High-latitude seas are predicted to experience the impacts of ocean acidification (i.e. absorption of CO2 by the oceans leading to acidification of seawater) within the next 40 years. Accompanied by increases in seawater temperatures, elevated levels of CO2 have the potential to disrupt an ecosystem of organisms within the Antarctic that have evolved under stable environmental conditions for the last 10-14 million years. In fact, many of the adaptations of polar species to cope with living in sub-zero conditions make them particularly vulnerable to warming. Antarctic species have therefore been identified as potentially some of the most vulnerable groups of organisms to climate change; however, we currently lack the research that establishes the species’ relative sensitivity to the combined effects of elevated temperature and COdeveloped from climate model projections. This is especially true for Antarctic fishes and we have limited data for early life stages of these fishes. Funded through the National Science Foundation (ANT-1142122 and ANT-1744999), we are investigating the interactive effects of elevated CO2 (OA) and ocean warming (OW) on early life stages of Antarctic fishes. Our research to date has focused on three species, the naked dragonfish, Gynodraco acuticeps, the emerald rockcod, Trematomus bernacchii, and the bald notothen, Pagothenia borchgrevinki. Our research examines the molecular, biochemical, physiological and behavioural mechanisms available to embryos, larvae and juvenile fishes to cope with OA and OW.



Divers prepare for a fish collecting dive beneath the ice

2018 Antarctic research crew: Andrew Naslund, Anne Todgham, Mandy Frazier, and Ken Zillig




















Todgham, A.E. and Mandic, M. 2020. Understanding the metabolic capacity of Antarctic fishes to acclimate to future ocean conditions. Integr Comp Biol.

Davis, B.E., Flynn, E.E., Miller, N.A., Nelson, F. , Fangue, N.A. and Todgham, A.E. 2017. Antarctic emerald rockcod have the capacity to compensate for warming when uncoupled from CO2-acidification.

Flynn, E.E. and Todgham, A.E. 2017. Thermal windows and metabolic performance curves in a developing Antarctic fish.

Todgham, A.E., Crombie, T. A. and Hofmann, G.E. 2017. The effect of temperature adaptation on the ubiquitin–proteasome pathway in notothenioid fishes.

Flynn et al. 2015. Ocean acidification exerts negative effects during warming conditions in a developing Antarctic fish.

Breitburg et al. 2015. And on top of all that… Coping with ocean acidification in the midst of many stressors.

Todgham and Stillman 2013. Physiological responses to shifts in multiple environmental stressors – relevance in a changing world.