Oxygen supersaturation protects coastal marine fauna from ocean warming

Folco Giomi, Alberto Barausse, Carlos M. Duarte, Jenny Booth, Susana Agusti, Vincent Saderne, Andrea Anton Gamazo, Daniele Daffonchio, Marco Fusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Ocean warming affects the life history and fitness of marine organisms by, among others, increasing animal metabolism and reducing oxygen availability. In coastal habitats, animals live in close association with photosynthetic organisms whose oxygen supply supports metabolic demands and may compensate for acute warming. Using a unique high-frequency monitoring dataset, we show that oxygen supersaturation resulting from photosynthesis closely parallels sea temperature rise during diel cycles in Red Sea coastal habitats. We experimentally demonstrate that oxygen supersaturation extends the survival to more extreme temperatures of six species from four phyla. We clarify the mechanistic basis of the extended thermal tolerance by showing that hyperoxia fulfills the increased metabolic demand at high temperatures. By modeling 1 year of water temperatures and oxygen concentrations, we predict that oxygen supersaturation from photosynthetic activity invariably fuels peak animal metabolic demand, representing an underestimated factor of resistance and resilience to ocean warming in ectotherms.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)eaax1814
JournalScience advances
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 4 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): CRG-7-3739
Acknowledgements: We thank S. Umer for the invaluable support during laboratory work. We are grateful to A. Bodega Martinez for the species illustrations in Fig. 2. We thank M. Hay and two anonymous reviewers whose suggestions helped improve and clarify the early version of the manuscript.


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