Smaller fish species in a warm and oxygen-poor Humboldt Current system

Renato Salvatteci*, Ralph R. Schneider, Eric Galbraith, David Field, Thomas Blanz, Thorsten Bauersachs, Xavier Crosta, Philippe Martinez, Vincent Echevin, Florian Scholz, Arnaud Bertrand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change is expected to result in smaller fish size, but the influence of fishing has made it difficult to substantiate the theorized link between size and ocean warming and deoxygenation. We reconstructed the fish community and oceanographic conditions of the most recent global warm period (last interglacial; 130 to 116 thousand years before present) by using sediments from the northern Humboldt Current system off the coast of Peru, a hotspot of small pelagic fish productivity. In contrast to the present-day anchovy-dominated state, the last interglacial was characterized by considerably smaller (mesopelagic and goby-like) fishes and very low anchovy abundance. These small fish species are more difficult to harvest and are less palatable than anchovies, indicating that our rapidly warming world poses a threat to the global fish supply.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-104
Number of pages4
Issue number6576
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022


  • Animals
  • Body Size
  • Climate Change
  • Ecosystem
  • Fishes/anatomy & histology
  • Geologic Sediments
  • Oxygen/analysis
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Paleontology
  • Peru
  • Seawater/chemistry
  • Temperature


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