Research carried out in Norway has concluded that Atlantic salmon are able to adapt to the rising temperatures caused by climate change.
Salmon and most other fish species are cold-blooded, and depend on the water temperature for the regulation of their own body temperature. The rise in temperature is known to have an affect on a fish's heart, so it the water temperature gets too high – it can be fatal.
Most species will migrate to cooler water, but as the salmon returns to the river of its birth to spawn, it’s not easy for it to move to a cooler environment.
However, studies have revealed that Atlantic salmon were able to adapt, and survive the change in conditions, unlike the Pacific salmon, which are known to suffer from temperature changes in the water.
The results come from an international research group led by Professor Göran Erik Nilsson at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, which decided to look more deeply into the issue, where tests were carried out starting with salmon eggs from two different stocks: one from the Alta River in Finnmark, Norway, where the water temperature was around 17 degrees and the other from the Dordogne River in France, where temperatures can rise to 26 degrees.
It was assumed that the salmon from the warmer river would be better able to cope with rising temperatures.
“We speculated that we might have to cross French and Norwegian salmon in the future, to enable them to cope with temperature change,” explained professor Nilsson.
However, the researchers made a startling discovery. They found that all of their salmon were able to adapt to the new conditions.