Jesus, T.F., Rosa, I.C., Repolho, T., Lopes, A.R., Pimentel, M.S., Almeida-Val, V.M.F., Coelho, M.M. & Rosa, R. (2018) Different ecophysiological responses of freshwater fish to warming and acidification.Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 216, 34-41. DOI:10.1016/j.cbpa.2017.11.007 (IF2016 1,812; Q3 Physiology)
Future climate change scenarios predict threatening outcomes to biodiversity. Available empirical data concerning biological response of freshwater fish to climate change remains scarce. In this study, we investigated the physiological and biochemical responses of two Iberian freshwater fish species (Squalius carolitertii and the endangered S. torgalensis), inhabiting different climatic conditions, to projected future scenarios of warming (+ 3 °C) and acidification (ΔpH = − 0.4). Herein, metabolic enzyme activities of glycolytic (citrate synthase - CS, lactate dehydrogenase - LDH) and antioxidant (glutathione S-transferase, catalase and superoxide dismutase) pathways, as well as the heat shock response (HSR) and lipid peroxidation were determined. Our results show that, under current water pH, warming causes differential interspecific changes on LDH activity, increasing and decreasing its activity in S. carolitertii and in S. torgalensis, respectively. Furthermore, the synergistic effect of warming and acidification caused an increase in LDH activity of S. torgalensis, comparing with the warming condition. As for CS activity, acidification significantly decreased its activity in S. carolitertii whereas in S. torgalensis no significant effect was observed. These results suggest that S. carolitertii is more vulnerable to climate change, possibly as the result of its evolutionary acclimatization to milder climatic condition, while S. torgalensis evolved in the warmer Mediterranean climate. However, significant changes in HSR were observed under the combined warming and acidification (S. carolitertii) or under acidification (S. torgalensis). Our results underlie the importance of conducting experimental studies and address species endpoint responses under projected climate change scenarios to improve conservation strategies, and to safeguard endangered freshwater fish.