Growth impacts in a changing ocean: insights from two coral reef fishes in an extreme environment

D’Agostino, Daniele, Burt, John A., Santinelli, Veronica, Vaughan, Grace O., Fowler, Ashley M., Reader, Tom, Taylor, Brett M., Hoey, Andrew, Cavalcante, Georgenes H., Bauman, Andrew G., and Feary, David A. (2021) Growth impacts in a changing ocean: insights from two coral reef fishes in an extreme environment. Coral Reefs, 40 (2). pp. 433-446.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (3MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


Determining the life-history consequences for fishes living in extreme and variable environments will be vital in predicting the likely impacts of ongoing climate change on reef fish demography. Here, we compare size-at-age and maximum body size of two common reef fish species (Lutjanus ehrenbergii and Pomacanthus maculosus) between the environmentally extreme Arabian/Persian Gulf (‘Arabian Gulf’) and adjacent comparably benign Oman Sea. Additionally, we use otolith increment width profiles to investigate the influence of temperature, salinity and productivity on the individual growth rates. Individuals of both species showed smaller size-at-age and lower maximum size in the Arabian Gulf compared to conspecifics in the less extreme and less variable environment of the Oman Sea, suggesting a life-history trade-off between size and metabolic demands. Salinity was the best environmental predictor of interannual growth across species and regions, with low growth corresponding to more saline conditions. However, salinity had a weaker negative effect on interannual growth of fishes in the Arabian Gulf than in the Oman Sea, indicating Arabian Gulf populations may be better able to acclimate to changing environmental conditions. Temperature had a weak positive effect on the interannual growth of fishes in the Arabian Gulf, suggesting that these populations may still be living within their thermal windows. Our results highlight the potential importance of osmoregulatory cost in impacting growth, and the need to consider the effect of multiple stressors when investigating the consequences of future climate change on fish demography.

Item ID: 70479
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: Coping mechanism, Ocean warming, Oxygen limitation, Physiology, Plasticity, Stress, TSR
Copyright Information: 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 Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted 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 licence, visit
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2021 23:52
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 773
Last 12 Months: 60
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page