CR 37:253-270 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/cr00766

Cod and climate in a latitudinal cline: physiological analyses of climate effects in marine fishes

Hans-O. Pörtner*, Christian Bock, Rainer Knust, Gisela Lannig, Magnus Lucassen, Felix Christopher Mark, Franz Josef Sartoris

Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Physiologie mariner Tiere, Postfach 12 01 61,
27515 Bremerhaven, Germany

ABSTRACT: Characteristics of temperature-dependent metabolic adaptation, as well as their implications for climate-dependent energy budgets, biogeography and fitness are reviewed and analysed for populations of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua in relation to findings in other fish species from northern and southern hemispheres, especially various species of eelpout (Zoarcidae). The analysis builds on the recently posited concept of oxygen- and capacity-dependent thermal tolerance in aquatic ectotherms. Mechanistic physiological studies are used to explain both functional differences between populations and current observations (such as the northward movement of cod, or the changes in seasonal abundance of eelpout due to global warming). Available data support the hypothesis that natural selection favours individuals that maximize growth and energy efficiency at the expense of ranges of thermal tolerance. The levels of energy turnover are subject to the constraints of resource availability and temperature variability. Temperature variability in the cold, such as in the sub-Arctic, causes a rise in maintenance costs at the expense of growth, but possibly in favour of motility, and thus of foraging capacity. These different trends are mirrored in higher capacities for gene expression of key enzymes involved in aerobic metabolism (during cold acclimation) in northern as compared to southern cod populations of the East Atlantic. However, detailed patterns, as well as many of the underlying mechanisms, remain underexplored, especially with respect to the suggested hierarchy of energy allocation to energy budget components.


KEY WORDS: Acclimation · Body size · Climate sensitivity · Cod · Eelpout · Growth · Oxygen limitation · Population · Thermal tolerance


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Cite this article as: Pörtner HO, Bock C, Knust R, Lannig G, Lucassen M, Mark FC, Sartoris FJ (2008) Cod and climate in a latitudinal cline: physiological analyses of climate effects in marine fishes. Clim Res 37:253-270

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