TitlePhysiology of the rocky intertidal predator Nucella ostrina along an environmental stress gradient
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsDahlhoff, EP, Buckley, BA, Menge, B
Type of ArticleJournal Article

To gain insight into suborganismal mechanisms underlying responses of predators to environmental stress, we examined the effects of temperature and food availability on the physiology and feeding activity of the predatory whelk Nucella ostrina (formerly N. emarginata). Studies were conducted in the mid-low transition zone on rocky reefs at two sites on the Oregon coast: Strawberry Hill (SH) and Boiler Bay (BB). SH is dominated by suspension-feeding invertebrates and their predators, while BB is dominated by macrophytes. In wave-exposed (EX) and wave-protected (PR) habitat,, at each site, we measured air and water temperatures, whelk body temperatures, and indices of physiological condition (malate dehydrogenase [MDH] activities and RNA: DNA ratios) for wild-caught whelks. The influence of food (+/- prey) and thermal conditions (+/- shelter) on prey consumption, physiological performance (oxygen consumption rate), and response to thermal stress (induction of Hsp70-class stress proteins) of whelks was determined in field experiments. Low-tide air temperatures, whelk body temperatures, and biochemical indices of whelk field condition were consistently different between sites (SH > BB) and wave exposures (temperatures: PR > EX, condition: PR

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