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Osmoregulation in the Hawaiian anchialine shrimp Halocaridina rubra (Crustacea: Atyidae): expression of ion transporters, mitochondria-rich cell proliferation and hemolymph osmolality during salinity transfers


Havird, Justin C
Santos, Scott R
Henry, Raymond P


Studies of euryhaline crustaceans have identified conserved osmoregulatory adaptions allowing hyper-osmoregulation in dilute waters. However, previous studies have mainly examined decapod brachyurans with marine ancestries inhabiting estuaries or tidal creeks on a seasonal basis. Here, we describe osmoregulation in the atyid Halocaridina rubra, an endemic Hawaiian shrimp of freshwater ancestry from the islands' anchialine ecosystem (coastal ponds with subsurface freshwater and seawater connections) that encounters near-continuous spatial and temporal salinity changes. Given this, survival and osmoregulatory responses were examined over a wide salinity range. In the laboratory, H. rubra tolerated salinities of ~0-56‰, acting as both a hyper- and hypo-osmoregulator and maintaining a maximum osmotic gradient of ~868 mOsm kg(-1) H2O in freshwater. Furthermore, hemolymph osmolality was more stable during salinity transfers relative to other crustaceans. Silver nitrate and vital mitochondria-rich cell staining suggest all gills are osmoregulatory, with a large proportion of each individual gill functioning in ion transport (including when H. rubra acts as an osmoconformer in seawater). Additionally, expression of ion transporters and supporting enzymes that typically undergo upregulation during salinity transfer in osmoregulatory gills (i.e. Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase, carbonic anhydrase, Na(+)/K(+)/2Cl(-) cotransporter, V-type H(+)-ATPase and arginine kinase) were generally unaltered in H. rubra during similar transfers. These results suggest H. rubra (and possibly other anchialine species) maintains high, constitutive levels of gene expression and ion transport capability in the gills as a means of potentially coping with the fluctuating salinities that are encountered in anchialine habitats. Thus, anchialine taxa represent an interesting avenue for future physiological research.