Fish Communities & Climate Change

Last changed: 17 April 2023

Waters are getting warmer, darker (mainly in lakes) and less saline (in the Baltic Sea). How does this affect fish communities and fisheries? To resolve this, we study how the dynamics and responses of fish communities result from variation in individuals’ direct, physiological, responses and their interactions with other individuals in fish communities and aquatic food-webs.

Physiological responses in fish and interactions in food-webs

Species and individuals are affected in different ways by environmental changes resulting from climate change. Warming, for example, directly affects fish metabolism, but how varies between species. It even varies between individuals, often depending on how big they are.  But individuals also affect each other, e.g. by feeding on or competing with each other. The net effect of climate change on, for example, how individuals grow therefore depends both on their physiological responses to the environment and on these interactions in food-webs. The fate of fish individuals under climate change, in turn, determines – and is thus also affected by – the responses of the populations and communities they constitute. 

Field  experiments simulate climate

We study this by combining unique field-experiments that simulate climate change with mathematical models of environment-dependent physiologically based community- and food-web dynamics, currently in three related projects.

  • How trophic interactions mediate physiological responses to climate change in food-webs (lead A. Gårdmark; Vetenskapsrådet)

  • Darker and warmer lakes: from individual physiology to fish community responses and adaptive fisheries management (lead M. Huss; FORMAS)

  • Detecting and understanding climate change impacts on natural food-webs from monitoring data: a novel time series analysis method (lead A. Gårdmark; FORMAS)

Interested? Welcome to get in touch!  


Anna Gårdmark, Professor
Department of Aquatic Resources, SLU, +46 10-478 41 25                                    

Magnus Huss, Senior Lecturer, Director of Studies - postgraduate education
Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Coastal Research, SLU, +46 10 478 41 27