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Phenotypic plasticity of a Baetid mayfly larvae (Baetis rhodani) at sites with high levels of deposited fine sediment

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posted on 2024-03-18, 12:26 authored by Morwenna MckenzieMorwenna Mckenzie, Jennifer Scott, Paul WoodPaul Wood, Kate MathersKate Mathers
  1. Excess fine sediment (particles <2 mm) delivery and deposition in freshwater systems is a significant factor in structuring aquatic communities and populations.
  2. Invertebrate gill surfaces can become covered with fine sediment, potentially compromising osmoregulatory function. 
  3. Ionocytes are specialised structures for osmoregulation found on the tracheal gills of mayflies. The number of cells has been shown to change in order to maintain osmoregulatory demands under environmentally variable conditions. 
  4. To investigate whether ionocytes vary in response to fine sediment pressure, individuals of Baetis rhodani were collected from two high and low fine sediment cover sites, respectively, in the UK. Tracheal gills were subsequently examined for the number of ionocytes present on the upper and lower gill surfaces, standardised by gill size. 
  5. Results indicated that the number of ionocytes was significantly higher for mayflies collected from areas with high fine sediment cover. High fine sediment sites were also characterised by lower altitude and dissolved oxygen concentrations. Mayfly gills collected from high sediment cover sites were also significantly larger than those collected from low sediment sites. 
  6. The results illustrate the potential for mayfly larvae to demonstrate phenotypic plasticity to the pressures associated with fine sediment but that these responses are likely dependent on the composition of fine sediment deposits (organic or mineral) and associated oxygen concentrations.

Funding

Loughborough University

Stuck in the mud: addressing the fine sediment conundrum with multiscale and interdisciplinary approaches to support global freshwater biodiversity

UK Research and Innovation

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History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Ecological Entomology

Publisher

Wiley

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Acceptance date

2024-02-22

Publication date

2024-03-16

Copyright date

2024

ISSN

0307-6946

eISSN

1365-2311

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Kate Mathers. Deposit date: 18 March 2024

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