New research shows that in order to deal with warming ocean temperatures, some reef fish are relocating to cooler waters.
“When fish have to deal with increased temperature, there are physical consequences. They need more energy to cope, and they may not be able to handle stress or reproduce or even grow,” marine scientist Jacob Johansen of The University of Texas at Austin explained in a news release.
Over a 27-week period, researchers subjected damselfish (Chromis viridis), a common reef fish, to temperatures about 2-4 degrees Celsius above their normal summer temperatures. The fish that were acclimated to the highest temperatures lost 30% of their body weight and some of them died.
“But we found that, when given the slightest chance, fish can seek out temperatures that they’ve evolved to be in over thousands of years, to mitigate the impact of increasing temperatures and not sacrifice critical physiological processes,” said lead author Adam Habary of the University of Copenhagen.
“Our study provides a mechanistic explanation for why fish may move, and a way of testing it,” Johansen said.
To learn more:
- Read the news release: Clever Fish Keep Cool
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