Regarding the Baltic Sea, future climate models predict an increase in water temperature and a decrease in salinity from current environmental conditions. Thus, multiple marine organisms will be forced to face and cope with these environmental changes in the near future. The cod (Gadus morhua), an economically and ecologically important species is one of them. During embryonic development, both temperature and salinity play a role in their viability. Cod eggs and larvae are sensitive to changes in these environmental parameters during early development and they can determine the survival of both eggs and larvae. In this study, I am to explore how well the predicted temperature and salinity conditions in the near future impact the development and performance of Baltic cod during early life stages.
In order to do this, we incubated cod eggs under current and future environmental conditions and followed larvae survival, hatching rate, and buoyancy. According to the results, temperature increase and salinity decrease will negatively impact the survival and hatching of cod larvae, moreover, buoyancy will also be affected by these parameters.
In parallel, we took some hatched larvae as samples from each temperature and salinity condition for transcriptomic analyses. With this, we aim to link phenotypic responses to gene expression, and thus, broaden the knowledge about how will Baltic cod larvae be affected by climate change.