Q:

What adaptations have brine shrimp made?

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Quick Answer

According to the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program, some adaptations of brine shrimp include specialized skin, neck glands and three types of hemoglobin. These adaptations allow brine shrimp to survive in an extremely salty environment.

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Full Answer

One adaptation of brine shrimp that allows them to survive in a saline environment is specialized skin. The outer layers of their bodies are completely impervious to water, but the skin that lines the stomach absorbs it. The gills then pump salt out of the body, which occurs in all saltwater fish. Brine shrimp, however, have an extra salt pump located as a gland in their necks. This gland is necessary for the survival of brine shrimp living in the extremely salty water of the Great Salt Lake. It's especially critical for the more vulnerable, young brine shrimp with underdeveloped systems to live.

Another adaptation of brine shrimp is its three types of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is important because it is a protein that binds oxygen to blood in order for oxygen to be transported throughout the body. Humans have one type. Brine shrimp, however, have three types in order to keep them alive in an environment with low oxygen levels. The higher the salinity levels are, the more hemoglobin are produced.

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