Research highlight

Small prospects for fish

Nature Climate Change

October 1, 2012

Biological responses to climate change could reduce average maximum body weight of marine fish by 14-24% by 2050 according to a modelling study published online this week in Nature Climate Change.

Documented marine biological responses to climate change include altered distribution, phenology and productivity but how these various effects will interact remains highly uncertain. William Cheung and co-workers modelled the integrated responses of over 600 species of marine fishes to climate-driven changes in distribution, abundance and body size. They report that about half of their estimated decline in body size could be accounted for by changes in distribution and abundance, with the remainder being physiological. They also note that tropical and temperate populations were both heavily impacted by fish size reductions.

doi: 10.1038/nclimate1691

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