Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021
Larval fish body growth responses to simultaneous browning and warmingHuss, Magnus; van Dorst, Renee M.; Gardmark, Anna
AbstractOrganisms are facing global climate change and other anthropogenic pressures, but most research on responses to such changes only considers effects of single drivers. Observational studies and physiological experiments suggest temperature increases will lead to faster growth of small fish. Whether this effect of warming holds in more natural food web settings with concurrent changes in other drivers, such as darkening water color ("browning") is, however, unknown. Here, we set up a pelagic mesocosm experiment with large bags in the Baltic Sea archipelago, inoculated with larval Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) and zooplankton prey and varying in temperature and color, to answer the question how simultaneous warming and browning of coastal food webs impact body growth and survival of larval perch. We found that browning decreased body growth and survival of larval perch, whereas warming increased body growth but had no effect on survival. Based on daily fish body growth estimates based on otolith microstructure analysis, and size composition and abundance of available prey, we explain how these results may come about through a combination of physiological responses to warming and lower foraging efficiency in brown waters. We conclude that larval fish responses to climate change thus may depend on the relative rate and extent of both warming and browning, as they may even cancel each other out.
KeywordsBaltic Sea; climate change; perch; temperature; water color; zooplankton
Published inEcology and Evolution
2021, volume: 11, number: 21, pages: 15132-15140
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