Salinity is one of the most crucial environmental factors that structures biogeographic boundaries of aquatic organisms, affecting distribution, abundance, and behavior. However, the association between behavior and gene regulation underlying acclimation to changes in salinity remains poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of salinity stress on behavior (movement distance) and patterns of gene expression (using RNA sequencing) of the intertidal gastropod Batillaria attramentaria. We examined responses to short-term (1-hour) and long-term (30-day) acclimation to a range of salinities (43, 33 [control], 23, 13, and 3 psu). We found that the intertidal B. attramentaria is able to tolerate a broad range of salinity from 13 to 43 psu but not the acute low salinity of 3 psu. Behavioral experiments showed that salt stress significantly influenced snails’ movement, with lower salinity resulting in shorter movement distance. Transcriptomic analyses revealed critical metabolic pathways and genes potentially involved in acclimation to salinity stress, including ionic and osmotic regulation, signal and hormonal transduction pathways, water exchange, cell protection, and gene regulation or epigenetic modification. In general, our study presents a robust, integrative laboratory-based approach to investi-.
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We thank our colleagues Soyeon Park, Sook-Jin Jang, and Won-Kyung Lee for their assistance in the field. We also appreciate helpful comments provided by Dr. Elizabeth Hassell Kern and three anonymous reviewers that improved the manuscript. Support was provided by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea and the Korean government, Ministry of Science, Information and Communication Technology, and Future Planning of Korea (MSIP) (NFR-2015R1A4A1041997) to Y-JW. CRY was supported by Natural Environment Research Council National Capability funding.
© 2019 The University of Chicago.