Impacts of ocean warming and acidification on the energy budget of three commercially important fish species

José M. Moreira, Ana Candeias Mendes, Ana Luísa Maulvault, António Marques, Rui Rosa, Pedro Pousão-Ferreira, Tânia Sousa, Patrícia Anacleto, Gonçalo M. Marques

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A mechanistic model based on Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory was developed to predict the combined effects of ocean warming, acidification and decreased food availability on growth and reproduction of three commercially important marine fish species: white seabream (Diplodus sargus), zebra seabream (Diplodus cervinus) and Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis). Model simulations used a parameter set for each species, estimated by the Add-my-Pet method using data from laboratory experiments complemented with bibliographic sources. An acidification stress factor was added as a modifier of the somatic maintenance costs and estimated for each species to quantify the effect of a decrease in pH from 8.0 to 7.4 (white seabream) or 7.7 (zebra seabream and Senegalese sole). The model was used to project total length of individuals along their usual lifespan and number of eggs produced by an adult individual within one year, under different climate change scenarios for the end of the 21st century. For the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change SSP5-8.5, ocean warming led to higher growth rates during the first years of development, as well as an increase of 32-34% in egg production, for the three species. Ocean acidification contributed to reduced growth for white seabream and Senegalese sole and a small increase for zebra seabream, as well as a decrease in egg production of 48-52% and 14-33% for white seabream and Senegalese sole, respectively, and an increase of 4-5% for zebra seabream. The combined effect of ocean warming and acidification is strongly dependent on the decrease of food availability, which leads to significant reduction in growth and egg production. This is the first study to assess the combined effects of ocean warming and acidification using DEB models on fish, therefore, further research is needed for a better understanding of these climate change-related effects among different taxonomic groups and species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbercoac048
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalConservation Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • climate change
  • Dynamic Energy Budget
  • fish metabolism
  • ocean acidification
  • ocean warming


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