Conservation Physiology of Marine Fishes

Basic Physiological Knowledge

See the ‘meetings’ tab for minutes and information about training schools and workshops held by this WG during the course of the Action

This WG will evaluate current basic physiological knowledge on physiological responses to abiotic factors expected to have major impacts on marine fishes due to AGCC; on behaviour, habitat selection and energetics in the wild, and on applications for biomarkers. This will require a careful collation of fundamental and applied knowledge, to identify critical gaps and bottlenecks to be addressed. Specific objectives are to:

  • Critically evaluate current knowledge of the impact of increasing temperature; coastal hypoxic zones; ocean acidification, and salinity on the physiology of those species for which information is available. Where possible, characterise physiological tolerance ranges, in particular for indices of energy flux such as aerobic metabolic scope, growth, swimming performance, digestive performance.
  • Evaluate knowledge on potential for acclimatisation, on differential sensitivity of life stages, and on the intra-specific diversity that influences population structure over the geographical range.
  • Consider interactions between environmental factors.
  • Consider the development of rapid screening tests to evaluate critical acute thresholds in large numbers of species
  • Identify physiological biomarkers of stress and impaired ecological performance. These may be performance (aerobic metabolic scope, swimming capacity) or endocrine (stress hormones) traits. Evaluate these biomarkers at marine protected areas across Europe
  • Critically evaluate current knowledge of fish behaviour and habitat selection in the natural environment, and estimates of associated energy fluxes. Evaluate and compare the available methods for such studies, including trace chemical markers, tagging, biologging/biotelemetry.
  • Compare physiological tolerance ranges to behavioural habitat selection to investigate the extent to which physiology drives behaviour, and whether fish choose habitat to maximise their aerobic scope
  • Identify short-term scientific missions (STSM) within the network, to address gaps in knowledge and evaluate biomarkers in marine protected areas across Europe
  • Propose research projects to address gaps in knowledge

Deliverables for WG1

  • At least 3 literature reviews on fundamental knowledge relevant to conservation physiology research, evaluating (1) applicability of the metabolic scope paradigm; (2) the physiological bases and implications of habitat selection, and (3) physiological proxies and biomarkers of ecological performance.
  • Report identifying gaps in scientific knowledge and further research needs in these areas.
  • 20 STSMs.
  • Joint research proposals.
  • 1 technical workshop on methods of biologging/biotelemetry.
  • 1 technical workshop on measurement of biomarkers.