Reef fish display the capacity to acclimatize to warmer, acidified ocean conditions - like those predicted in modelling studies for later this century - when multiple generations are considered. These findings, published online this week in Nature Climate Change, indicate that some marine organisms might be more resilient to climate change impacts than previously thought.
The negative impacts of warmer and/or more acidic waters have been demonstrated for a wide variety of marine organisms, but the way that species might adjust over multiple generations is rarely considered. In an experimental set-up, Gabrielle Miller and co-workers demonstrate that plausible future ocean temperature and pH conditions do indeed reduce the condition and survival rate of juvenile anemone fish, but that these negative effects are absent when parents are subjected to the same altered conditions.
These findings demonstrate the potential importance of non-genetic parental effects in moderating ocean acidification impacts.