Critical swimming speed of juvenile rockfishes (Sebastes) following long- and short-term exposures to acidification and deoxygenation
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Critical swimming speed of juvenile rockfishes (Sebastes) following long- and short-term exposures to acidification and deoxygenation

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
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    Reef fishes in the California Current Ecosystem have evolved in habitats affected by seasonally variable, episodic upwelling of high pCO2 (acidified, low pH) and low dissolved oxygen (deoxygenated) water, which suggests that these fishes might exhibit resilience to ocean acidification (OA) and deoxygenation. Yet, how the fitness of these fish are affected by natural variability in pH and DO over short time scales remains poorly understood, as do the effects of longer-term trends in pH and DO driven by climate change. We conducted a complementary suite of experiments to study the effects of acidification and deoxygenation on the critical swimming speed (Ucrit) of juvenile copper (Sebastes caurinus) and black (S. melanops) rockfish collected from nearshore habitats in an ocean acidification “hotspot” off Northern California. We consistently observed that Ucrit declined more strongly in response to deoxygenation than to acidification, at least under ranges of these stressors consistent with current conditions and plausible future scenarios, and that reduction in swimming performance reflected additive rather than synergistic responses to concurrent exposure. Reductions in swimming performance manifested quickly–on the scale of hours–in response to exposure to elevated pCO2/reduced DO, yet are reversible: swimming performance of juvenile rockfish recovers within a matter of days, and perhaps much more quickly, after acidified/deoxygenated conditions have subsided. Insights from this study address potential effects of variability in upwelling intensity at event and seasonal scales for nearshore rockfishes and contribute to our understanding of fish responses to future ocean conditions driven by ongoing climate change.
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    Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 573, 151993
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    CC BY
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