Rising water temperatures could endanger the mating of many fish species

Read the full story from the Alfred Wegener Institute.

In a new meta-study, experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have published ground-breaking findings on the effects of climate change for fish stock around the globe. As they report, the risks for fish are much higher than previously assumed, especially given the fact that in certain developmental stages they are especially sensitive to rising water temperatures. One critical bottleneck in the lifecycle of fish is their low tolerance for heat during mating. In other words, the water temperature in their spawning areas determines to a great extent how successfully they reproduce, making fish particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – not only in the ocean, but also in lakes, ponds and rivers. According to the researchers’ analyses, if left unchecked, climate change and rising water temperatures will negatively affect the reproduction of up to 60 percent of all fish species. Their study was released today in the latest issue of the journalĀ Science.

Associated journal article: Dahlke, FT et al (2020). “Thermal bottlenecks in the life cycle define climate vulnerability of fish.” Science 369(6499) : 65-70. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz3658

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