Experiments with Zebra Fish show that if their embryo’s develop in warmer water, they not only are able to swim faster but they cope better in both warmer and colder water. (How catastrophic can that be, I ask you?)
ScienceDaily (Aug. 14, 2012) — New research by McMaster University biologist Graham Scott suggests that growing up at warmer temperatures helps some aquatic animals cope with climate change, raising questions about the limits of adaptation.
Scott and Johnston found that when embryos raised in warm water experienced temperature variation as adults, they could swim faster, their muscle was better suited for aerobic exercise, and they expressed at higher levels many of the genes that contribute to exercise performance.
The improvements were true for the adult fish in warmer and colder water alike — a finding that surprised the researchers.
“We thought that they might do better under warmer conditions because they grew up in warmer conditions. We didn’t think they’d also do better under colder conditions, but they did.
Their research shows the fish are hardier after being raised in a warm-water nursery, and raises the question of how far the temperature can rise before the advantage becomes a liability, as inevitably it will, Scott says.
The question then for Zebra Fish lovers is to ask what we are doing to stop the world cooling? Clearly a cooler ocean is a threat to their health and welfare. We simply can’t allow those baby fish to develop in water that is not warm enough for them to reach their full potential.