Lethal Consequences and Embryo Shell Shape Alterations in the Marine Gastropod Trophon geversianus Due to Elevated Temperatures

Environmental temperature is increasing while natural populations are forced to develop their life cycle under new conditions, resulting in the expression of new phenotypic traits. Still, the links between these new environmental conditions and the subsequent phenotypic expressions are not fully explored. Here, we conducted manipulative experiments with the marine gastropod Trophon geversianus embryos to assess the effects of warmer temperatures in shell form. We observed lethal effects together with alterations in the shell form of embryos exposed to 18°C compared to the control temperature. Our results reveal that T. geversianus from Patagonian coasts growing under warm temperatures will change their phenotype by selecting smaller and more elongated shells in the ontogeny, as well as an expansion of the shell aperture, increasing their predation vulnerability. Therefore, we considered that the embryonic shell shape change could be a good biomarker of thermal stress produced at early developmental stages in marine gastropods.

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