Catarina Moreira | November 27, 2015 | 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Global warming is being intensively studied and temperature is considered one of the most important abiotic stress factors. Our study uses robolimpets and thermal images to confirm that sun-exposed microhabitats are consistently hotter than shaded microhabitats. The mechanism that translates thermal stress into differential physiological and behavioral performance and fitness is poorly understood. Our study aimed at studying the cardiac response and behavior of individuals from shaded and sun-exposed microhabitats, using a realistic heat stress treatment (peaking at 40 °C). The difference on cardiac response between microhabitats was non-significant, although there was a higher proportion of individuals from shaded microhabitats having a cardiac failure than individuals from sun-exposed microhabitats. The behavior response showed a decrease on the proportion of individuals moving with the increase of temperature but an increase of the mushrooming behavior after being exposed to the maximum temperature. This highlights the importance of realistic studies to avoid under- or over-estimating the organism’s responses to thermal stress.


Catarina graduated in Marine Biology at the University of Algarve in 2013, and is currently enrolled in the last year of the master course in Biodiversity Genetics and Evolution. Catarina master thesis is about the physiology and behavior response of Patella vulgata to thermal stress, and it is under the supervision of Dr. Fernando Lima and Dr. Raquel Xavier.


Image credits: Catarina Moreira