Multigenerational effects of rearing atmospheric oxygen level on the tracheal dimensions and diffusing capacities of pupal and adult Drosophila melanogaster

C. Jaco Klok, Alexander Kaiser, John J. Socha, Wah Keat Lee, Jon Harrison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Insects are small relative to vertebrates, and were larger in the Paleozoic when atmospheric oxygen levels were higher. The safety margin for oxygen delivery does not increase in larger insects, due to an increased mass-specific investment in the tracheal system and a greater use of convection in larger insects. Prior studies have shown that the dimensions and number of tracheal system branches varies inversely with rearing oxygen in embryonic and larval insects. Here we tested whether rearing in 10, 21, or 40 kPa atmospheric oxygen atmospheres for 5-7 generations affected the tracheal dimensions and diffusing capacities of pupal and adult Drosophila. Abdominal tracheae and pupal snorkel tracheae showed weak responses to oxygen, while leg tracheae showed strong, but imperfect compensatory changes. The diffusing capacity of leg tracheae appears closely matched to predicted oxygen transport needs by diffusion, perhaps explaining the consistent and significant responses of these tracheae to rearing oxygen. The reduced investment in tracheal structure in insects reared in higher oxygen levels may be important for conserving tissue PO2 and may provide an important mechanism for insects to invest only the space and materials necessary into respiratory structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Pages285-300
Number of pages16
Volume903
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Volume903
ISSN (Print)00652598
ISSN (Electronic)22148019

Keywords

  • Evolution
  • Gigantism
  • Insect
  • Tracheal system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    Klok, C. J., Kaiser, A., Socha, J. J., Lee, W. K., & Harrison, J. (2016). Multigenerational effects of rearing atmospheric oxygen level on the tracheal dimensions and diffusing capacities of pupal and adult Drosophila melanogaster. In Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (Vol. 903, pp. 285-300). (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology; Vol. 903). Springer New York LLC. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-7678-9_20