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The inland water fishes of Africa

 | 
Didier Paugy
, 
Christian Levêque
, 
Olga Otero

Diversity of responses to environmental constraints and extreme environmental conditions

Christian Levêque et Didier Paugy

Résumé

The prevailing environmental conditions in aquatic habitats often allow different fish species to coexist. In certain conditions, however, an environmental factor can change in such a way that it becomes an intolerable constraint that leads to the elimination of most of the species. Some of the species that have developed adaptive solutions to such constraints can nonetheless tolerate extreme conditions, at least within certain limits and/or for a given period that allows them to await the return of more favourable conditions.

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Extrait du texte

Unlike birds and mammals, fish do not regulate their body temperature, but can exhibit great flexibility in their responses to environmental changes and in traits such as growth, age at first reproduction, life span, and other life-history traits. The nature of the responses of organisms to changing environmental conditions is a central problem in biology and the meaning of “adaptation” has been widely discussed (Løvtrup, 1988; Endler & McLellan, 1988).

This chapter is concerned with some of the major environmental constraints to which tropical freshwater fish have become adapted since diversity of conditions enhances biodiversity.

Temperature

Because of its effect on the velocity of chemical reactions, environmental temperature is perhaps the most pervasive of the abiotic factors. It has major influences on many biological processes, such as maturation and spawning, growth, development rate, metabolism, etc. Fish are faced with a simple choice in responding to temperature changes: eit...

Auteurs

Research director at IRD. He has published numerous works on the systematics, distribution, and ecology of West African fresh water fishes, and expanded the collections of the MNHN in Paris.

Research director at IRD. He has published numerous works on the systematics, distribution, and ecology of West African fresh water fishes, and expanded the collections of the MNHN in Paris.

© IRD Éditions, 2017

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