Knowledge of the capacity for species to acclimate and adapt to rapid climate change is critical for effective management and conservation of ecosystems in the future. Much of the research to date has used the present-day performance and sensitivity of populations or species to infer the capacity for persistence in predicted future environments. This research suggests negative impacts to most organisms and very little capacity for species to cope with future change. However, new research has shown that some species may be able to improve and maintain performance when altered conditions are experienced early in life or when previous generations have experienced conditions. I present a series of studies that highlight the ability of tropical reef fish to developmentally and transgenerationally acclimate to projected ocean warming. I will discuss evidence for differences between species, populations and within individuals depending on the traits investigated.
Jenni is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies located at James Cook University in Townsville. This fellowship is part of a collaborative project with King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Saudi Arabia. She completed her PhD in 2012 at James Cook University, before undertaking a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney from 2013-2016. Jenni’s research focuses on the plastic capacity of marine fish in the face of changing environmental conditions.