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Post-diapause gemmules of the freshwater sponge Eunapius fragilis remained quiescent when maintained at 5°C. Germination occurred within 48 to 72 h following warming to 20°-23°C, culminating with the emergence of a new sponge from the collagenous capsule. Both heat dissipation and oxygen consumption climbed steadily during germination and eventually reached 600% of the starting values. By comparison, energy flow was much lower over the same period of time in diapausing gemmules, clearly demonstrating metabolic depression during diapause. The calorimetric:respirometric (CR) ratio increased significantly from -354 kJ/mol O2 to -541 kJ/mol O2 between hours 3.5 and 56.5 of germination, with an average value across this period of about -495 kJ/mol O2. The low CR ratio at hour 12.5 (-374 ± 21; ± 1 SE, n = 3) was statistically below the oxycaloric equivalent, which suggests that gemmules may have experienced hypoxia during the more than 3 months of storage at 5°C prior to experiments. The increase in metabolism during germination could be blocked by perfusing the gemmules with nitrogen- saturated medium (nominally oxygen free). Developing gemmules were able to survive oxygen limitation for several hours at least; during that time energy flow was depressed to 6% of normoxic values. During germination, the range of values was 3.5 to 4.0 nmol/mg protein for ATP, 0.2 to 0.4 nmol/mg protein for ADP, and 0.5 to 0.8 nmol/mg protein for AMP. Because ATP was high even before gemmules were warmed to room temperature, it is unlikely that levels were severely compromised during the diapause condition.

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Biological Bulletin

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