The sensory impacts of climate change: bathymetric shifts and visually mediated interactions in aquatic species.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Visual perception is, in part, a function of the ambient illumination spectrum. In aquatic environments, illumination depends upon the water's optical properties and depth, both of which can change due to anthropogenic impacts: turbidity is increasing in many aquatic habitats, and many species have shifted deeper in response to warming surface waters (known as bathymetric shifts). Although increasing turbidity and bathymetric shifts can result in similarly large changes to a species' optical environment, no studies have yet examined the impact of the latter on visually mediated interactions. Here, we examine a potential link between climate change and visual perception, with a focus on colour. We discuss (i) what is known about bathymetric shifts; (ii) how the impacts of bathymetric shifts on visual interactions may be distributed across species; (iii) which interactions might be affected; and (iv) the ways that animals have to respond to these changes. As warming continues and temperature fluctuations grow more extreme, many species may move into even deeper waters. There is thus a need for studies that examine how such shifts can affect an organism's visual world, interfere with behaviour, and impact fitness, population dynamics, and community structure.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Caves, EM; Johnsen, S

Published Date

  • April 21, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 288 / 1949

Start / End Page

  • 20210396 -

PubMed ID

  • 33878924

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8059512

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2954

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0962-8452

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1098/rspb.2021.0396


  • eng