Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Briefs

By Stephen Luntz

A digest of science news.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Equatorial Fish Are Feeling the Heat

The capacity of many warm water fish to respond to climate change has been questioned in Global Change Biology.

Dr Jodie Rummer of the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University studied the oxygen consumption of six fish species at rest and when swimming hard. The fish were unable to boost their performance in warmer waters, casting doubt on their capacity to evade predators or find food.

“Our studies found that one species could not even survive in water just 3°C warmer than what it lives in now,” said Rummer. “Already we found four species are living at or above the temperatures at which they function best.”

Rummer said that dispersal of fish away from the Equator “will have a substantial impact on the human societies that depend on these fish”.

Lion Population in Decline

West African lions are even more scarce than had previously been recognised, according to a study published in PLOS One.

West African lions are genetically distinct from those in southern and eastern Africa, and are closely related to the extinct Barbary lions of northern Africa. When a survey of the population began it was believed that lions survived in 21 protected locations. However, lead author Dr Phillip Henschel reported: “All but a few of the areas we surveyed were basically paper...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.