An aerobic scope-based habitat suitability index for predicting the effects of multi-dimensional climate change stressors on marine teleosts

Climate change will expose many marine ecosystems to temperature, oxygen and CO2 conditions that have not been experienced for millennia. Predicting the impact of these changes on marine fishes is difficult due to the complexity of these disparate stressors and the inherent non-linearity of physiological systems. Aerobic scope (the difference between maximum and minimum aerobic metabolic rates) is a coherent, unifying physiological framework that can be used to examine all of the major environmental changes expected to occur in the oceans during this century. Using this framework, we develop a physiology-based habitat suitability model to forecast the response of marine fishes to simultaneous ocean acidification, warming and deoxygenation, including interactions between all three stressors. We present an example of the model parameterized for Thunnus albacares (yellowfin tuna), an important fisheries species that is likely to be affected by climate change. We anticipate that if embedded into multispecies ecosystem models, our model could help to more precisely forecast climate change impacts on the distribution and abundance of other high value species. Finally, we show how our model may indicate the potential for, and limits of, adaptation to chronic stressors.

Del Raye G. & Weng K. C., 2015. An aerobic scope-based habitat suitability index for predicting the effects of multi-dimensional climate change stressors on marine teleosts. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 113:280–290. Article (subscription required).


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