This dataset contains temperature dependent sex ratio and length/weight data for coral reef damselfish Acanthochromis polyacanthus from the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
We exposed juvenile spiny chromis (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) from the central Great Barrier Reef (Palm Island group) to temperatures 1.5 and 3 ˚C higher than summer average temperatures at different stages of development. This allowed us to determine the period within which temperature can influence sex determination for this population (thermosensitive period; TSP).
Two experimental temperature treatments were tested; +1.5 ˚C (30.0 ˚C) and +3 ˚C (31.5 ˚C) above current-day summer (December) temperatures. A single-shift design was used to determine the length of the TSP. In the shift design used for this study, test subjects commenced development at a temperature expected to produce a balanced sex ratio (current average environmental temperature). Groups of subjects (shift groups) were then transferred at sequential times during development to test temperatures expected to produce a biased sex ratio. If no bias in sex ratio was observed for a shift group at the end of the experimental period, this indicated that the TSP had ended prior to that group’s transfer time.
Each clutch was split evenly between the two temperature treatments (+1.5 and +3 ˚C) and then further distributed between four shift groups and a control group. All fish commenced rearing at the control temperature (28.5 ± 0.4 ˚C) and were then raised to their assigned temperature treatment after 0 (G0), 10 (G10), 25 (G25) or 60 (G60) days post hatching (dph). An additional control group from each family remained at the population’s mean summer temperature (28.5 ˚C) for the duration of the experiment in order to measure the sex ratio at present-day temperatures. For the purpose of analysis this control group was identified as G90. At 90 dph the gender of all fish in switch groups and the control was determined. A small sample of juveniles was taken from each grow-out treatment for weight and length analysis.