnitude of this pattern. However, despite a similar foraging pattern across treatments, a sex-specific difference in snail growth was pronounced; females exposed to chronic increases in temperature lost body mass over the month-long study. These results suggest differences in the thermal tolerance of male and female N. ostrina that may reflect differential costs for the production of eggs and sperm. Moreover, these results suggest the importance of sex-specific differences that, if widespread, could have considerable consequences for species persistence in an increasingly warm world.