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  1. ABSTRACT The regulation of ionic, osmotic and acid–base (IOAB) conditions in biological fluids is among the most fundamental functions in all organisms; being surrounded by water uniquely shapes the IOAB regulatory strategies of water-breathing animals. Throughout its centennial history, Journal of Experimental Biology has established itself as a premier venue for publication of comparative, environmental and evolutionary studies on IOAB regulation. This Review provides a synopsis of IOAB regulation in aquatic animals, some of the most significant research milestones in the field, and evolving views about the underlying cellular mechanisms and their evolutionary implications. It also identifies promising areas for future research and proposes ideas for enhancing the impact of aquatic IOAB research. 
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  2. ABSTRACT Fish in coastal ecosystems can be exposed to acute variations in CO2 of between 0.2 and 1 kPa CO2 (2000–10,000 µatm). Coping with this environmental challenge will depend on the ability to rapidly compensate for the internal acid–base disturbance caused by sudden exposure to high environmental CO2 (blood and tissue acidosis); however, studies about the speed of acid–base regulatory responses in marine fish are scarce. We observed that upon sudden exposure to ∼1 kPa CO2, European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) completely regulate erythrocyte intracellular pH within ∼40 min, thus restoring haemoglobin–O2 affinity to pre-exposure levels. Moreover, blood pH returned to normal levels within ∼2 h, which is one of the fastest acid–base recoveries documented in any fish. This was achieved via a large upregulation of net acid excretion and accumulation of HCO3− in blood, which increased from ∼4 to ∼22 mmol l−1. While the abundance and intracellular localisation of gill Na+/K+-ATPase (NKA) and Na+/H+ exchanger 3 (NHE3) remained unchanged, the apical surface area of acid-excreting gill ionocytes doubled. This constitutes a novel mechanism for rapidly increasing acid excretion during sudden blood acidosis. Rapid acid–base regulation was completely prevented when the same high CO2 exposure occurred in seawater with experimentally reduced HCO3− and pH, probably because reduced environmental pH inhibited gill H+ excretion via NHE3. The rapid and robust acid–base regulatory responses identified will enable European sea bass to maintain physiological performance during large and sudden CO2 fluctuations that naturally occur in coastal environments. 
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  3. The inner ear is essential for maintaining balance and hearing predator and prey in the environment. Each inner ear contains three CaCO3 otolith polycrystals, which are calcified within an alkaline, K+-rich endolymph secreted by the surrounding epithelium. However, the underlying cellular mechanisms are poorly understood, especially in marine fish. Here, we investigated the presence and cellular localization of several ion-transporting proteins within the saccular epithelium of the Pacific Chub Mackerel (Scomber japonicus). Western blotting revealed the presence of Na+/K+-ATPase (NKA), carbonic anhydrase (CA), Na+-K+-2Cl--co-transporter (NKCC), vacuolar-type H+-ATPase (VHA), plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase (PMCA), and soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC). Immunohistochemistry analysis identified two distinct ionocytes types in the saccular epithelium: Type-I ionocytes were mitochondrion-rich and abundantly expressed NKA and NKCC in their basolateral membrane, indicating a role in secreting K+ into the endolymph. On the other hand, Type-II ionocytes were enriched in cytoplasmic CA and VHA, suggesting they help transport HCO3- into the endolymph and remove H+. In addition, both types of ionocytes expressed cytoplasmic PMCA, which is likely involved in Ca2+ transport and homeostasis, as well as sAC, an evolutionary conserved acid-base sensing enzyme that regulates epithelial ion transport. Furthermore, CA, VHA, and sAC were also expressed within the capillaries that supply blood to the meshwork area, suggesting additional mechanisms that contribute to otolith calcification. This information improves our knowledge about the cellular mechanisms responsible for endolymph ion regulation and otolith formation, and can help understand responses to environmental stressors such as ocean acidification. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Previously, we showed that the evolution of high acuity vision in fishes was directly associated with their unique pH-sensitive hemoglobins that allow O 2 to be delivered to the retina at PO 2 s more than ten-fold that of arterial blood (Damsgaard et al., 2019). Here, we show strong evidence that vacuolar-type H + -ATPase and plasma-accessible carbonic anhydrase in the vascular structure supplying the retina act together to acidify the red blood cell leading to O 2 secretion. In vivo data indicate that this pathway primarily affects the oxygenation of the inner retina involved in signal processing and transduction, and that the evolution of this pathway was tightly associated with the morphological expansion of the inner retina. We conclude that this mechanism for retinal oxygenation played a vital role in the adaptive evolution of vision in teleost fishes. 
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