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Impacts of Southern Ocean warming on marine connectivity

Impacts of Southern Ocean warming on marine connectivity: Integrating oceanographic modelling with molecular ecology and developmental biology

Photos copyright of Dr Mike Meredith, BAS

Our work brings together data on developmental rate of fish larvae, population genetics, ocean circulation and the environment (specifically temperature) to generate predictions of recruitment that can be tested.

This provides us with a powerful tool for tackling the uncertainty that characterizes the dynamics of wild populations in a rapidly changing world. Many fish populations, as all species living in nature, are exposed to a wide variety of changes in the environment that determine their abundance and distribution. Some changes are natural and include such things as alterations in food supply or number of mates, while others are largely driven by man-made activities, of which climate change and exploitation are two major types.

Since fish form a major component of natural ecosystems in providing food for many other animals, and are predators of many groups, and since they also form a major source of human food globally, it is important that we estimate the role of various environmental changes on their dynamics, especially as many fish populations have recently collapsed, or are only in early stages of recovery. Here we examine, using several fish species from a well characterised region of the Antarctic, the potential effect that an increase in temperature might have on the numbers of fish entering the adult population ("recruitment"), and more specifically the rate at which their larvae develop.


                                                                                                                                                                                              

                     

   King Edward Point Research             Notothenioid egg                    Notothenioid larvae 

     Station South Georgia

                                                      

                   

        Fish Egg World by J. Rock                           Under the Ice - Champsocephalus gunnari   

           

           Biophysical modelling flow fields                    Biophysical modelling - predicted dispersal       

                                                                                          of  Notothenioid ┬álarvae