Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

POLAREXPRESS Result In Brief

Project ID: 622320
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Germany

The effect of warming waters on cold-water fish

EU-funded researchers studied the genetics behind temperature preferences of fish in Antarctic waters. Their findings will help conservationists protect these species as climate change warms and alters their environment.
The effect of warming waters on cold-water fish
Climate change is affecting species around the Earth; the Antarctic is no exception. Here, rising temperatures will likely reduce habitat available to cold-water species, among other concerns.

Understanding the genetic basis of temperature dependence in cold-water fish will improve conservation and management plans for these species. Researchers from the EU-funded project POLAREXPRESS (Temperature drives evolution: In search of gene expression differences between eurytherm and polar stenotherm fishes) studied how fish in the Southern Ocean are genetically adapted to their preferred temperature ranges.

The scientists studied three related fish species from the Antarctic. They compared the genetics of two species that can live only in a narrow temperature range with a third that is less temperature sensitive.

After keeping the fish at different temperatures, the researchers identified the genes that were more or less active in response to temperature. Then they researched the function of the genes they had identified.

POLAREXPRESS also sequenced part of the genome of one of the species and identified markers to study the genetic health of wild populations of these fish.

The results of this project have helped scientists understand the effects of climate change on Antarctic fish species. This understanding will help in the long-term conservation of marine species in a warming ocean.

Related information

Keywords

Cold-water fish, genetics, temperature, Antarctic, climate change, POLAREXPRESS
Record Number: 190521 / Last updated on: 2016-11-10
Domain: Environment