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Some fish may be able to overcome increased ocean temperatures

By Shane Graber - Posted Dec 05, 2011 08:00 AM
Research published this week has found that some fish may be able to overcome the predicted increases in ocean temperatures if multiple generations are raised at these elevated water temperatures.
Some fish may be able to overcome increased ocean temperatures

Chromis viridis damselfish. Photo by Andreas März / Flickr.

The paper "Rapid transgenerational acclimation of a tropical reef fish to climate change" published in the journal Nature Climate Change yesterday brings to light an interesting finding: our current estimate of tropical fish susceptibility to increased ocean temperatures may be underestimating the ability of these fish to cope with and thrive in warmer ocean waters.

Donelson, Munday, McCormick, and Pitcher (the authors of the paper) found that over the course of as little as two generations that damselfish could cope with the predicted temperature increases so long as multiple generations were reared in these warmer waters:

Here, we demonstrate that a tropical reef fish is highly sensitive to small increases in water temperature, but can rapidly acclimate over multiple generations. Acute exposure to elevated temperatures (+1.5 °C and +3.0 °C) predicted to occur this century caused a 15% and 30% respective decrease in individual’s maximum ability to perform aerobic activities such as swimming or foraging, known as aerobic scope. However, complete compensation in aerobic scope occurred when both parents and offspring were reared throughout their lives at elevated temperature.

This is definitely good news!

(via Nature Climate Change)

Author: Shane Graber
Location: Indiana

Shane has kept saltwater tanks for the last 12 years, is a research scientist, lives in northern Indiana, and is a proud Advanced Aquarist staffer.


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