Monday, December 5, 2011
Fish Can Be Bred To Cope With Warmer Seas
Some tropical fish may be able to cope with rising sea temperatures better than previously thought, Australian scientists have discovered.
The finding that some fish can adjust to warmer sea temperatures over several generations comes amid rising concern about the future of coal reefs due to global warming.
Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University and CSIRO were seeking to discover how fish would cope with the elevated sea temperatures expected by 2050 and 2100.
Lead researcher Jennifer Donelson said when damsel fish were exposed to water temperatures 1.5 degrees and three degrees above normal, there was an expected decline in their aerobic capacity.
"This affects their ability to swim fast and avoid predators," she said.
But when the fish were bred for several generations at higher temperatures, the second generation offspring had almost completely adjusted.
"We were amazed, stunned even," Ms Donelson said.
"It shows that some species can adjust faster than the rate of climate change."