Navigation Links
Study: Sea stars bulk up to beat the heat
Date:11/17/2009

A new study finds that a species of sea star stays cool using a strategy never before seen in the animal kingdom. The sea stars soak up cold sea water into their bodies during high tide as buffer against potentially damaging temperatures brought about by direct sunlight at low tide.

"Sea stars were assumed to be at the mercy of the sun during low tide," said the study's lead author, Sylvain Pincebourde of Franois Rabelais University in Tours, France. "This work shows that some sea stars have an unexpected back-up strategy."

The researcher is published in the December issue of The American Naturalist.

Sea stars need to endure rapid changes in temperature. During high tide, they are fully submerged in cool sea water. But when tides receded, the stars are often left on rocky shorelines, baking in the sun.

Clearly the stars had some way of beating the heat, but scientists were unsure how they did it. Pincebourde and his team thought it might have something to do with fluid-filled cavities found in the arms of sea stars. So he set up an experiment to test it.

The researchers placed sea stars in aquariums and varied the water level to simulate tidal patterns. Heat lamps were used to control temperature, with some stars experiencing hotter temperatures than others. The researchers found that stars exposed to higher temperatures at low tide had higher body mass after the high tide that followed. Since the stars were not allowed to eat, the increased mass must be from soaking up water.

"This reservoir of cool water keeps the sea star from overheating when the tide recedes again the next day, a process called 'thermal inertia,'" Pincebourde said.

What appears to be happening, the researchers say, is that a hot low tide serves as a cue telling the star to soak up more water during the next high tide. And the amount of water the stars can hold is remarkable.

"It would be as if humans were able to look at a weather forecast, decide it was going to be hot tomorrow, and then in preparation suck up 15 or more pounds of water into our bodies," said co-author Brian Helmuth of the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

The researchers are concerned, however, that climate change may put this novel cooling strategy in peril.

"This strategy only works when the sea water is colder than the air," said co-author Eric Sanford of the University if California, Davis. "Ocean warming might therefore break down this buffering mechanism, making this sea star susceptible to global warming. There are likely limits to how much this mechanism can buffer this animal against global change."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
773-834-0386
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study: diabetic neuropathy costs billions per year in lost work time
2. Study: Fountain of youth for your heart?
3. First-ever study: lack of critical lubricant causes wear in joints
4. Mayo Clinic study: Ossurs collars superior in immobilization and reduction of pressure
5. Study: weight-loss tips differ in African-American, mainstream magazines
6. Smithsonian study: Sediment prediction tools off the mark
7. Mouse study: When it comes to living longer, its better to go hungry than go running
8. Geisinger study: Inflammatory disease causes blindness
9. Stanford study: Bioenergy potential of reviving abandoned agricultural land
10. U-M study: Herceptin targets breast cancer stem cells
11. Study: Future snowmelt in West twice as early as expected; threatens ecosystems and water reserves
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2016)...  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... standard in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with ... IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health measurements, such ... and, when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER ... local retail location at no cost. By leveraging this ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... -- --> --> According ... "Digital Door Lock Systems Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, ... digital door lock systems market in terms of revenue was ... to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% during the period ... (MSMEs) across the world and high industrial activity driving inclusive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... LONDON , May 23, 2016 ... Boost Efficiency by 40% - Frontage Implement a Single ... Enforce Quality, Compliance and Traceability Within the Bioanalytical lab ... the United States and China ... deployed across its laboratory facilities. In addition to serving as the ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... Foresight Institute , ... the winners for the 2015 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes. , These prestigious ... categories, one for experiment and the other for theory in nanotechnology. Prof. Markus ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... ... The leading Regenerative Veterinary Medicine Company, VetStem Biopharma ., is proud ... of their own patients with the VetStem Cell Therapy. Each of these veterinarians has ... patients. , The veterinarians are Dr Ross Rich former owner of Cave Creek ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... May 20, 2016 , ... ... cells, suggesting that it may offer a new way to treat the disease. Surviving ... read it now. , Scientists from several Korean institutions based their mesothelioma study ...
Breaking Biology Technology: