Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

Acute temperature quotient responses of fishes reflect their divergent thermal habitats in the Banda Sea, Sulawesi, Indonesia

John Eme A C and Wayne A. Bennett B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 321 Steinhaus Hall, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-2525, USA.

B Department of Biology, 11000 University Parkway, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL 32514-5750, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Zoology 57(5) 357-362
Submitted: 6 August 2009  Accepted: 16 November 2009   Published: 8 December 2009


We measured metabolic rates of six Indo-Pacific fishes from different thermal habitats at 26°C and after acute transfer to 32°C. Temperature–metabolism relationships were expressed as temperature quotients (Q10) and ranged from ~1.0 in tidepool-dwelling common (Bathygobius fuscus) and sandflat (Bathygobius sp.) gobies to 2.65 and 2.29 in reef-associated white-tailed humbug (Dascyllus aruanus) and nine-banded cardinalfish (Apogon novemfasciatus), respectively. Squaretail mullet (Liza vaigiensis) and blackspot sergeant (Abudefduf sordidus) displayed Q10 responses of 2.03 and 1.26, respectively. Bathygobiids and blackspot sergeant inhabit mangrove tidepools during daytime low tides and experience temperature fluctuations approximately twice (12°C) the maximum experienced by inhabitants of patch reef or seagrass and squaretail mullet (1–6°C), a mangrove transient that avoids shallow, insolated daytime low tides. The low Q10 responses of the bathygobiids and blackspot sergeant suggest that their metabolic rates are relatively temperature-insensitive over the thermal range tested. Our data support the hypothesis that fish metabolic responses are tailored to specific thermal habitat conditions.


We thank D. Smith, T. Coles, B. Tiffany, the Indonesia Research Teams in 2003 and 2004, and J. Blank for reading a draft of this manuscript. We also thank J. Van Tassell for assistance with goby identification. Operation Wallacea and the University of West Florida’s College of Arts and Sciences provided research funding. All animals were collected under Operation Wallacea collection permit #OP 647-03 and treated in accordance with the guidelines established by Operation Wallacea and the Animal Care and Use Committee at the University of West Florida, protocol #2003-002. JE was supported for part of the written preparation of this manuscript by NSF GK-12 grant DGE-0638751.


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