Acid–base regulation in aquatic decapod crustaceans

Aquatic decapod crustaceans live in a highly variable and constantly changing environment, permanently challenging their physiological homeostasis. One of the key processes considered ensuring physiological performance and function is the maintenance of acid–base balance. This chapter aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges for aquatic decapod crustaceans’ acid–base homeostasis, as well as the current knowledge regarding the respective mechanisms for acid–base regulation. Like many other marine organisms including fish and cephalopods, aquatic decapod crustaceans are capable of counteracting an acidosis or alkalosis of their bodily fluids mainly by modulating their hemolymph bicarbonate levels in order to buffer the pH. In addition, they adjust the excretion of acid and/or base equivalents, respectively. It is evident that ion transport mechanisms at the level of the gill epithelium contribute substantially to these acid–base regulatory processes, including the modulation of gene (mRNA) expression levels of distinct gill epithelial transcripts like carbonic anhydrase, Rhesus-like protein, Na+/K+-ATPase, V-ATPase and Cl/HCO3 -exchanger. As a result of recently generated data mainly from gill perfusion experiments, a novel hypothetical working model for branchial acid–base regulation is put forward. It ties in general ion as well as ammonia regulatory mechanisms and accounts for the obvious linkage between these three processes.

Fehsenfeld S. & Weihrauch D., 2017. Acid–base regulation in aquatic decapod crustaceans. In: Weihrauch D. & O’Donnell M. (Eds.), Acid-base balance and nitrogen excretion in invertebrates: mechanisms and strategies in various invertebrate groups with considerations of challenges caused by ocean acidification, pp. 151-191. Springer International Publishing. Book chapter (subscription required).


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