Paper in JEB

The paper: “Cold-induced depolarization of insect muscle: Differing roles of extracellular K+during acute and chronic chilling” has now been published in The Journal of Experimental Biology (link). In this manuscript, we collaborated with Thomas Pedersen and used the migratory locust as a model to examine whether depolarization of resting membrane potential (which is thought to cause insect chill coma) can be attributed to a loss of K+ balance, and how recovery of K+ balance following cold exposure might permit recovery from chill coma. Our findings suggest that chill coma onset and chill coma recovery are mechanistically independent, which explains why these traits often do not correlate within and among insect species. A good example of this lack of correlation (among species of the genus Drosophila) can be found in our recent Functional Ecology paper described below. This is an important finding, because it implies that focusing on one of these two traits might lead to molecular targets of cold tolerance selection that are only half of the story!