Thermal bottlenecks in the life cycle define climate vulnerability of fish


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berenike.bick [ at ] hifmb.de

Abstract

Species’ vulnerability to climate change depends on the most temperature-sensitive life stages, but for major animal groups such as fish, life cycle bottlenecks are often not clearly defined. We used observational, experimental, and phylogenetic data to assess stage-specific thermal tolerance metrics for 694 marine and freshwater fish species from all climate zones. Our analysis shows that spawning adults and embryos consistently have narrower tolerance ranges than larvae and nonreproductive adults and are most vulnerable to climate warming. The sequence of stage-specific thermal tolerance corresponds with the oxygen-limitation hypothesis, suggesting a mechanistic link between ontogenetic changes in cardiorespiratory (aerobic) capacity and tolerance to temperature extremes. A logarithmic inverse correlation between the temperature dependence of physiological rates (development and oxygen consumption) and thermal tolerance range is proposed to reflect a fundamental, energetic trade-off in thermal adaptation. Scenario-based climate projections considering the most critical life stages (spawners and embryos) clearly identify the temperature requirements for reproduction as a critical bottleneck in the life cycle of fish. By 2100, depending on the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) scenario followed, the percentages of species potentially affected by water temperatures exceeding their tolerance limit for reproduction range from ~10% (SSP 1–1.9) to ~60% (SSP 5–8.5). Efforts to meet ambitious climate targets (SSP 1–1.9) could therefore benefit many fish species and people who depend on healthy fish stocks.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
52840
DOI 10.1126/science.aaz3658

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Dahlke, F. T. , Wohlrab, S. , Butzin, M. and Pörtner, H. O. (2020): Thermal bottlenecks in the life cycle define climate vulnerability of fish , Science, 369 (6499), pp. 65-70 . doi: 10.1126/science.aaz3658


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