The effects of water temperature on the juvenile performance of two tropical damselfishes expatriating to temperate reefs

Djurichkovic, Lucas D., Donelson, Jennifer M., Fowler, Ashley M., Feary, David A., and Booth, David J. (2019) The effects of water temperature on the juvenile performance of two tropical damselfishes expatriating to temperate reefs. Scientific Reports, 9. pp. 1-9.

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Ocean warming associated with global climate change is already inducing geographic range shifts of marine species. Juvenile coral reef fishes transported into temperate latitudes (termed 'vagrant' fishes) can experience winter water temperatures below their normal thermal minimum. Such environmental extremes may increase energetic costs for such fishes, resulting in reduced performance, which may be the governing factor that limits the potential for poleward range expansion of such fishes. This study compared the juvenile physiological performance and behaviour of two congeneric tropical damselfishes which settle during austral summer months within temperate eastern Australia: Abudefduf vaigiensis have an extended southern range, and lower threshold survival temperature than the congeneric A. whitleyi. Physiological and behavioural performance parameters that may be affected by cooler temperature regimes at higher latitudes were measured in aquaria. Lower water temperature resulted in reduced growth rates, feeding rates, burst escape speed and metabolic rates of both species, with significantly reduced performance (up to six-fold reductions) for fishes reared at 18°C relative to 22°C and 26°C. However, A. whitleyi exhibited lower growth rates than A. vaigiensis across all temperatures, and lower aerobic capacity at the lowest temperature (18°C). This difference between species in growth and metabolic capacity suggests that the extended southern distribution and greater overwintering success of A. vaigiensis, in comparison to A. whitleyi is related to thermal performance parameters which are critical in maintaining individual health and survival. Our results support previous findings in the region that water temperature below 22°C represents a critical physiological threshold for tropical Abudefduf species expatriating into temperate south-eastern Australia.

Item ID: 60681
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Cre-ative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not per-mitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Funders: School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 07:31
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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