The Physiological Stress Response of the Atlantic Stingray (Hypanus sabinus) to Aerial Exposure

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Marine Science


Ocean Science and Engineering


Although secondary stress physiology of elasmobranchs is fairly well studied, gaps remain in our understanding of species differences, including stress recovery. We examined the physiological stress response to air exposure in Atlantic stingrays (Hypanus sabinus) using a serial sampling method requiring minimal handling. Many elasmobranch stress studies exclusively quantify glucose, although there is evidence that elasmobranchs are unusually reliant on ketone bodies. Therefore, we also tested the hypothesis that ketone bodies play a significant role in the elasmobranch stress response by examining plasma β-hydroxybutyrate. Plasma osmolality, urea, trimethylamine-N-oxide, and a suite of ions were also measured to characterize departures from homeostasis due to air exposure. H. sabinus were exposed to air for 30 min and serially sampled at 0, 15, and 30 min, as well as 48 h after the stressor to assess the extent of recovery. Blood lactate and acidosis increased significantly during the stressor and returned to basal levels by 48 h. Glucose values were significantly affected, with the highest values observed at 48 h, suggesting that animals were not fully recovered as initially indicated by other metrics. Average plasma β-hydroxybutyrate was unaffected by the stressor. This suggests that ketone bodies may not be a major fuel source used during acute stress, at least in the timeframe examined.

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology



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