As ocean temperatures continue to rise, the effect of temperature on marine organisms becomes highly relevant. The Red Sea is the warmest sea and is rapidly warming with current surface temperatures (28 – 34 °C) already exceeding those of most tropical systems. This has major consequences for organisms that may already find themselves at their thermal limits. The aim of this project was to define the thermal limits and thresholds of certain Red Sea species. Firstly, to better understand the thermal regimes of the Red Sea, we looked at decadal trends in maximum sea surface temperature across the basin. Then, we tested the thermal capacities of Red Sea mangroves and zooplankton, two key ecological groups, by performing thermal stress experiments in the laboratory. We found that the Red Sea basin is warming faster than the global average (0.17 °C decade-1), the thermal limit of mangrove propagules is between 33 and 35 °C, and the limits among the most common zooplankton groups range from 30 to 36 °C. This project gives us a better understanding of how organisms respond to extreme temperatures and how they may be affected in a future, warmer, ocean.
|Date made available
|KAUST Research Repository