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Using FireSting Oxygen Sensor Systems to Study Ecophysiology in Marine Species

For over 10 years, the scientists from the Polytechnic of Leiria in Portugal have been working on stress biology in various research fields and marine organisms.

FireSting-O2 system with OXSP5 oxygen sensor spots and SPFIB-LNS fiber cables

In their latest PhD study, they looked at the temperature and pollution dependent plasticity* of native and invasive crabs. By using the 4-channel FireSting-O2 contactless optical sensor system with the OXSP5 oxygen sensor spots and necessary accessories, they measured how a new-generation pesticide which is a ubiquitous environmental pollutant, affected both native (European green crab) and invasive (brush-clawed shore crab and Asian/Japanese shore crab) crab species based on their respective oxygen consumption rates as physiological proxy for energy metabolism under controlled hydrological parameters.

The contactless attribute of the FireSting-O2 sensor system was especially important for this experiment since a closed chamber incubation meant reduced risk of leakage while minimizing organism manipulation and handling stress which can affect the experiment’s outcome. All PyroScience sensor systems utilize the unique optical REDFLASH technology, which uses orange-red excitation light and the NIR emission of the oxygen-sensitive indicator dye to provide high precision, minimal cross-sensitivity results with low power consumption and fast response times.

A defensive adult of the invader Hemigrapsus sanguineus in Mokbaai

The initial outcome of this research project suggests that when the native and invasive crab species compete in habitats with thermal and pollution stress, the invasive crab does better in comparison. This is because it has a higher phenotypic plasticity, which means better and faster adaptation of behavior, morphology, and physiology in response to different environmental conditions. Read more about this project in the latest issue of the ECO Magazine on Marine Invasions here.

The optical oxygen, pH and temperature sensor systems from PyroScience offer versatile sensor configurations from robust probes, flow-through cells, sensor spots to micro- and mini-sensors and custom solutions. These systems are widely used in the scientific community for respiration rate measurements in fish, crabs, mussels, algae, enclosed sediments, ocean acidification and de-oxygenation research and many others applications.


*Definition of plasticity: The adaptability of an organism to changes in its environment or differences between its various habitats. Source: Oxford Dictionary.

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