Term of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Johanne Lewis

Committee Member 1

Christine Bedore

Committee Member 2

James Roberts

Abstract

Climate change projections estimate a 2-3°C increase in water temperatures by the end of the century. The amount of habitat with suitable temperature and oxygen concentration for aquatic organisms will also be reduced. Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) inhabiting the rivers in Southeastern Georgia make an interesting study system as they do not participate in summer coastal migrations typical of their northern conspecifics. Instead, fish in this southern population remain in freshwater environments that experience warming and decreases in dissolved oxygen. The present study aims to determine the thermal and low oxygen tolerance of juvenile striped bass collected from southeast Georgia through the measurement of aerobic metabolic scope (AMS), loss of equilibrium (LOEcrit), and critical oxygen tension (Pcrit). Fish were acclimated to one of four experimental temperatures (20, 25, 30, and 33°C), representing the range of temperatures typical of the natural environment in the summer as well as the anticipated increase in temperature due to climate change (33°C). Additionally, plasma samples were analyzed for lactate levels to assess the metabolic state of the fish. Results indicate fish acclimated to 30 and 33°C have reduced performance (lower AMS) and low oxygen tolerance (LOEcrit). The findings of this study determined that southern striped bass are susceptible to projected increases in temperature where an increase of 3°C will push them close to the thermal lethal limit and lower their ability to survive in hypoxic environments.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

No

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