Aarhus University Seal

Screening of cold tolerance in fifteen springtail species.

New publication by Martin Holmstrup



Springtails (Collembola) are ubiquitous and help ecosystem processes such as the decomposition of dead plant material. Their ability to survive low winter temperatures is an important trait that partly defines their geographic distribution. The cold tolerances of 15 laboratory-reared species of springtails were investigated. Springtails were cold acclimated in the laboratory over two months in order to simulate a seasonal change in temperature during autumn. Springtails were then exposed to decreasing sub-zero temperatures and at the same time simulating the moisture conditions in frozen soil. The cold tolerance of the species reflected well the climate of region of origin. Differential scanning calorimetry of individual springtails showed that melting points of body fluids did not become lower due to long-term cold acclimation (from 20° to 1.5°C). However, both water content and melting point of two arctic species (Hypogastrura viatica and Protaphorura macfadyeni) decreased drastically during exposure to sub-zero temperatures indicating cryoprotective dehydration (CPD). These arctic species survived exposure to − 9 °C for two weeks and − 20 °C for at least one week using CPD. Four other subarctic or cool temperate species also used CPD and survived − 9 °C for weeks, whereas springtails in culture from less cool temperate regions had poor cold tolerance.

Journal of Thermal Biology, Bind 77, 10.2018, s. 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtherbio.2018.07.017