Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fish are warmer, faster, stronger: Unexpected benefits of living in a changing climate, biologists find

Date:
August 14, 2012
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
Biologists suggest that growing up at warmer temperatures helps some aquatic animals cope with climate change, raising questions about the limits of adaptation. They found that when embryos raised in warm water experienced temperature variation as adults, they could swim faster and their muscle was better suited for aerobic exercise.

Zebrafish embryos, taken 28 hours after fertilization (a little over a third of the way through embryonic development).
Credit: Ian Johnston

New research by McMaster University biologist Graham Scott suggests that growing up at warmer temperatures helps some aquatic animals cope with climate change, raising questions about the limits of adaptation.

Working with Ian Johnston at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, Scott has found that raising zebrafish at warmer temperatures as embryos actually improves their ability to adjust to both higher and lower temperatures as adults.

Their research shows the fish are hardier after being raised in a warm-water nursery, and raises the question of how far the temperature can rise before the advantage becomes a liability, as inevitably it will, Scott says.

"What limits are there to their coping abilities? That's what we're really trying to understand," says Scott, a specialist in animals' adaptation to challenging environments. "If we want to appreciate how the natural world is affected by climate change, that's what we need to know."

The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Zebrafish are native to freshwater habitats of Southern Asia, and over their lives can experience a range of temperatures from almost 40oC to nearly freezing. The fish under study were raised across the range of temperatures they would normally experience in their natural breeding season (22oC to 32oC).

The biology of zebrafish -- especially their short gestation period -- makes them ideal research subjects.

Scott and Johnston found that when embryos raised in warm water experienced temperature variation as adults, they could swim faster, their muscle was better suited for aerobic exercise, and they expressed at higher levels many of the genes that contribute to exercise performance.

The improvements were true for the adult fish in warmer and colder water alike -- a finding that surprised the researchers.

"We thought that they might do better under warmer conditions because they grew up in warmer conditions. We didn't think they'd also do better under colder conditions, but they did."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McMaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "Fish are warmer, faster, stronger: Unexpected benefits of living in a changing climate, biologists find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120814135157.htm>.
McMaster University. (2012, August 14). Fish are warmer, faster, stronger: Unexpected benefits of living in a changing climate, biologists find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120814135157.htm
McMaster University. "Fish are warmer, faster, stronger: Unexpected benefits of living in a changing climate, biologists find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120814135157.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Hurricane Gonzalo pounded Bermuda with wind and heavy surf on Friday, bearing down on the tiny British territory as a powerful Category 3 storm that could raise coastal seas as much as 10 feet. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Powerful hurricane could hit Bermuda this weekend, and even if it misses it will likely do some damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) One of the largest volcanic eruptions in centuries is occurring on Iceland. The volcano Bardarbunga is producing high levels of sulfur dioxide. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins