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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

    AEI prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Feeling the ocean warming: elevated temperatures increase the growth and enhance foraging performances of a marine gastropod

    Nan Hu, Zhenglin Yu, Yajuan Huang, Dapeng Liu, Fang Wang, Tao Zhang*

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: The ocean continues to warm due to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Most studies use temperature changes based on coarse resolution climate models and without considering thermal ranges of an animal. Coarse resolution climate models are generated by global scale data, which is insufficient to capture the conditions of coastal areas where most aquaculture activity occurs. Therefore, ocean warming research on coastal organisms requires a more comprehensive design to include broad temperature gradients. By using the economically and commercially important coastal whelk Rapana venosa, we combined long-term and short-term experiments and selected 4 temperature treatments (19, 23, 27, and 30 °C) to simulate different scenarios to test the ocean warming effects on growth rates and foraging performances of whelks. We found that elevated temperature within the whelks’ range (23 and 27 °C) significantly increased growth rates and enhanced foraging performances of marine whelks when compared to the current temperature (19 °C). Conversely, the whelk’s performance collapsed at 30 °C for both growth and foraging behavior. Our research clearly shows that local conditions and the tolerance range of a species must be considered to develop meaningful information for testing the effects of changing climate. Our study suggests that rapa whelks may increase their feeding and reach larger sizes during warmer periods. Moreover, our study may provide a foundation for future climate research on aquaculture species.