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Historical warming consistently decreased size, dispersal and speciation rate of fish

Avaria-Llautureo, J. ORCID:, Venditti, C., Rivadeneira, M. M. ORCID:, Inostroza-Michael, O., Rivera, R. J. ORCID:, Hernández, C. E. ORCID: and Canales-Aguirre, C. B. ORCID: (2021) Historical warming consistently decreased size, dispersal and speciation rate of fish. Nature Climate Change. ISSN 1758-678X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41558-021-01123-5


There is ongoing debate as to whether fish body size will decrease with global warming and how these changes may impact dispersal ability and speciation rate. Theory predicts that, under warmer temperatures, fish grow to a smaller size, undergo a reduction in dispersal ability and increase speciation rates. However, evaluations of such predictions are hampered owing to the lack of empirical data spanning both wide temporal and geographical scales. Here, using phylogenetic methods, we show that smaller clupeiform fish (anchovies and herrings) occurred historically in warmer waters, moved the shortest distances at low speed and displayed the lowest speciation rates. Furthermore, fish moved faster and evolved rapidly under higher rates of temperature change but these historical rates are far lower than current warming rates. Our results predict a future where smaller clupeiform fish that have reduced ability to move will be more prevalent; this, in turn, may reduce future speciation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:99750
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group

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