Freezing in the Antarctic limpet, Nacella concinna

Hawes, T.C.; Worland, M. Roger; Bale, J.S.. 2010 Freezing in the Antarctic limpet, Nacella concinna. Cryobiology, 61 (1). 128-132.

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The process of organismal freezing in the Antarctic limpet, Nacelle concinna, is complicated by molluscan biology. Internal ice formation is, in particular, mediated by two factors: (a) the provision of an inoculative target for ice formation in the exposed mucus-secreting foot; and (b) osmoconformity to the marine environment. With regard to the first, direct observations of the independent freezing of pedal mucus support the hypothesis that internal ice formation is delayed by the mucal film. As to the second, ice nucleation parametrics of organismal tissue (head, midgut, gonad, foot) and mucus in both inter- and subtidal populations were characterized by high melting points (range = -4.61 to -6.29 degrees C), with only c.50% of a given sample osmotically active. At this stage it would be premature to ascribe a cryo-adaptive function to the mucus as the protective effects are more readily attributed to the physical properties of the secretion (i.e. viscosity) and their corresponding effects on the rate of heat transfer. As it is difficult to thermally distinguish between the freezing of mucus and the rest of the animal, the question as to whether it is tolerant of internal as well as external ice formation remains problematic, although it may be well suited to the osmotic stresses of organismal freezing. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Ecosystems
ISSN: 0011-2240
Additional Keywords: Freezing; mucus; osmolality; mollusc; intertidal; Antarctic
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 17 Jun 2011 11:10 +0 (UTC)

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