Seasonal blood chemistry response of sub-tropical nearshore fishes to climate change

Aaron D. Shultz, Zachary C. Zuckerman, Heather A. Stewart, Cory D. Suski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate change due to anthropogenic activity will continue to alter the chemistry of the oceans. Future climate scenarios indicate that sub-tropical oceans will become more acidic, and the temperature and salinity will increase relative to current conditions. A large portion of previous work has focused on how future climate scenarios may impact shell-forming organisms and coral reef fish, with little attention given to fish that inhabit nearshore habitats; few studies have examined multiple challenges concurrently. The purpose of this study was to quantify the blood-based physiological response of nearshore fishes to a suite of seawater conditions associated with future climate change. Fish were exposed to an acute (30 min) increase in salinity (50 ppt), acidity (decrease in pH by 0.5 units) or temperature (7-10°C), or temperature and acidity combined, and held in these conditions for 6 h. Their physiological responses were compared across seasons (i.e. summer vs. winter). Bonefish (Albula vulpes) exposed to environmental challenges in the summer experienced a suite of blood-based osmotic and ionic disturbances relative to fish held in ambient conditions, with thermal challenges (particularly in the summer) being the most challenging. Conversely, no significant treatment effects were observed for yellowfin mojarra (Gerres cinereus) or checkered puffer (Sphoeroides testudineus) in either season. Together, results from this study demonstrate that acute climate-induced changes to thermal habitat will be the most challenging for sub-tropical fishes (particularly in the summer) relative to salinity and pH stressors, but significant variation across species exists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalConservation Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Blood chemistry
  • Multiple stressors
  • Nearshore
  • Physiological response
  • Stress
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonal blood chemistry response of sub-tropical nearshore fishes to climate change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this