In the future, marine fishes are likely to get squeezed by
warming, stratification, deoxygenation at depth, and acidification.
Some species may be pre-adapted to habitats that will likely expand in
the future, while others may experience a contraction of suitable
habitat. We compare the behavior of high trophic level species that
have contrasting adaptations to hypoxia, and look at adaptations to
their respective habitats. The tunas are 'energy speculators' that
require high oxygen environments and have a range of adaptations to high
metabolic rate. In contrast, species inhabiting the oxygen minimum
layers, such as the bluntnose sixgill shark, have adaptations to energy
conservation and low metabolic rate. Future ocean conditions may favor
energy conserving adaptations across large regions. Since hypoxia
interacts with temperature and pH in its physiological impact, we
develop a model to predict performance under a range of present and
future scenarios. This model could potentially be used to incorporate
the effects of pH into existing ecosystem models that are driven by
temperature, oxygen, and productivity.
Kevin Weng is a fish ecologist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary. He studies the migrations of sharks, deepwater fishes, and coral reef fishes. He attended Williams College (BA), the University of Hawaii at Manoa (MSc), and Stanford University (PhD). His lab uses a variety of telemetry techniques to follow animals in the wild to understand the spatial scales at which they live, their habitats, and the nature of their environment.
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