Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Royal Society Open Science
Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) support recreational fisheries along the US mid- and south-Atlantic states and have been recently subjected to increased fishing effort, primarily during their spawning season in coastal habitats where increasing temperatures and expanding hypoxic zones are occurring due to climate change. We therefore undertook a study to quantify the physiological abilities of cobia to withstand increases in temperature and hypoxia, including their ability to recover from exhaustive exercise. Respirometry was conducted on cobia from Chesapeake Bay to determine aerobic scope, critical oxygen saturation, ventilation volume and the time to recover from exhaustive exercise under temperature and oxygen conditions projected to be more common in inshore areas by the middle and end of this century. Cobia physiologically tolerated predicted mid- and end-of-century temperatures (28–32°C) and oxygen concentrations as low as 1.7–2.4 mg l−1. Our results indicated cobia can withstand environmental fluctuations that occur in coastal habitats and the broad environmental conditions their prey items can tolerate. However, at these high temperatures, some cobia did suffer post-exercise mortality. It appears cobia will be able to withstand near-future climate impacts in coastal habitats like Chesapeake Bay, but as conditions worsen, catch-and-release fishing may result in higher mortality than under present conditions.
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Crear, Daniel P.; Brill, Richard; Averilla, Lauren M.L.; Meakem, Sara C.; and Weng, Kevin C., In the face of climate change and exhaustive exercise: the physiological response of an important recreational fish species (2020). Royal Society Open Science.