As oceans get warmer, fish are diving deeper

A commercially important fish - redthroat emperor fish - showed significant shift in depth

August 08, 2015 03:39 pm | Updated March 29, 2016 02:01 pm IST - Melbourne

Researchers tagged 60 redthroat emperor fish at Heron Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef.

Researchers tagged 60 redthroat emperor fish at Heron Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef.

As sea surface temperatures rise, fish are being driven deeper into the water to escape the heat, says a new study.

The researchers from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia tagged 60 redthroat emperor fish at Heron Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef to evaluate the impact of climate change on sea life. The fish were equipped with transmitters that identified them individually and signaled their depth to an array of receivers around the island.

The experiment monitored fish for up to a year and found the fish were less likely to be found on the reef slope on warmer days.

The research team considered temperature, air pressure rainfall, wind and moon phases as reasons for the shift, but discovered the only significant correlation was with temperature — the redthroat emperor were consistently monitored when water was less than 24 degrees Celsius.

Most studies looked at the effect ocean warming would have on fish biology, not on how they would distribute themselves to compensate for higher temperatures, said lead researcher Leanne Currey. “This is a commercially important fish and we are looking at a significant depth shift,” she said. The findings appeared in the journal Coral Reefs.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.