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Temperature and O2, but not CO2, interact to affect aerobic performance of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 19:39 authored by Montgomery, DW, Simpson, SD, Davison, W, Harriet GoodrichHarriet Goodrich, Engelhard, GH, Birchenough, SNR, Wilson, RW

Climate change causes warming, decreased O2, and increased CO2 in marine systems and responses of organisms will depend on interactive effects between these factors. We provide the first experimental assessment of the interactive effects of warming (14 to 22°C), reduced O2 (∼3 – 21 kPa O2), and increased CO2 (∼400 or ∼1000 µatm ambient CO2) on four indicators of aerobic performance (standard metabolic rate, SMR, maximum metabolic rate, MMR, aerobic scope, and hypoxia tolerance, O2crit), blood chemistry, and O2 transport (P50) of a marine fish, the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Warming increased SMR and O2crit (i.e. reduced hypoxia tolerance) as well as MMR in normoxia but there was an interactive effect with O2 so that hypoxia caused larger reductions in MMR and aerobic scope at higher temperatures. Increasing CO2 had minimal effects on SMR, MMR and O2crit and did not show interactive effects with temperature or O2 for any measured variables. Aerobic performance was not linked to changes in blood chemistry or P50. Despite lack of effects of CO2 on aerobic performance, increased CO2 induced 30% mortality of fish exercised in low O2 at 22°C indicating important threshold effects independent of aerobic performance. Overall, our results show temperature and O2, but not CO2, interact to affect aerobic performance of sea bass, disagreeing with predictions of the oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance hypothesis.


Publication title







Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Place of publication

United States

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Environmentally sustainable animal production not elsewhere classified; Aquaculture fin fish (excl. tuna); Animal adaptation to climate change

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