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Thermal regimes in aquatic systems have profound implications for the physiology of ectotherms. In particular, the effect of elevated temperatures on mitochondrial energy transduction (i.e. energy from carbon substrates to ATP) in tropical and subtropical teleosts may have profound consequences on organismal performance and population viability. Upper and lower whole-organism critical temperatures for teleosts suggest that subtropical and tropical species are not susceptible to the warming trends associated with climate change, but sub-lethal effects on energy transduction efficiency and population dynamics remain unclear. The goal of the present study was to compare the thermal sensitivity of processes associated with mitochondrial energy transduction in liver mitochondria from the striped mojarra (Eugerres plumieri), the whitemouth croaker (Micropogonias furnieri) and the palometa (Trachinotus goodei), to those of the subtropical pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides) and the blue runner (Caranx crysos). Mitochondrial function was assayed at temperatures ranging from 10 to 40°C and results obtained for both tropical and subtropical species showed a reduction in the energy transduction efficiency of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system in most species studied at temperatures below whole-organism critical temperature thresholds. Our results show a loss of coupling between O2 consumption and ATP production before the onset of the critical thermal maxima, indicating that elevated temperature may severely impact the yield of ATP production per carbon unit oxidized. As warming trends are projected for tropical regions, increasing water temperatures in tropical estuaries and coral reefs could impact long-term growth and reproductive performance in tropical organisms, which are already close to their upper thermal limit.


doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2015.08.008

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