The intertidal zone is an ideal habitat to investigate effects of global warming because species living in it are very close to their physiological limits. Initial studies of invertebrate physiological responses to heat stress have employed relatively abrupt increases in temperature. My research investigates effects of ecologically more realistic temperature profiles on feeding in the intertidal hermit crab, Pagurus sameulis. Recent work in the Wright lab showed that feeding in this species is inhibited by an abrupt increase in temperature. Because temperature change in the natural environment of Pagurus is much more gradual, I hypothesize that such a gradual temperature profile might be more readily tolerated. I heated hermit crabs with a fast (10 min), medium (30 min) and slow (100 min) rate of change to 29°C. As hypothesized, consumption of food pellets upon reaching 29°C was undetectable after 10-minute heating. Pellet consumption after medium or slow heating to 29°C was significantly greater than after the rapid 10-min heating profile. Thus, these results proved my hypothesis correct: consumption of a squid pellet suggests that behavioral and physiological responses to high temperature are sensitive to the rate at which the high temperature is reached.
Davis, Paige, "Effects of Ecologically Realistic Heating Profiles on Feeding in the Intertidal Hermit Crab, Pagurus sameulis" (2015). Student Research Day Abstracts and Posters. 107.