Tropical Fish May be Well Prepared to Cope with Global Warming
Donelson, J.M., Munday, P.L., McCormick, M.I. and Pitcher, C.R. 2012. Rapid transgenerational acclimation of a tropical reef fish to climate change. Nature Climate Change 2: 30-32.
The Australian scientists report that acute exposure to elevated temperatures of +1.5 and +3.0°C, which have been predicted to occur this century, caused a 15% and 30% respective decrease in the maximum ability of the fish to perform aerobic activities such as swimming or foraging, which is known as aerobic scope. However, they found that complete compensation "in aerobic scope occurred when both parents and offspring were reared throughout their lives at elevated temperature." And they add that "the ability to acclimate and maintain aerobic capacity would also be expected to maintain performance in characteristics such as growth and swimming ability at elevated temperatures."
In discussing their remarkable findings, Donelson et al. say that "such acclimation could reduce the impact of warming temperatures and allow populations to persist across their current range." And they conclude their paper by stating that "the discovery that advantageous offspring phenotypes are produced within two generations could indicate that some tropical marine species are more capable of coping with global warming than has been suggested and illustrates a potential limitation of short-term experiments in predicting the long-term impacts of climate change."