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Aerobic scope fails to explain the detrimental effects on growth resulting from warming and elevated CO2 in Atlantic halibut

Journal article
Authors Albin Gräns
Fredrik Jutfelt
Erik Sandblom
Elisabeth Jönsson
Kerstin Wiklander
Henrik Seth
Catharina Olsson
Samuel Dupont
Olga Ortega-Martínez
Ingibjörg Einarsdottir
Björn Thrandur Björnsson
Kristina Sundell
Michael Axelsson
Published in Journal of Experimental Biology
Volume 217
Issue 5
Pages 711-717
ISSN 0022-0949
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 711-717
Language en
Keywords Oxygen consumption rate, Optimal temperature, Climate change, Ocean acidification, Respirometry, Oxygen and capacity limited thermal tolerance, OCLTT, Carbon dioxide
Subject categories Mathematical statistics, Biological Sciences


As a consequence of increasing atmospheric CO2, the world's oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic. Whilst the ecological effects of these changes are poorly understood, it has been suggested that fish performance including growth will be reduced mainly as a result of limitations in oxygen transport capacity. Contrary to the predictions given by the oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance hypothesis, we show that aerobic scope and cardiac performance of Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) increase following 14–16 weeks exposure to elevated temperatures and even more so in combination with CO2-acidified seawater. However, the increase does not translate into improved growth, demonstrating that oxygen uptake is not the limiting factor for growth performance at high temperatures. Instead, long-term exposure to CO2-acidified seawater reduces growth at temperatures that are frequently encountered by this species in nature, indicating that elevated atmospheric CO2 levels may have serious implications on fish populations in the future.

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