George Somero

George Somero
Stanford University | SU · Department of Biology

About

270
Publications
28,603
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
29,288
Citations

Publications

Publications (270)
Article
Thermal performance curves are commonly used to investigate effects of heat acclimation on thermal tolerance and physiological performance. However, recent work indicates that metrics of these curves heavily depend on experimental design and may be poor predictors of animals’ survival during heat events in the field. In intertidal mussels, cardiac...
Article
The ability of marine organisms to thrive over wide ranges of environmental stressors that perturb structures of proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids illustrates the effectiveness of adaptation at the biochemical level. A critical role of these adaptations is to achieve a proper balance between structural rigidity, which is necessary for maintaining...
Article
Macromolecular function commonly involves rapidly reversible alterations in three-dimensional structure (conformation). To allow these essential conformational changes, macromolecules must possess higher order structures that are appropriately balanced between rigidity and flexibility. Because of the low stabilization free energies (marginal stabil...
Article
Elucidating the physiological mechanisms that underlie thermal stress and discovering how species differ in capacities for phenotypic acclimatization and evolutionary adaptation to this stress is critical for understanding current latitudinal and vertical distribution patterns of species and for predicting their future state in a warming world. Suc...
Article
Dr. Serge N. Timasheff, our mentor and friend, passed away in 2019. This article is a collection of tributes from his postdoctoral fellows, friends, and daughter, who all have been associated with or influenced by him or his research. Dr. Timasheff is a pioneer of research on thermodynamic linkage between ligand interaction and macromolecular react...
Article
Climate change is not only causing steady increases in average global temperatures but also increasing the frequency with which extreme heating events occur. These extreme events may be pivotal in determining the ability of organisms to persist in their current habitats. Thus, it is important to understand how quickly an organism's heat tolerance c...
Article
Climate change is increasing the temperature variability animals face, and thermal acclimatization allows animals to adjust adaptively to this variability. While the rate of heat-acclimatization has received some study, little is known about how long these adaptive changes remain without continuing exposure to heat stress. This study explored the r...
Article
Hemocytes are immune cells in the hemolymph of invertebrates that play multiple roles in response to stressors; hemocyte mortality can thus serve as an indicator of overall animal health. However, previous research has often analyzed hemolymph samples pooled from several individuals, which precludes tracking individual responses to stressors over t...
Article
The cellular stress response (CSR) is critical for enabling organisms to cope with thermal damage to proteins, nucleic acids, and membranes. It is a graded response whose properties vary with the degree of cellular damage. Molecular damage has positive, as well as negative, function-perturbing effects. Positive effects include crucial regulatory in...
Article
Intertidal communities of wave-swept rocky shores have served as a powerful model system for experiments in ecology, and mussels (the dominant competitor for space in the mid-intertidal zone) play a central role in determining community structure in this physically stressful habitat. Consequently, the ability to account for mussels' physiological r...
Article
Comparative studies of orthologous proteins of species evolved at different temperatures have revealed consistent patterns of temperature-related variation in thermal stabilities of structure and function. However, the precise mechanisms by which interspecific variations in sequence foster these adaptive changes remain largely unknown. Here, we com...
Article
Orthologous proteins of species adapted to different temperatures exhibit differences in stability and function that are interpreted to reflect adaptive variation in structural "flexibility." However, quantifying flexibility and comparing flexibility across proteins has remained a challenge. To address this issue, we examined temperature effects on...
Article
The ability of animals to cope with environmental stress depends - in part - on past experience, yet knowledge of the factors influencing an individual's physiology in nature remains underdeveloped. We used an individual monitoring system to record body temperature and valve gaping behavior of rocky intertidal zone mussels (Mytilus californianus)....
Article
Full-text available
Cardiac function is thought to play a central role in determining thermal optima and tolerance limits in teleost fishes. Investigating proteomic responses to temperature in cardiac tissues may provide insights into mechanisms supporting the thermal plasticity of cardiac function. Here, we utilized a global proteomic analysis to investigate changes...
Article
![Figure][1] George Somero discusses Andy Cossins, James Friedlander and C. Ladd Prosser's classic paper, ‘Correlations between behavioral temperature adaptations of goldfish and the viscosity and fatty acid composition of their synaptic membranes’, published in The Journal of Comparative
Article
As global warming accelerates, there is increasing concern about how ecosystems may change as a result of species loss and replacement. Here, we examined the thermal physiology of the European green crab (Carcinus maenas Linnaeus 1758), a globally invasive species, along three parallel thermal gradients in its native and invasive ranges. At each si...
Article
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution during the late eighteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, there has been rapidly increasing release of greenhouse gases, notably CO2, into the atmosphere. As a consequence of this atmospheric change, the Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by approximately 0.6 °C over the last 100 y...
Article
Intertidal organisms are exposed to a suite of fluctuating environmental variables, but the relative influences of these variables on physiology have rarely been disentangled. We examined spatial and temporal variation in the enzymatic capacities for ATP generation (malate dehydrogenase [MDH] and citrate synthase [CS]) and for detoxification of rea...
Article
Notothenioid fishes of the Southern Ocean have evolved under cold and stable temperatures for millions of years. Due to rising temperatures in the Southern Ocean, investigating thermal limits and the capacities for inducing a temperature acclimation response in notothenioids has become of increasing interest. Here, we investigated effects of temper...
Article
Full-text available
An insufficient supply of oxygen under thermal stress is thought to define thermal optima and tolerance limits in teleost fish. When under thermal stress, cardiac function plays a crucial role in sustaining adequate oxygen supply for respiring tissues. Thus, adaptive phenotypic plasticity of cardiac performance may be critical for modifying thermal...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how complex organisms function as integrated units that constantly interact with their environment is a long-standing challenge in biology. To address this challenge, organismal biology reveals general organizing principles of physiological systems and behavior—in particular, in complex multicellular animals. Organismal biology also f...
Article
> George Somero discusses Scholander et al.'s classic paper ‘Adaptation to cold in Arctic and tropical mammals and birds in relation to body temperature, insulation and basal metabolic rate’, published in The Biological Bulletin in 1950. It is unusual to re-visit a paper a half-century after
Article
Coping with environmental stress may involve combinations of behavioral and physiological responses. We examined potential interactions between adult mussels' simple behavioral repertoire - opening/closing of the shell valves - and thermal stress physiology in common-gardened individuals of three Mytilus congeners found on the West Coast of North A...
Article
We investigated effects of acute heat- and cold stress on cell viability, lysosome membrane stability, double- and single-stranded DNA breakage, and signalling mechanisms involved in cellular homeostasis and apoptosis in hemocytes of native and invasive mussels, Mytilus californianus and M. galloprovincialis, respectively. Both heat stress (28ºC, 3...
Article
Full-text available
Temperature is a strong selective force on the evolution of proteins due to its effects on higher orders of protein structure and, thereby, on critical protein functions like ligand binding and catalysis. Comparisons among orthologous proteins from differently thermally adapted species show consistent patterns of adaptive variation in function, but...
Article
Full-text available
Global change includes alterations in ocean temperature, oxygen availability, salinity, and pH, abiotic variables with strong and interacting influences on the physiology of all taxa. Physiological stresses resulting from changes in these four variables may cause broad biogeographic shifts as well as localized changes in distribution in mosaic habi...
Article
The Mediterranean blue mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, is an invasive species that has displaced a congener, Mytilus trossulus, from its native range in central and southern California, USA. The dynamic relationship between interspecies competition and species-specific tolerances to abiotic factors, such as temperature and salinity, appears to h...
Article
Full-text available
The capacities of eurythermal ectotherms to withstand wide ranges of temperature are based, in part, on abilities to modulate gene expression as body temperature changes, notably genes encoding proteins of the cellular stress response. Here, using a complementary DNA microarray, we investigated the sequence in which cellular stress response-linked...
Article
Comparative physiology offers powerful approaches for developing causal, mechanistic explanations of shifts in biogeographic patterning occurring in concert with global change. These analyses can identify the cellular loci and intensities of stress-induced perturbation and generate predictions about ecosystem alterations in a changing world. Congen...
Article
The interactions among pyruvate concentration, the apparent Michaelis constant (Km) of pyruvate, and intracellular pH on the Q10 of the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) reaction of white skeletal muscle of the fish Gillichthys mirabilis were studied. Experimentally determined values for pyruvate concentration and Km of pyruvate (measured under both cons...
Article
The invasive marine mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis has displaced the native congener Mytilus trossulus from central and southern California, but the native species remains dominant at more northerly sites that have high levels of freshwater input. To determine the extent to which interspecific differences in physiological tolerance to low salinit...
Article
Invasive species are increasingly prevalent in marine ecosystems worldwide. Although many studies have examined the ecological effects of invasives, little is known about the physiological mechanisms that might contribute to invasive success. The mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, a native of the Mediterranean Sea, is a successful invader on the cen...
Article
Thermal acclimation (acclimatization) capacity may be critical for determining how successfully an ectotherm can respond to temperature change, and adaptive shifts in gene expression may be pivotal for mediating these acclimatory responses. Using a cDNA microarray, we examined transcriptional profiles in gill tissue of a highly eurythermal goby fis...
Article
Sharp environmental gradients encountered within the intertidal zone have driven the evolution of physiological adaptations that allow its inhabitants to maintain cellular function in the presence of fluctuating abiotic factors. These adaptations are mediated by gene-regulatory networks that, despite their inherent complexity, must remain evolvable...
Article
Physiological studies can help predict effects of climate change through determining which species currently live closest to their upper thermal tolerance limits, which physiological systems set these limits, and how species differ in acclimatization capacities for modifying their thermal tolerances. Reductionist studies at the molecular level can...
Article
The temperature stress that pelagic fishes experience can induce physiological and behavioural changes that leave a signature in gene expression profiles. We used a functional genomics approach to identify genes that were up- or down-regulated following thermal stress in the Pacific bluefin tuna. Following the acclimation period, 113, 81 and 196 ge...
Article
Cells respond to changes in osmolality with compensatory adaptations that re-establish ion homeostasis and repair disturbed aspects of cell structure and function. These physiologically complex processes can be separated into two functionally distinct cellular phases. The first phase operates to temporarily minimize cellular damage and stabilize cr...
Article
During their many millions of years of evolution in the extreme and stable cold, Antarctic notothenioid fishes have acquired profoundly cold-adapted physiologies. Gene expression profiling via cDNA microarray was used to determine the extent to which one species of notothenioid, Trematomus bernacchii, has retained the ability to alter gene expressi...
Article
Full-text available
We characterized functional and structural properties of cytoplasmic malate dehydrogenases (cMDHs) from six limpets of the genus Lottia that have different vertical and latitudinal distributions. Particular attention was given to the cryptic species pair Lottia digitalis (northern occurring) and L. austrodigitalis (southern occurring) because of re...
Article
Cells respond to changes in osmolality with compensatory adaptations that re-establish ion homeostasis and repair disturbed aspects of cell structure and function. These physiological processes are highly complex, and require the coordinated activities of osmosensing, signal transducing and effector molecules. Although the critical role of effector...
Article
Full-text available
Limpets of the genus Lottia occupy a broad vertical distribution on wave-exposed rocky shores, a range that encompasses gradients in the frequency and severity of thermal and desiccation stress brought on by aerial emersion. Using western blot analysis of levels of heat-shock protein 70 (Hsp70), we examined the heat-shock responses of four Lottia c...
Article
The physiological strategies that enable organisms to thrive in habitats where environmental factors vary dramatically on a daily basis are poorly understood. One of the most variable and unpredictable habitats on earth is the marine rocky intertidal zone located at the boundary between the terrestrial and marine environments. Mussels dominate rock...
Article
Full-text available
A cause and effect understanding of thermal limitation and adaptation at various levels of biological organization is crucial in the elaboration of how the Antarctic climate has shaped the functional properties of extant Antarctic fauna. At the same time, this understanding requires an integrative view of how the various levels of biological organi...
Article
Full-text available
The annual killifish Austrofundulus limnaeus survives in ephemeral pond habitats by producing drought-tolerant diapausing embryos. These embryos probably experience oxygen deprivation as part of their normal developmental environment. We assessed the anoxia tolerance of A. limnaeus embryos across the duration of embryonic development. Embryos devel...
Article
Fishes of the perciform suborder Notothenioidei afford an excellent opportunity for studying the evolution and functional importance of diverse types of biochemical adaptation to temperature. Antarctic notothenioids have evolved numerous biochemical adaptations to stably cold waters, including antifreeze glycoproteins, which inhibit growth of ice c...
Article
Full-text available
The annual killifish Austrofundulus limnaeus inhabits ephemeral ponds in regions of northern South America, where they survive the periodic drying of their habitat as diapausing embryos. These diapausing embryos are highly resistant to a number of environmental insults such as high temperature, dehydration, anoxia, and increased salinity. Molecular...
Article
Full-text available
Significant increases in heat tolerance (time of survival at 14°C) were observed for some, but not all, species of notothenioid fishes collected from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica (77°51′S) following acclimation to 4°C. The increase in thermal tolerance was rapid in Trematomus bernacchii, developing within 1–2days of acclimation to 4°C. Long-term (6–8w...
Article
The cellular response to stress relies on the rapid induction of genes encoding proteins involved in preventing and repairing macromolecular damage incurred as a consequence of environmental insult. To increase our understanding of the scope of this response, a cDNA microarray, consisting of 9207 cDNA clones, was used to monitor gene expression cha...
Article
The three species of blue mussels, Mytilus trossulus Gould 1850, M. edulis Linnaeus 1758 and M. galloprovincialis Lamarck 1819, have distinct global distribution patterns that are hypothesized to reflect differences in their tolerances of temperature and salinity. We examined effects on heart rate (beats min–1) of acute exposure and acclimation to...
Article
Full-text available
Marine communities are experiencing unprecedented rates of species homogenization due to the increasing success of invasive species, but little is known about the mechanisms that allow a species to invade and persist in a new habitat. In central California, native (Mytilus trossulus Gould 1850) and invasive (Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck 1819)...
Article
Full-text available
The blue mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, a native of the Mediterranean Sea, has invaded the west coast of North America in the past century, displacing the native blue mussel, Mytilus trossulus, from most of its former habitats in central and southern California. The invasive success of M. galloprovincialis is conjectured to be due, in part, to p...
Article
Aim It is often assumed that species reach their highest densities in the centre of their ranges and decline in abundance toward the edges of the range. Implicit in this notion, which we call the abundant centre hypothesis, is the assumption that the edges of the range are more stressful to organisms and are more likely to show responses to climate...
Article
Full-text available
We analyzed the thermal limits of heart function for congeneric species of the marine snail Tegula that have different patterns of vertical zonation. T. funebralis is found in the low to mid-intertidal zone, and T. brunnea and T. montereyi live in the low-intertidal or subtidally. As indices of thermal limits of heart function, we used the temperat...
Article
Peter Hochachka was one of the most creative forces in the field of comparative physiology during the past half-century. His career was truly an exploratory adventure, in both intellectual and geographic senses. His broad comparative studies of metabolism in organisms as diverse as trout, tunas, oysters, squid, turtles, locusts, hummingbirds, seals...
Article
Full-text available
Temperature-adaptive physiological variation plays important roles in latitudinal biogeographic patterning and in setting vertical distributions along subtidal-to-intertidal gradients in coastal marine ecosystems. Comparisons of congeneric marine invertebrates reveal that the most warm-adapted species may live closer to their thermal tolerance limi...
Article
The pervasive influence of temperature on biological systems necessitates a suite of temperature--compensatory adaptations that span all levels of biological organization--from behavior to fine-scale molecular structure. Beginning about 50 years ago, physiological studies conducted with whole organisms or isolated tissues, by such pioneers of compa...
Article
Full-text available
Eurythermal ectotherms commonly thrive in environments that expose them to large variations in temperature on daily and seasonal bases. The roles played by alterations in gene expression in enabling eurytherms to adjust to these two temporally distinct patterns of thermal stress are poorly understood. We used cDNA microarray analysis to examine cha...
Article
We have compared the kinetic properties (Michaelis-Menten constant [K m] and catalytic rate constant [kcat]) and amino acid sequences of orthologs of lactate dehydrogenase-A (A4-LDH) from congeners of Pacific damselfishes (genus Chromis) native to cold-temperate and tropical habitats to elucidate mechanisms of enzymatic adaptation to temperature. S...
Article
Submitted to the Department of Biological Sciences. Copyright by the author. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Stanford University, 2004.
Article
Retention of required structural and functional properties of proteins in species adapted to different temperatures and pressures is achieved through variation in amino acid sequence and accumulation of small organic solutes that stabilize protein traits. Conservation of ligand binding and catalytic rate can be achieved by minor differences in sequ...
Article
The ability to heal superficial wounds is an important element in an organism's repertoire of adaptive responses to environmental stress. In fish, motile cells termed keratocytes are thought to play important roles in the wound-healing process. Keratocyte motility, like other physiological rate processes, is likely to be dependent on temperature an...
Article
Full-text available
Although pairs of species often interact over broad geographic ranges, few studies have explored how interactions vary across these large spatial scales. Surveys along 1500 kilometers of the Pacific coast of North America documented marked variation in the frequency of predation by the snail Nucella canaliculata on the intertidal mussel Mytilus cal...
Data
On or before Apr 5, 2016 this sequence version replaced gi:29470100, gi:29470101, gi:29470099.
Data
On or before Apr 5, 2016 this sequence version replaced gi:29470130, gi:29470131, gi:29470129.
Data
On or before Apr 5, 2016 this sequence version replaced gi:29470060, gi:29470061, gi:29470059.
Data
On or before Apr 5, 2016 this sequence version replaced gi:29470070, gi:29470071, gi:29470069.
Data
On or before Apr 5, 2016 this sequence version replaced gi:29470000, gi:29470001, gi:29469999.
Data
On or before Apr 5, 2016 this sequence version replaced gi:29470140, gi:29470141, gi:29470139.
Data
On or before Apr 5, 2016 this sequence version replaced gi:29470075, gi:29470076, gi:29470074.
Data
On or before Apr 5, 2016 this sequence version replaced gi:29470035, gi:29470036, gi:29470034.