Can animals tune tissue mechanics in response to changing environments caused by anthropogenic impacts?

Rob S. James, Frank Seebacher, Jason Tallis

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Anthropogenic climate change and pollution are impacting environments across the globe. This Review summarises the potential impact of such anthropogenic effects on animal tissue mechanics, given the consequences for animal locomotor performance and behaviour. More specifically, in light of current literature, this Review focuses on evaluating the acute and chronic effects of temperature on the mechanical function of muscle tissues. For ectotherms, maximal muscle performance typically occurs at temperatures approximating the natural environment of the species. However, species vary in their ability to acclimate to chronic changes in temperature, which is likely to have longer-term effects on species range. Some species undergo periods of dormancy to avoid extreme temperature or drought. Whilst the skeletal muscle of such species generally appears to be adapted to minimise muscle atrophy and maintain performance for emergence from dormancy, the increased occurrence of extreme climatic conditions may reduce the survival of individuals in such environments. This Review also considers the likely impact of anthropogenic pollutants, such as hormones and heavy metals, on animal tissue mechanics, noting the relative paucity of literature directly investigating this key area. Future work needs to determine the direct effects of anthropogenic environmental changes on animal tissues and related changes in locomotor performance and behaviour, including accounting for currently unknown interactions between environmental factors, e.g. temperature and pollutants.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberjeb245109
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
    Issue number1
    Early online date13 Feb 2023
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2023


    • Climate
    • Force
    • Muscle
    • Pollution
    • Power
    • Temperature


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