Member Highlight: Artificial Reefs Off NC Coast May Be Havens For Tropical Fish On The Move

2019-05-21T15:36:11+00:00 May 21, 2019|
(Credit: Dr. Dwayne Meadows, NOAA/NMFS/OPR)

(Credit: Dr. Dwayne Meadows, NOAA/NMFS/OPR)

(From Duke University/ By Tim Lucas) — Tropical and subtropical fish are taking up residence on shipwrecks and other sunken structures off the North Carolina coast. This pattern may continue or even accelerate in coming years given predictions of warming oceans under climate change, a new study co-led by Duke University scientists suggests.

“The artificial reefs created by these structures may be acting as stepping stones for fish that are moving northward and living at the edge of their geographic range, or beyond it, in search of suitable habitat,” said Avery B. Paxton, a visiting scholar at the Duke University Marine Laboratory, who was lead author of the study.

“Globally, there is broad evidence that many tropical fish species are shifting their ranges poleward and to deeper waters in response to changing ocean conditions, and what we see on these reefs seems to fit that pattern,” she said.

One of the most surprising findings of the study is that the tropical and subtropical fish observed off North Carolina exhibit a strong preference for…

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