Functional responses of North Atlantic fish eggs to increasing temperature

Stavroula Tsoukali, Andre Visser, Brian MacKenzie

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Temperature increase associated with global climate change can be expected to
directly influence the spawning success of fish species, with implications for abundance and distribution. We conducted a meta-analysis to investigate and compare responses of development time, cumulative degree-days and survival of fish eggs from 32 populations of 17 species in the North Atlantic to different temperatures in order to determine potential consequences of global
warming for these species. The response of development time exhibited a similar decreasing trend with respect to temperature across species. The similar slopes of regression lines relating lntransformed development time and temperature indicate similar sensitivity to temperature changes. Across-species differences were mainly driven by intercept values, indicating up to 8-
fold differences in development time at given temperature. There was an overall decrease, across species, in an index of thermal requirement (cumulative degree-days) for egg development with increasing temperature. Within an empirically derived optimal thermal range for egg survival, the thermal requirement was more variable in species adapted to cold waters compared to species adapted to warmer waters. Moreover, the sensitivity of survival of eggs from different species to increases in temperature differed, reflecting a pattern of sensitivity along a stenotherm-eurytherm gradient of vulnerability to temperature among species. The results quantify physiological effects of temperature on the eggs, and we propose that such effects are major factors leading to a close correspondence between the physiological optimal temperature for survival and observed temperature at spawning sites. Temperature during egg development appears to be a key evolutionary
force affecting spawning time and location
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Pages (from-to)151-165
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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