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Yellowtail Kingfish Response to Ocean Acidification and Warming

Paper Reviewed
Frommel, A.Y., Brauner, C.J., Allan, B.J.M., Nicol, S., Parsons, D.M., Pether, S.M.J., Setiawan, A.N., Smith, N. and Munday, P.L. 2019. Organ health and development in larval kingfish are unaffected by ocean acidification and warming. PeerJ 7: e8266, DOI: 10.7717/peerj.8266.

The yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) is a mass-spawning large pelagic fish found throughout the sub-tropical region of the southern hemisphere. And according to Frommel et al. (2019), this species is becoming more of a target for both commercial and recreational fisheries, as is gaining interest within the aquaculture industry. Thus, there is a growing need to understand how this fish might respond to future predicted changes in ocean acidification and warming.

To shed some light in this regard, the team of nine researchers exposed yellowtail kingfish embryos and larvae to current (approximately 500 µatm) or elevated (approximately 1000 µatm) seawater pCO2 levels and normal (21°C) or elevated (25°C) seawater temperatures for 11 days so as to determine if there is a link between ocean acidification and warming and the early stages of organ health and development of this fish species. The work was performed at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Northland Marine Research Center in Ruakaka, New Zealand.

In discussing their findings, Frommel et al. (2019) first report that "all organs were present in the proper orientation" in nearly all larvae, regardless of treatment. And although some larvae showed signs of structural differences or damages, the researchers report that "there was no statistically significant effect of either CO2 or temperature, nor the combination on the type of lesions or degree of damage in any of the organs evaluated." In short, ocean acidification and warming presented no impact on organ health and development in the kingfish larvae, which absence of findings led Frommel et al. to consider this fish species "to be robust to elevated CO2 conditions, even at temperatures above their thermal preference." And this point is made emphatically clear in the final sentence of their paper, where they write "we conclude that kingfish organ development is robust to the effects of ocean warming and acidification predicted to occur within this century."

Posted 30 January 2020