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Yolk sac

(San Diego) October 29, 2022— Higher temperatures spurred by worsening climate change increased the growth rate of fish and consumption of their yolk sac—a structure that provides an embryo with food and helps develop important structures, such as blood cells. In addition, higher temperatures boosted fish mortality rates and led to faster depletion of their yolk sac, according to researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. The findings will be presented this week at the American Physiological Society (APS) Intersociety Meeting in Comparative Physiology: From Organism to Omics in an Uncertain World conference in San Diego.  

Ocean temperatures are predicted to rise as carbon monoxide gas accumulates due to climate change. To determine the impact on larval white seabass, researchers sampled fish reared at 18–23 degrees Celsius throughout development from birth to six days old. With this process, they were hoping to differentiate the effects of temperature and time. They estimated growth and development rates by examining images obtained under a light microscope, among other methods. 

These findings are important because it helps inform fish population predictions in the face of climate change. The fishing industry is an important link in the U.S. food supply chain. Predicting growth rates and population structures of white seabass, a commercially and recreationally significant population in California, is critically important to help ensure food security. 

“Our results suggest that larval fish recruitment could swing to either extremity as a result of ocean warming,” said Ria Bhabu, co-author of the study and a student at the University of California San Diego. 

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: The Comparative Physiology: From Organism to Omics in an Uncertain World conference will be held October 28–31 in San Diego. To schedule an interview with the researchers or conference organizers or request a full copy of the abstract number 49, “Warmer temperatures accelerate developmental and yolk sac consumption rates of larval white seabass,” contact APS Media Relations or call 301.634.7314. Find more highlights in our Newsroom.  

Physiology is a broad area of scientific inquiry that focuses on how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. The American Physiological Society connects a global, multidisciplinary community of more than 10,000 biomedical scientists and educators as part of its mission to advance scientific discovery, understand life and improve health. The Society drives collaboration and spotlights scientific discoveries through its 16 scholarly journals and programming that support researchers and educators in their work.  

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