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Models projecting the fate of fish populations under climate change need to be based on valid physiological mechanisms [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : aerobic scop, gill surface area, growth, metabolism, oxygen consumption, respiration, scaling

par Frédéric Magné - publié le , mis à jour le

Some recent modelling papers projecting smaller fish sizes and catches in a warmer future are based on erroneous assumptions regarding (i) the scaling of gills with body mass and (ii) the energetic cost of ‘maintenance’. Assumption (i) posits that insurmountable geometric constraints prevent respiratory surface areas from growing as fast as body volume. It is argued that these constraints explain allometric scaling of energy metabolism, whereby larger fishes have relatively lower mass-specific metabolic rates. Assumption (ii) concludes that when fishes reach a certain size, basal oxygen demands will not be met, because of assumption (i). We here demonstrate unequivocally, by applying accepted physiological principles with reference to the existing literature, that these assumptions are not valid.(...)

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