Anthropogenic-induced climate change is having profound impacts on aquatic ecosystems, and the resilience of fish populations will be determined by their response to these impacts. The northern Namibian coast is an ocean warming hotspot, with temperatures rising faster than the global average. The rapid warming in Namibia has had considerable impacts on marine fauna, such as the southern extension of the distribution of Argyrosomus coronus from southern Angola into northern Namibian waters, where it now overlaps and hybridizes with the closely related Namibian species, A. inodorus. Understanding how these species (and their hybrids) perform at current and future temperatures is vital to optimize adaptive management for Argyrosomus species. Intermittent flow-through respirometry was used to quantify standard and maximum metabolic rates for Argyrosomus individuals across a range of temperatures. The modelled aerobic scope (AS) of A. inodorus was notably higher at cooler temperatures (12, 15, 18 and 21◦C) compared with that of A. coronus, whereas the AS was similar at 24◦C. Although only five hybrids were detected and three modelled, their AS was in the upper bounds of the models at 15, 18 and 24◦C. These findings suggest that the warming conditions in northern Namibia may increasingly favour A. coronus and promote the poleward movement of the leading edge of their southern distribution. In contrast, the poor aerobic performance of both species at cold temperatures (12◦C) suggests that the cold water associated with the permanent Lüderitz Upwelling Cell in the south may constrain both species to central Namibia. This is most concerning for A. inodorus because it may be subjected to a considerable coastal squeeze.
- northern Benguela
- ocean warming