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Gaitan-Espitia, J. D., Bacigalupe, L. D., Opitz, T., Lagos, N. A., Timmermann, T., & Lardies, M. A. (2014). Geographic variation in thermal physiological performance of the intertidal crab Petrolisthes violaceus along a latitudinal gradient. J. Exp. Biol., 217(24), 4379–4386.
Abstract: Environmental temperature has profound effects on the biological performance and biogeographical distribution of ectothermic species. Variation of this abiotic factor across geographic gradients is expected to produce physiological differentiation and local adaptation of natural populations depending on their thermal tolerances and physiological sensitivities. Here, we studied geographic variation in whole-organism thermal physiology of seven populations of the porcelain crab Petrolisthes violaceus across a latitudinal gradient of 3000 km, characterized by a cline of thermal conditions. Our study found that populations of P. violaceus show no differences in the limits of their thermal performance curves and demonstrate a negative correlation of their optimal temperatures with latitude. Additionally, our findings show that high-latitude populations of P. violaceus exhibit broader thermal tolerances, which is consistent with the climatic variability hypothesis. Interestingly, under a future scenario of warming oceans, the thermal safety margins of P. violaceus indicate that lower latitude populations can physiologically tolerate the ocean-warming scenarios projected by the IPCC for the end of the twenty-first century.