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  1. Oxygen bioavailability is declining in aquatic systems worldwide as a result of climate change and other anthropogenic stressors. For aquatic organisms, the consequences are poorly known but are likely to reflect both direct effects of declining oxygen bioavailability and interactions between oxygen and other stressors, including two—warming and acidification— that have received substantial attention in recent decades and that typically accompany oxygen changes. Drawing on the collected papers in this symposium volume (“An Oxygen Perspective on Climate Change”), we outline the causes and consequences of declining oxygen bioavailability. First, we discuss the scope of natural and predicted anthropogenic changes in aquatic oxygen levels. Although modern organisms are the result of long evolutionary histories during which they were exposed to natural oxygen regimes, anthropogenic change is now exposing them to more extreme conditions and novel combinations of low oxygen with other stressors. Second, we identify behavioral and physiological mechanisms that underlie the interactive effects of oxygen with other stressors, and we assess the range of potential organismal responses to oxygen limitation that occur across levels of biological organization and over multiple timescales. We argue that metabolism and energetics provide a powerful and unifying framework for understanding organism-oxygen interactions. Third,we conclude bymore »outlining a set of approaches for maximizing the effectiveness of future work, including focusing on long-term experiments using biologically realistic variation in experimental factors and taking truly cross disciplinary and integrative approaches to understanding and predicting future effects.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. Abstract

    The mitonuclear species concept hypothesizes that incompatibilities between interacting gene products of the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes are a major factor establishing and maintaining species boundaries. However, most of the data available to test this concept come from studies of genetic variation in mitochondrial DNA, and clines in the mitochondrial genome across contact zones can be produced by a variety of forces. Here, we show that using a combination of population genomic analyses of the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes and studies of mitochondrial function can provide insight into the relative roles of neutral processes, adaptive evolution, and mitonuclear incompatibility in establishing and maintaining mitochondrial clines, using Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) as a case study. There is strong evidence for a role of secondary contact following the last glaciation in shaping a steep mitochondrial cline across a contact zone between northern and southern subspecies of killifish, but there is also evidence for a role of adaptive evolution in driving differentiation between the subspecies in a variety of traits from the level of the whole organism to the level of mitochondrial function. In addition, studies are beginning to address the potential for mitonuclear incompatibilities in admixed populations. However, population genomic studiesmore »have failed to detect evidence for a strong and pervasive influence of mitonuclear incompatibilities, and we suggest that polygenic selection may be responsible for the complex patterns observed. This case study demonstrates that multiple forces can act together in shaping mitochondrial clines, and illustrates the challenge of disentangling their relative roles.

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  3. Abstract Animals display tremendous variation in their rates of growth, reproductive output, and longevity. While the physiological and molecular mechanisms that underlie this variation remain poorly understood, the performance of the mitochondrion has emerged as a key player. Mitochondria not only impact the performance of eukaryotes via their capacity to produce ATP, but they also play a role in producing heat and reactive oxygen species and function as a major signaling hub for the cell. The papers included in this special issue emerged from a symposium titled “Inside the Black Box: The Mitochondrial Basis of Life-history Variation and Animal Performance.” Based on studies of diverse animal taxa, three distinct themes emerged from these papers. (1) When linking mitochondrial function to components of fitness, it is crucial that mitochondrial assays are performed in conditions as close as the intracellular conditions experienced by the mitochondria in vivo. (2) Functional plasticity allows mitochondria to retain their performance, as well as that of their host, over a range of exogenous conditions, and selection on mitochondrial and nuclear-derived proteins can optimize the match between the environment and the bioenergetic capacity of the mitochondrion. Finally, (3) studies of wild and wild-derived animals suggest that mitochondria playmore »a central role in animal performance and life history strategy. Taken as a whole, we hope that these papers will foster discussion and inspire new hypotheses and innovations that will further our understanding of the mitochondrial processes that underlie variation in life history traits and animal performance.« less
  4. Abstract

    Eukaryotes are the outcome of an ancient symbiosis and as such, eukaryotic cells fundamentally possess two genomes. As a consequence, gene products encoded by both nuclear and mitochondrial genomes must interact in an intimate and precise fashion to enable aerobic respiration in eukaryotes. This genomic architecture of eukaryotes is proposed to necessitate perpetual coevolution between the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes to maintain coadaptation, but the presence of two genomes also creates the opportunity for intracellular conflict. In the collection of papers that constitute this symposium volume, scientists working in diverse organismal systems spanning vast biological scales address emerging topics in integrative, comparative biology in light of mitonuclear interactions.