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Morphological adaptations to chronic hypoxia in deep-sea decapod crustaceans from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps
Decelle, J.; Andersen, A.C.; Hourdez, S. (2010). Morphological adaptations to chronic hypoxia in deep-sea decapod crustaceans from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 157(6): 1259-1269.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Decelle, J.
  • Andersen, A.C.
  • Hourdez, S.

    Animals inhabiting hydrothermal vents and cold seeps face conditions that are challenging for survival. In particular, these two habitats are characterized by chronic hypoxia, sometimes reaching complete anoxia. The characteristics of the scaphognathite and gills were studied in four species of shrimp and three species of crabs from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, in order to highlight potential adaptations that could enhance oxygen acquisition in comparison with shallow-water relatives. All the vent and seep species studied here exhibit significantly larger scaphognathites, likely allowing more water to flow over their gills per stroke of this appendage. This is probably more energetically efficient that prolonged hyperventilation. In contrast to annelids, vent and seep decapods usually do not possess enlarged gills, a phenomenon likely due to the physical limitations imposed by the size of the gill chamber. In the vent shrimp Rimicaris exoculata and the vent crab Bythograea thermydron, however, there is a significantly higher specific gill surface area linked to a higher number of lamellae per gram of gill. Again in contrast to annelids, the diffusion distance through the gills is not strikingly different between the vent shrimp Alvinocaris komaii and the shallow-water species Palaemon spp. This may indicate that the epithelium and cuticle of the decapod gills are already optimized for oxygen uptake and that reducing the thickness of these compartments is not physically possible without affecting the physical integrity of the gills.

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