Researchers Model Impacts of Warming Waters on Fish PhysiologyNews Type: State, Regional, Federal Source: Missoulian
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Scientists who study the impact of global warming on the health of aquatic populations have long speculated that rising water temperatures could reduce the ability of fish, particularly larger individuals, to breathe. However, it has been difficult to measure that impact on a large scale.
Now, researchers at the University of Montana, McGill University in Montreal and Radboud University in the Netherlands have developed a new mathematical model that accurately predicts how the metabolic rates of fish change with temperature, oxygen availability and body size. The team’s research was published in the Nov. 30, issue of the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”
“This represents a significant theoretical addition to an important pre-existing body of theory — the metabolic theory of ecology — that focuses primarily on body size and temperature, but does not incorporate oxygen,” said Art Woods, UM professor of biological sciences. “Including oxygen means that the model does a significantly better job of predicting observed patterns of variation in metabolic rate among fishes worldwide.”