Fish Growing Up In Warmer Waters May Have Benefits

Written by on August 18, 2012 in Marine Life

New research by Graham Scott, biologist at McMaster University, and Ian Johnston from the University of St. Andrews, suggests that growing up at warm temperatures can actually help some aquatic animals cope with climate change.

The researchers found that zebrafish embryos raised at warmer temperatures had a better ability to adjust to higher and lower temperatures as adults, showing that warmer water may make fish more adaptable.

Zebrafish in an aquarium. photo credit: <a href="">阿鶴</a> via <a href="">photo pin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Zebrafish in an aquarium. photo credit: 阿鶴 via photo pin cc

“What limits are there to their coping abilities? That’s what we’re really trying to understand,” says Scott. For example, how high can the temperature be raised before the advantage becomes a disadvantage? “If we want to appreciate how the natural world is affected by climate change, that’s what we need to know.”

Zebrafish were used in this study because they experience a wide range of water temperatures (40 C to almost 0) throughout their lifetimes.

You can read the full press release here: Warmer, faster, stronger: research reveals unexpected benefits of living in a changing climate.

You can read the research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences here: Temperature during embryonic development has persistent effects on thermal acclimation capacity in zebrafish.

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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