ʻĀkoʻakoʻa News

New Research on Coral Reef Fish Recruitment Impairment in Unusual Sea Temperatures

January 11, 2024

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Long-term West Hawaiʻi Fish Survey Data Shows Effects of Unusual Temperature on Fish Recruitment

This new paper, Anomalous sea temperatures can impair coral reef fish recruitment, from lead author and ʻĀkoʻakoʻa collaborator Dr. Shawna Foo of the University of Sydney, alongside affiliate scientist Dr. Rachel Carlson of the University of California at Davis, with program lead Dr. Gregory Asner and collaborator Dr. Christopher Teague of the Hawai'i Division of Aquatic Resources, looks at the interaction of ocean temperature, baby fish survival, and coral reefs along the West Hawaiʻi coastline.

Specifically, the research looked at how the temperature of the ocean affects the number of baby fish that survive and join coral reefs on the west coast of Hawai'i Island. The authors used data from 17 years of surveys and found that the most baby fish usually show up in July. The authors also found that timing of when most baby fish appear is influenced by whether the ocean was unusually warm or cool in the years before they were born. The study shows that the effects of climate change can make the environment too hot or too cold for the baby fish, reducing their numbers in important coral reef areas. This may disrupt the development and overall structure of the reef and the sustainability of fisheries in Hawai'i.

Read and share the journal article here.