Elasmobranchs are key to a healthy marine ecosystem but are under threat from human activities, such as destructive fisheries and shark finning. Embryos of oviparous elasmobranchs may be further challenged during development by rising temperatures and falling dissolved oxygen concentrations in their intertidal environment. However, the impact of climate change on survival and growth of oviparous elasmobranchs is still poorly understood. Here, we investigate the effects of temperature and hypoxia on the growth and survival of small‐spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) embryos by incubating eggs in either: normoxia 15 °C, normoxia 20 °C, hypoxia 15 °C, or hypoxia 20 °C. Incubation under the elevated temperature increased the embryonic growth rate, yolk consumption rate, and Fulton's condition factor at hatching, whilst decreasing the total length and body mass of newly hatched sharks. Under low oxygen conditions (50 % air saturation) the survival rate of S. canicula embryos dropped significantly, and the temperature induced increase in Fulton's condition factor was reversed. Together, these data demonstrate both the individual and compound effects of elevated temperature and hypoxia on the survival and growth during early ontogeny of a ubiquitous, coastal elasmobranch, S. canicula.
|Journal||Journal of Fish Biology|
|Early online date||8 May 2020|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2020|
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Sustainable Futures