Tuesday March 19, 2024


An extensive international study led by researchers from Tel Aviv University found a decline in the abundance of marine fish species that move rapidly toward the poles to escape rising sea temperatures. The researchers explain that many animal species are currently moving toward cooler regions as a result of global warming, but the velocity of such range shifts varies greatly for different species. Examining thousands of populations from almost 150 fish species, the researchers show that contrary to the prevailing view, rapid range shifts coincide with widescale population declines. According to the study, on average, a poleward shift of 17km per year may result in a decline of 50% in the abundance of populations.

The international study was led by PhD student Shahar Chaikin and Prof. Jonathan Belmaker from the School of Zoology in the Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University. The paper was published in the leading scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

For the first time, the new study correlated two global databases: (1) a database that tracks fish population size over time, and (2) a database that compiles range shift velocities among marine fishes. Altogether, 2,572 fish populations belonging to 146 species were studied, mostly from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the Northern Hemisphere.

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