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Article Dans Une Revue Journal of Fish Biology Année : 2023

The ecological relevance of critical thermal maxima methodology for fishes

Jessica E. Desforges
  • Fonction : Auteur
Kim Birnie-Gauvin
  • Fonction : Auteur
Kathleen M. Gilmour
  • Fonction : Auteur
Erika J. Eliason
  • Fonction : Auteur
Terra L. Dressler
  • Fonction : Auteur
Amanda E. Bates
  • Fonction : Auteur
Michael J. Lawrence
  • Fonction : Auteur
Nann Fangue
  • Fonction : Auteur
Steven J. Cooke
  • Fonction : Auteur


Critical thermal maxima methodology (CTM) has been used to infer acute upper thermal tolerance in fishes since the 1950s, yet its ecological relevance remains debated. In this study, the authors synthesize evidence to identify methodological concerns and common misconceptions that have limited the interpretation of critical thermal maximum (CTmax; value for an individual fish during one trial) in ecological and evolutionary studies of fishes. They identified limitations of, and opportunities for, using CTmax as a metric in experiments, focusing on rates of thermal ramping, acclimation regimes, thermal safety margins, methodological endpoints, links to performance traits and repeatability. Care must be taken when interpreting CTM in ecological contexts, because the protocol was originally designed for ecotoxicological research with standardized methods to facilitate comparisons within study individuals, across species and contexts. CTM can, however, be used in ecological contexts to predict impacts of environmental warming, but only if parameters influencing thermal limits, such as acclimation temperature or rate of thermal ramping, are taken into account. Applications can include mitigating the effects of climate change, informing infrastructure planning or modelling species distribution, adaptation and/or performance in response to climate-related temperature change. The authors’ synthesis points to several key directions for future research that will further aid the application and interpretation of CTM data in ecological contexts.
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Dates et versions

hal-04104168 , version 1 (12-10-2023)



Jessica E. Desforges, Kim Birnie-Gauvin, Fredrik Jutfelt, Kathleen M. Gilmour, Erika J. Eliason, et al.. The ecological relevance of critical thermal maxima methodology for fishes. Journal of Fish Biology, 2023, 102 (5), pp.1000--1016. ⟨10.1111/jfb.15368⟩. ⟨hal-04104168⟩
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