Climate change effects on fishes and fisheries: towards a cause-and-effect understanding

Journal of Fish Biology
H O Pörtner, M A Peck


Ongoing climate change is predicted to affect individual organisms during all life stages, thereby affecting populations of a species, communities and the functioning of ecosystems. These effects of climate change can be direct, through changing water temperatures and associated phenologies, the lengths and frequency of hypoxia events, through ongoing ocean acidification trends or through shifts in hydrodynamics and in sea level. In some cases, climate interactions with a species will also, or mostly, be indirect and mediated through direct effects on key prey species which change the composition and dynamic coupling of food webs. Thus, the implications of climate change for marine fish populations can be seen to result from phenomena at four interlinked levels of biological organization: (1) organismal-level physiological changes will occur in response to changing environmental variables such as temperature, dissolved oxygen and ocean carbon dioxide levels. An integrated view of relevant effects, adaptation processes and tolerance limits is provided by the concept of oxygen and capacity-limited thermal tolerance (OCLT). (2) Individual-level behavioural changes may occur such as the avoidance of unfavourable conditions and, if ...Continue Reading


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