Developmental effects of heatwave conditions on the early life stages of a coral reef fish

Rachel K. Spinks, Philip L. Munday, Jennifer M. Donelson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Marine heatwaves, which are increasing in frequency, duration and intensity owing to climate change, are an imminent threat to marine ecosystems. On coral reefs, heatwave conditions often coincide with periods of peak recruitment of juvenile fishes and exposure to elevated temperature may affect their development. However, whether differences in the duration of high temperature exposure have effects on individual performance is unknown. We exposed juvenile spiny damselfish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, to increasing lengths of time (3, 7, 30 and 108 days post-hatching) of elevated temperature (+2°C). After 108 days, we measured escape performance at present-day control and elevated temperatures, standard length, mass and critical thermal maximum. Using a Bayesian approach, we show that 30 days or more exposure to +2°C leads to improved escape performance, irrespective of performance temperature, possibly owing to developmental effects of high temperature on muscle development and/or anaerobic metabolism. Continued exposure to elevated temperature for 108 days caused a reduction in body size compared with the control, but not in fish exposed to high temperature for 30 days or less. By contrast, exposure to elevated temperatures for any length of time had no effect on critical thermal maximum, which, combined with previous work, suggests a short-term physiological constraint of ∼37°C in this species. Our study shows that extended exposure to increased temperature can affect the development of juvenile fishes, with potential immediate and future consequences for individual performance.
    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)jeb202713
    JournalThe Journal of Experimental Biology
    Volume222
    Issue number16
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Aug 23 2019

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Insect Science
    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Molecular Biology
    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Aquatic Science
    • Physiology

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