Climate change and ageing in ectotherms

Burraco, P., Orizaola, G., Monaghan, P. and Metcalfe, N. B. (2020) Climate change and ageing in ectotherms. Global Change Biology, 26(10), pp. 5371-5381. (doi: 10.1111/gcb.15305) (PMID:32835446)

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Human activity is changing climatic conditions at an unprecedented rate. The impact of these changes may be especially acute on ectotherms since they have limited capacities to use metabolic heat to maintain their body temperature. An increase in temperature is likely to increase the growth rate of ectothermic animals, and may also induce thermal stress via increased exposure to heat waves. Fast growth and thermal stress are metabolically demanding, and both factors can increase oxidative damage to essential biomolecules, accelerating the rate of ageing. Here, we explore the potential impact of global warming on ectotherm ageing through its effects on reactive oxygen species production, oxidative damage, and telomere shortening, at the individual and intergenerational levels. Most evidence derives primarily from vertebrates, although the concepts are broadly applicable to invertebrates. We also discuss candidate mechanisms that could buffer ectotherms from the potentially negative consequences of climate change on ageing. Finally, we suggest some potential applications of the study of ageing mechanisms for the implementation of conservation actions. We find a clear need for more ecological, biogeographical, and evolutionary studies on the impact of global climate change on patterns of ageing rates in wild populations of ectotherms facing warming conditions. Understanding the impact of warming on animal life histories, and on ageing in particular, needs to be incorporated into the design of measures to preserve biodiversity to improve their effectiveness.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Metcalfe, Professor Neil and Monaghan, Professor Pat and Burraco, Dr Pablo
Authors: Burraco, P., Orizaola, G., Monaghan, P., and Metcalfe, N. B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Global Change Biology
ISSN (Online):1365-2486
Published Online:24 August 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Global Change Biology 26(10): 5371-5381
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
301347Why do fish fail at high temperatures?Neil MetcalfeNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/R001510/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
305090MITOWILDNeil MetcalfeEuropean Commission (EC)834653Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
301816Metamorphosis as a re-set mechanism of the ageing clock: is early-life stress bypassed by morphogenesis?Patricia MonaghanEuropean Commission (EC)797897Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine