With the Arctic experiencing one of the greatest and most rapid increases in sea temperatures in modern time, predicting how Arctic marine organisms will respond to elevated temperatures has become crucial for conservation biology. Here, we examined the thermal sensitivity of cardiorespiratory performance for three closely related species of sculpins that inhabit the Arctic waters, two of which, Gymnocanthus tricuspis and Myoxocephalus scorpioides, have adapted to a restricted range within the Arctic, whereas the third species, Myoxocephalus scorpius, has a wider distribution. We tested the hypothesis that the fish restricted to Arctic cold waters would show reduced cardiorespiratory scope in response to an increase in temperature, as compared with the more eurythermal M. scorpius. As expected from their biogeography, M. scorpioides and G. tricuspis maximised cardiorespiratory performance at temperatures between 1 and 4°C, whereas M. scorpius maximised performance over a wider range of temperatures (1–10°C). Furthermore, factorial scope for cardiac output collapsed at elevated temperature for the two high-latitude species, negatively impacting their ability to support aerobically driven metabolic processes. Consequently, these results concurred with our hypothesis, suggesting that the sculpin species restricted to the Arctic are likely to be negatively impacted by increases in ocean temperatures.
M.A. organised the expedition to Greenland. All authors contributed to the conception and design of the study, data collection, and analysis and writing of the manuscript.
No competing interests declared.
C.E.F. was supported by The University of Queensland research funds. A.P.F. is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He also holds a Canada Research Chair. M.A. is funded by the Swedish Research Council.
- © 2013. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd