Contrasting impacts of climate change across seasons: effects on flatfish cohorts
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- Vinagre, C., Narciso, L., Pimentel, M. et al. Reg Environ Change (2013) 13: 853. doi:10.1007/s10113-012-0376-4
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The Senegal sole, Solea senegalensis, is a species of flatfish that has several distinct cohorts of 0-group juveniles which use estuarine nurseries in summer and winter. The early cohort is more abundant and grows faster than the late cohort that stays in the nurseries during winter; however, climate warming may have an impact on the dynamics of this species’ juveniles. This study aimed to compare mortality, metabolic response and growth of S. senegalensis juveniles at different temperatures, reflecting present-day temperature (winter—12 °C; summer—24 °C) and future temperature (plus 3 °C) conditions, in estuarine nurseries in the southern European population. Mortality was low at 12 °C, being only 10 %, increasing to 30 % at 15 °C, 40 % at 24 °C and at 27 °C it hit 70 %. Metabolic rate increased steadily with increasing temperatures, yet it increased steeply from 24 to 27 °C. Thermal sensitivity was high for the temperature interval between 24 and 27 °C. Growth was very slow at 12 °C, at a rate of 0.03 mm day−1, increasing to 0.22 mm day−1 at 15 °C, and to 0.60 mm day−1, at 24 °C. However, at 27 °C growth rapidly declined to 0.12 mm day−1. Warming will be beneficial for the late cohort, resulting in a major increase in growth. However, the early cohort will not benefit from warming, due to high mortality and arrested growth, which clearly indicates that this species is under severe thermal stress at 27 °C. Thus, here we show, for the first time, that climate change may induce contrasting seasonal impacts on fish bio-ecology and physiology, namely in species with several cohorts over the course of the year. Phenotypic and/or genotypic plasticity may limit the impacts of climate change.