Warm Waters Make Reef Fish Lazy

Written by on December 3, 2013 in Coral Reefs, Marine Life
Coral Trout, Plectropomus leopardus, is a commercially important species in Australia.

Coral Trout, Plectropomus leopardus, is a commercially important species in Australia. Photo credit: Boogies with Fish via photopin cc.

Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University found that global warming may reduce the swimming ability of many reef fish species.

The research shows that increasing water temperatures may cause large fish to become lethargic, resting on the sea bottom instead of swimming around. Even when they do start swimming, they do so at a much slower rate.

Fish need to swim to accomplish just about every activity, from feeding to mating. If their swimming abilities are reduced, the researchers note that it will have major impacts on their ability to grow and reproduce.

“The loss of swimming performance and reduced ability to maintain important activities, like moving to a spawning site to reproduce, could have major implications for the future distribution and abundance of these species,” said researcher Dr. Jacob Johansen in a news release.

The research team is now looking into the ability of these fish to adapt to the rapid changes cause by global warming.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. 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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