Fish living near the equator will not thrive in the warmer oceans of the future

Chromis fish swim amongst coral in the Indo-Pacific, along with a Pomacentrus moluccensis (the lemon damsel). These fish are important food sources for larger coral reef fish.

According to an international team of researchers, the rapid pace of climate change is threatening the future presence of fish near the equator.

“Our studies found that one species of fish could not even survive in water just three degrees Celsius warmer than what it lives in now,” says the lead author of the study, Dr Jodie Rummer from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University.

Dr Rummer and her colleagues studied six common species of fish living on coral reefs near the equator. She says many species in this region only experience a very narrow range of temperatures over their entire lives, and so are likely adapted to perform best at those temperatures.

This means climate change places equatorial marine species most at risk, as oceans are projected to warm by two to three degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

“Such an increase in warming leads to a loss of performance,” Dr Rummer explains. “Already, we found four species of fish are living at or above the temperatures at which they function best.”

The team measured the rates at which fish use oxygen, the fuel for metabolism, across different temperatures — at rest and during maximal performance. According to the results, at warmer temperatures fish lose scope for performance. In the wild, this would limit activities crucial to survival, such as evading predators, finding food, and generating sufficient energy to breed.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

One response to “Fish living near the equator will not thrive in the warmer oceans of the future”

  1. ABDOULIE.S.BALDEH says :

    Great job,Ms. Harrington!

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