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Global Warming Intoxicates Fish

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Warming Ocean May Bring Major Changes for U.S. Northeast Fishery Species

NOAA Fisheries Service Releases First Regional Climate Vulnerability Assessment

February 4, 2016

NOAA scientists released the first multispecies assessment of just how vulnerable U.S. marine fish and invertebrate species are to the effects of climate change. The study examined 82 species that occur off the Northeastern U.S., where ocean warming is occurring rapidly. Researchers found that most species evaluated will be affected, some species are highly vulnerable to changes in abundance and/or distribution, and that some are likely to be more resilient to changing ocean conditions than others.

The study appears in PLOS ONE, an online scholarly science journal…. “Our method identifies specific attributes that influence marine fish and invertebrate resilience to the effects of a warming ocean and characterizes risks posed to individual species,” said Jon Hare, a fisheries oceanographer at NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and lead author of the study. “This work will help us better account for the effects of warming waters on our fishery species in stock assessments and when developing fishery management measures.”

The study is formally known as the Northeast Climate Vulnerability Assessment and is the first in a series of similar evaluations planned for fishery species in other U.S. regions. Conducting climate change vulnerability assessments of U.S. fisheries is a priority action in the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy.  Similar assessments are now underway for the Bering Sea and California Current Ecosystems.

The 82 Northeast species evaluated include all commercially managed marine fish and invertebrate species in the Northeast, a large number of recreational marine fish species, all marine fish species listed or under consideration for listing on the federal Endangered Species Act, and a range of ecologically important marine species…..

 


School of Jacks. Credit: © ead72 / Fotolia

Rising carbon dioxide emissions pose ‘intoxication’ threat to world’s ocean fish

Posted: 20 Jan 2016 11:15 AM PST

Researchers have found that carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater could reach levels high enough to make fish ‘intoxicated’ and disoriented many decades earlier than previously thought, with serious implications for the world’s fisheries. UNSW Australia researchers have found that carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater could reach levels high enough to make fish “intoxicated” and disoriented many decades earlier than previously thought, with serious implications for the world’s fisheries. The UNSW study, published in the journal Nature, is the first global analysis of the impact of rising carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels on natural variations in carbon dioxide concentrations in the world’s oceans.

Our results were staggering and have massive implications for global fisheries and marine ecosystems across the planet,” says lead author, Dr Ben McNeil, of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre. “High concentrations of carbon dioxide cause fish to become intoxicated — a phenomenon known as hypercapnia. Essentially, the fish become lost at sea. The carbon dioxide affects their brains and they lose their sense of direction and ability to find their way home. They don’t even know where their predators are.

We’ve shown that if atmospheric carbon dioxide pollution continues to rise, fish and other marine creatures in CO2 hotpots in the Southern, Pacific and North Atlantic oceans will experience episodes of hypercapnia by the middle of this century — much sooner than had been predicted, and with more damaging effects than thought.

“By 2100, creatures in up to half the world’s surface oceans are expected to be affected by hypercapnia.”…

 

Ben I. McNeil, Tristan P. Sasse. Future ocean hypercapnia driven by anthropogenic amplification of the natural CO2 cycle. Nature, 2016; 529 (7586): 383 DOI: 10.1038/nature16156

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