Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Fish Guts Could Say Which Species Survive Climate Change

As sea temperatures rise, stocks of some fish species maydecline while others may grow, reveals new research. The gastrointestinal system of fish is much more sensitive to temperature changes than previously believed, the researchers report.

"Our work is largely about trying to identify the physiological bottlenecks, in other words which parts of the body will fail first — whether the heart or the gut is the most sensitive part of the system," study researcher Albin Gräns, of the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, said in a statement. They found that the gut was actually the most temperature-sensitive organ in many fishes.

The researchers looked at how gut function in various fish species is affected by both rapid and slow changes in water temperature, to better understand what will happen to different species when the climate changes.

"When the temperature of the water rises, the fish's body temperature climbs, activity in the gut increases, and more energy is needed to stay healthy," Gräns said. "Since changes in body temperature affect virtually all of a fish's organs, it's surprising that we know so little about how temperature changes impact on their physiology,"

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