Reef fish sink or swim in climate change waters

Reef fish sink or swim in climate change waters
Tropical fish. Credit: Nikita, Flickr

Climate change could cause local extinctions of chocolate dipped damselfish that are highly specialised to the conditions on their home reef.

"Climate change is seriously affecting the ," explains Dr Chris Fulton of The Research School of Biology who undertook the research on the Great Barrier Reef.

"For instance, we know that wave energy is a powerful force in shaping patterns of biodiversity in the ocean, and with changes in the number of storms and cyclones we are likely to see major changes in the wave energy impacting places like the Great Barrier Reef."

The team studied the chocolate dipped damselfish, one of the few species that occupies the full breadth and length of the Great Barrier Reef across a wide range of wave environments.

"We found this damselfish species has highly specialised and swimming abilities that are fine-tuned to their home reef. On reefs that experience high wave energy these fish have wing-shaped fins that allow them to swim fast through the crashing waves.

"However, on reefs that experience lower only a few kilometres away, fish of the exact same species have totally different fin shapes and slower swimming abilities to match their calm home waters."

Being locally adapted to a certain set of wave conditions could be bad news for the fish if wave climates change.

"If the amount of wave action changes and fish can't keep up with this, they either have to move to another reef or die."

Dr Fulton fears the damselfish may not be able to re-adapt fast enough to meet the challenges of rapid climate change.

"We don't yet know how long it takes for these fish to become adapted to their local reef, but we think these fine-tuned swimming abilities may take a while to accumulate in fish – perhaps several generations and therefore, many years to decades.

"Understanding how these damselfish may be affected gives us an insight into how will affect other specialised ."

This research was published in the journal Coral Reefs and is available online at bit.ly/damselfish


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Journal information: Coral Reefs

Citation: Reef fish sink or swim in climate change waters (2013, July 11) retrieved 15 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-reef-fish-climate.html
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Jul 11, 2013
Climate change science has done to physics what abusive priests did for religion.

Jul 11, 2013
Climate change science has done to physics what abusive priests did for religion.


Only in your opinion (which nobody asked for).

Jul 12, 2013
Oh noooo!!
The damsel in distress.
Now that's some creative propaganda from the AGW Alarmist machinery.
If I may add another if to the list of ifs from AGW cult.
Imagine if we did not waste billions on the AGW CO2 lie and instead invested it in curing disease and alleviating poverty.

Jul 14, 2013
"Being locally adapted to a certain set of wave conditions could be bad news for the fish if wave climates change."

Adapt or die. That's nature is it not?
Big black and white bears that only eat bamboo shoots or little bears that only eat eucalpytus leaves are always at risk to any change.
Rats, coyotes, cockroaches and thousands of other flora and fauna do find some way to adapt.

Jul 14, 2013
"Climate change science has done to physics" - youyouyouTard

While climate change is based on physics, so is the treatment of gum disease. And both are equally separated.

The Tardieboy attacks physics rather than the treatment of gum disease because he is ignorant about what modern physics is all about.

Self Imposed ignorance is the alpha and the omega to Conservatives.

Jul 14, 2013
"Oh noooo!!
The damsel in distress." - Anti-Gore-Tard

Tardieboy thinks he is going to get lucky with this fish. It is as close as he has ever come to a woman if you exclude his mom and his cousin.

Jul 14, 2013
"Adapt or die. That's nature is it not?" - RyggTard

Can you dodge bullets?

Adapt or die tardieboy.. Adapt your neck for the noose that is heading your way.

Jul 15, 2013
"Oh noooo!!
The damsel in distress." - Anti-Gore-Tard

Tardieboy thinks he is going to get lucky with this fish. It is as close as he has ever come to a woman if you exclude his mom and his cousin.

Hmmm... so good to see that the AGW Alarmist Cult is not running low on stupid.

Jul 16, 2013
AO shows all the clinical signs of insanity, while me_me_mine justifies his alias..

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