Correlated effects of ocean acidification and warming on behavioral and metabolic traits of a large pelagic fish

Ocean acidification and warming are co-occurring stressors, yet their effects on early life stages of large pelagic fishes are not well known. Here, we determined the effects of elevated CO2 and temperature at levels projected for the end of the century on activity levels, boldness, and metabolic traits (i.e., oxygen uptake rates) in larval kingfish (Seriola lalandi), a large pelagic fish with a circumglobal distribution. We also examined correlations between these behavioral and physiological traits measured under different treatments. Kingfish were reared from the egg stage to 25 days post-hatch in a full factorial design of ambient and elevated CO2 (~500 µatm and ~1000 µatm) and temperature (21 °C and 25 °C). Activity levels were higher in fish from the elevated temperature treatment compared with fish reared under ambient temperature. However, elevated CO2 did not affect activity, and boldness was not affected by either elevated CO2 or temperature. Both elevated CO2 and temperature resulted in increased resting oxygen uptake rates compared to fish reared under ambient conditions, but neither affected maximum oxygen uptake rates nor aerobic scope. Resting oxygen uptake rates and boldness were negatively correlated under ambient temperature, but positively correlated under elevated temperature. Maximum oxygen uptake rates and boldness were also negatively correlated under ambient temperature. These findings suggest that elevated temperature has a greater impact on behavioral and physiological traits of larval kingfish than elevated CO2. However, elevated CO2 exposure did increase resting oxygen uptake rates and interact with temperature in complex ways. Our results provide novel behavioral and physiological data on the responses of the larval stage of a large pelagic fish to ocean acidification and warming conditions, demonstrate correlations between these traits, and suggest that these correlations could influence the direction and pace of adaptation to global climate change.

Laubenstein T. D., Rummer J. L., Nicol S., Parsons D. M., Pether S. M. J., Pope S., Smith N. & Munday P. L., 2018. Correlated effects of ocean acidification and warming on behavioral and metabolic traits of a large pelagic fish. Diversity 10(2): 35. doi:10.3390/d10020035. Article.

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