Supplementary material from "Sun basking fish benefit from body temperatures that are higher than ambient water"

Published on 2018-05-21T09:18:31Z (GMT) by
In terrestrial environments, cold blooded animals can attain higher body temperatures by sun basking and thereby potentially benefit from broader niches, improved performance and higher fitness. The higher heat capacity and thermal conductivity of water compared to air have been universally assumed to render heat gain from sun basking impossible for aquatic ectotherms, such that their opportunities to behaviourally regulate body temperature are largely limited to choosing warmer or colder habitats. Here we challenge this paradigm. Using physical models we first show that submerged objects exposed to natural sunlight attain temperatures in excess of ambient water. We next demonstrate that free ranging carp (<i>Cyprinus carpio</i>) can increase their body temperature during aquatic sun basking close to the surface. The temperature excess gained by basking was larger in dark than in pale individuals, increased with behavioural boldness, and was associated with faster growth. Overall, our results establish aquatic sun basking as a novel ecologically significant mechanism for thermoregulation in fish. The discovery of this previously overlooked process has practical implications for aquaculture, offers alternative explanations for behavioural and phenotypic adaptations, will spur future research in fish ecology, and calls for modifications of models concerning climate change impacts on biodiversity in marine and freshwater environments.

Cite this collection

Nordahl, Oscar; Tibblin, Petter; Koch-Schmidt, Per; Berggren, Hanna; Larsson, Per; Forsman, Anders (2018): Supplementary material from "Sun basking fish benefit from body temperatures that are higher than ambient water". The Royal Society. Collection.