Jason E. Podrabsky1,* and Steven C. Hand2,*
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1Department of Biology, Portland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, Division of Cellular, Integrative and Comparative Biology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
Received November 3, 2014.
Accepted December 22, 2014.
Diapause is a programmed state of developmental arrest that typically occurs as part of the natural developmental progression of organisms that inhabit seasonal environments. The brine shrimp Artemia franciscana and annual killifish Austrofundulus limnaeus share strikingly similar life histories that include embryonic diapause as a means to synchronize the growth and reproduction phases of their life history to favorable environmental conditions. In both species, respiration rate is severely depressed during diapause and thus alterations in mitochondrial physiology are a key component of the suite of characters associated with cessation of development. Here, we use these two species to illustrate the basic principles of metabolic depression at the physiological and biochemical levels. It is clear that these two species use divergent molecular mechanisms to achieve the same physiological and ecological outcomes. This pattern of convergent physiological strategies supports the importance of biochemical and physiological adaptations to cope with extreme environmental stress and suggests that inferring mechanism from transcriptomics or proteomics or metabolomics alone, without rigorous follow-up at the biochemical and physiological levels, could lead to erroneous conclusions.