ClimateFish, the first sentinel fish database. «They monitor the climate crisis in the Mediterranean»-

ClimateFish, the first sentinel fish database.  «They monitor the climate crisis in the Mediterranean»-
Of Carlotta Lombardo

The research, which lasted 13 years and was published in Frontiers, was created by the marine biologist Ernesto Azzurro of the Cnr. The Mediterranean has a warming rate three times faster than that of the ocean. Global warming? Increase tropicalization

It’s called ClimateFish and the first open access database that provides information on presence in the Mediterranean Sea of ​​15 species of fish considered as sentinels of climate change whose effects, such asrising temperatures and increasingly frequent heat wavesare now there for all to see. The research, published in Frontierswas created by the marine biologist Ernesto Azzurro of the Institute for Biological Resources and Marine Biotechnology of the CNR, in collaboration with experts from the Enea Research Center of Santa Teresa (La Spezia) and other international institutes.

The database includes seven native species, selected for their wide distribution, sensitivity to temperature conditions and for easy identification, and eight exotic species from the Red Sea. Thanks to a sampling that lasted 13 years, over 100,000 specimens of the 15 target species were surveyed, in over 3,000 areas in seven countries of the Mediterranean basin. The most represented are the autochthonous species donzella pavonina and salpa, although the latter has recorded a decrease in quantity and geographical distribution due in all probability to the increase in temperatures and competition with tropical herbivores, explains Federica Pannacciulli, head of the Laboratory Enea of ​​Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. At present, exotic species are still underrepresented in the database and their presence is mostly concentrated in the eastern sector of the Mediterranean where the phenomenon of particularly accelerated warming, such as the area south of Crete (+1.65 C). But their number is set to grow in the coming years due to the increase in temperature caused by climate change, adds Pannacciulli.

With about 700 fish species and a warming rate about three times faster than that of the ocean, the Mediterranean is a hotspot for both biodiversity and climate change.. In recent decades, several species have moved towards the poles, increasing the risk of extinction, while the arrival of new exotic herbivorous species such as rabbitfish is causing the phenomenon of marine desertification. Furthermore, several species have widened their geographical distribution in the Mediterranean: it is a phenomenon, referred to as southernization, which involves several native fish species, such as the Mediterranean parrotfish and the pavonina damsel, identified towards the north with respect to their original geographical distribution. the phenomenon of tropicalization was then detected, i.e. the presence of non-native fish of tropical origin which is expected to become increasingly present in the Mediterranean due to the effect of global warming (in 2002 there were 90, of which 59 from the Red Sea, while in 2020 exotic species reached 188 of which 106 coming from the Suez Canal, for a total of 76 stable species).

January 26, 2023 (change January 26, 2023 | 3:15 pm)


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