"We have found that cod in the northeast Atlantic repeatedly experience abrupt temperature changes of up to 8ºC, suggesting that temperature may not be so crucial in constraining the movements and distribution of adult cod", explains Dr Metcalfe, "However this doesn't mean that climate change won't impact the numbers or distribution of cod populations since there may be other environmental factors such as prey distribution that could be affected by a rise in sea temperatures".
This work is from a large EU-funded project called CODYSSEY which aims to identify key environmental forcers of horizontal movements of cod. To date the programme has tagged and released over 2500 wild-caught cod across the North Sea, Barents Sea, Baltic Sea Faeroese waters and Icelandic waters. Seventeen percent of these tags have so far been returned. In the future the researchers plan to study other key species of interest to UK and EU fishermen.