Impact of Ocean Warming and Acidification on Marine Fish Production

Ocean warming and ocean acidification negatively impacts all marine life by limiting growth and survival. Global sea surface temperatures have risen by 0.7°C from the end of the 19th century and are predicted to rise to 3.1°C by 2100. The pH of the ocean varies with sea temperature as they are dependent on the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The ocean has become 30% more acidic since preindustrial time and is predicted to increase in acidity with increased greenhouse gas emissions.

The impact for marine fish is that warmer sea water carries less oxygen and warmer water expands the low-oxygen zones in coastal areas. Acidic ocean environments hinder fish because it limits their ability to calcify bones (e.g. jaws) during development and it also raises the metabolic cost of life and thus the amount of gases that need to be transported across the gills. Unfortunately, we have limited knowledge on the effect of warm acidic conditions on valued fish species. Consequently, there is a need to investigate the synergistic impact of ocean warming and acidification on marine fish development and estimate the ecological and economical costs on wild fish populations (fisheries) and marine fish farming (aquaculture).

The objective of this program is to bring together early and mid-career researchers focused on the early development of marine fish with a particular focus on gill health and function in response to climate change due to their critical role in gas and ion exchange. The project will host a three day symposium on this topic with thematic representation from the fields of marine biology, environmental chemistry, ecophysiology, aquaculture and fisheries. The symposium will create teams of experts to co-author reviews to be submitted as a package to an open access international peer review journal (such as Frontiers). The on-going outcome is to create an open environment to support an international and interdisciplinary comparative research and training program.

Dr Joy Becker - The University of Sydney

Professor Mark Powell - University of Bergen

Dr Neill Herbert - The University of Auckland

Responding to Climate Change