Europe’s fish are physically shrinking as water temperatures climb, according to a German study that examined everything from fish to plankton to bacteria, der Spiegel reports. Researchers don’t believe over-fishing or other factors can explain away the findings, either. “Our study provides strong evidence that temperature actually plays a major role,” they concluded.
“It’s huge,” one of the researchers says. “Size is a fundamental characteristic that is linked to a number of biological functions, such as fecundity—the capacity to reproduce.” Smaller fish also provide less meat for predators, to say nothing of seafood-loving humans. Researchers say it’s highly significant that the shrinkage hit different kinds of organisms—one recent Scottish study even suggested a similar correlation for sheep.