A new paper by Lisa Jørgensen, Johannes Overgaard and myself is now in press at the Journal of Thermal Biology. Lisa was an undergraduate volunteer who found time to do an entire set of experiments in her spare time. Her hard work has now come to fruition!
In order to clearly determine the mechansisms setting thermal limits, we need to understand the order in which different organs, tissues and biochemical processes fail at extreme temperatures. Here, Lisa shows that although exposing European green crabs to high temperatures causes them to lose ion balance, this loss of balance follows AFTER the crab is paralyzed and suffering from cardiac issues. Thus, a loss of extracellular ion balance does not cause paralysis, but might instead be a secondary consequence of tissue damage after a suite of physiological systems begin to shut down.