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2023-10-06T08:22:00.0000000Z
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Consistent metabolism may prove costly for insects in saltier water

Phys.Org

Increased salinity usually spells trouble for freshwater insects like mayflies. A new study from North Carolina State University finds that the lack of metabolic responses to salinity may explain why some freshwater insects often struggle in higher salinity, while other freshwater invertebrates (like mollusks and crustaceans) thrive. Salinity in this case refers to the concentrations of all the salts in an aquatic environment, not just sodium.

The work appears in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

"Freshwater habitats in general are getting saltier for a number of reasons, including road salt and agricultural runoff, extraction of coal and natural gas, drought, and sea level rise," says David Buchwalter, professor of toxicology at NC State and corresponding author of the research. "Freshwater insects and other organisms that live in these systems are used as indicators of the ecosystem's health. When these systems get saltier, we see that insect diversity decreases, but we aren't sure why."

Aquatic animals (including insects and crustaceans) must constantly maintain the correct balance of water and salts within their body—a process called osmoregulation. Theoretically, the most favorable environment for aquatic animals would be one where external salinity levels are close to those inside the animal. That way the animal doesn't have to work as hard to maintain osmoregulation.

Read on: https://phys.org/news/2023-10-metabolism-insects-saltier.html

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