Lynchpin is delighted to promote this paper by Jorge Ramos et al. Jorge was a Lynchpin Scholar in 2012 and was part of the Forests of the Sea project.
Jorge E. Ramos1*, Gretta T. Pecl1, Natalie A. Moltschaniwskyj2, Jan M. Strugnell3, Rafael I. Leo´ n1, Jayson M. Semmens1 1 Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 2 School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, New South Wales, Australia, 3 Department of Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
Understanding the response of any species to climate change can be challenging. However, in short-lived species the faster turnover of generations may facilitate the examination of responses associated with longer-term environmental change. Octopus tetricus, a commercially important species, has undergone a recent polewards range shift in the coastal waters of south-eastern Australia, thought to be associated with the southerly extension of the warm East Australian Current. At the cooler temperatures of a polewards distribution limit, growth of a species could be slower, potentially leading to a bigger body size and resulting in a slower population turnover, affecting population viability at the extreme of the distribution. Growth rates, body size, and life span of O. tetricus were examined at the leading edge of a polewards range shift in Tasmanian waters (40uS and 147uE) throughout 2011. Octopus tetricus had a relatively small body size and short lifespan of approximately 11 months that, despite cooler temperatures, would allow a high rate of population turnover and may facilitate the population increase necessary for successful establishment in the new extended area of the range. Temperature, food availability and gender appear to influence growth rate. Individuals that hatched during cooler and more productive conditions, but grew during warming conditions, exhibited faster growth rates and reached smaller body sizes than individuals that hatched into warmer waters but grew during cooling conditions. This study suggests that fast growth, small body size and associated rapid population turnover may facilitate the range shift of O. tetricus into Tasmanian waters.
Full paper available here.