Study: Climate change makes some fish smaller, and others bigger

Mongabay discusses how climate change makes some fish smaller, and others bigger, study finds.

  • A decades-long study finds that fish either increase or decrease in size in response to climate change-induced warming water, with smaller fish generally getting smaller, and larger fish generally getting bigger.
  • Fish species changed size more rapidly in response to climate change, by nearly 20% for every 0.5° Celsius (0.9° Fahrenheit) of warming.
  • Fluctuations in fish size could have a serious impact on the marine food web, such as making certain species more susceptible to predation.

Climate change is doing something unusual to the fish in our oceans: As water temperatures rise, this causes fish to morph in size. Some shrink, but others grow.

In a new study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers analyzed data from more than 10 million visual survey records to understand the phenomenon of fish shrinking and growing in response to climate change, and to consider the effects on the marine environment and the management of fisheries.

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