Immune defence under extreme ambient temperature

Biol Lett. 2011 Feb 23;7(1):119-22. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0459. Epub 2010 Jul 7.


Owing to global climate change, the extreme weather conditions are predicted to become more frequent, which is suggested to have an even greater impact on ecological interactions than the gradual increase in average temperatures. Here, we examined whether exposure to high ambient temperature affects immune function of the great pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis). We quantified the levels of several immune traits from snails maintained in a non-stressful temperature (15°C) and in an extreme temperature (30°C) that occurs in small ponds during hot summers. We found that snails exposed to high temperature had weaker immune defence, which potentially predisposes them to infections. However, while phenoloxidase and antibacterial activity of snail haemolymph were reduced at high temperature, haemocyte concentration was not affected. This suggests that the effect of high temperature on snail susceptibility to infections may vary across different pathogens because different components of invertebrate immune defence have different roles in resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Global Warming
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Lymnaea / immunology*