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Coral Reefs

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 927-931

Elevated temperature restricts growth potential of the coral reef fish Acanthochromis polyacanthus

  • P. L. MundayAffiliated withARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook UniversitySchool of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University Email author 
  • , M. J. KingsfordAffiliated withARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook UniversitySchool of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University
  • , M. O’CallaghanAffiliated withSchool of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University
  • , J. M. DonelsonAffiliated withARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook UniversitySchool of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University

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Abstract

In order to test the effect of temperature variation on the growth of a common coral-reef fish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, juveniles, sub-adults and adults were reared on either high or low food rations at temperatures corresponding to the long-term (14 year) minimum, average and maximum summer sea-surface temperatures (26, 28 and 31°C respectively) at Orpheus Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Both temperature and food supply affected the growth of juvenile and adult A. polyacanthus. Individuals grew more on high food rations, but growth declined with increasing temperature. Importantly, at 31°C, the growth of juveniles and adults on the high food ration was nearly identical to growth on the low food ration. This indicates that the capacity for growth is severely limited at higher ocean temperatures that are predicted to become the average for Orpheus Island within the next 100 years as a result of rapid climate change.

Keywords

Climate change Temperature Growth Food supply