Tropical fish enduring off Sydney coast

July 11, 2009 at 2:52 PM

SYDNEY, July 12 (UPI) -- More tropical fish species are thriving off the Australian coast near Sydney because ocean temperatures have warmed, an ecologist says.

Marine ecologist David Booth of Sydney's University of Technology said when combined with the increasing strength of ocean currents in the region, warmer temperatures have made the traditionally cold waters more hospitable to fish species, the Sydney Morning Herald reported in its Sunday edition.

"More and more of the fish are surviving winter down here," Booth said. "So long as the temperature environment is correct, a lot of them will do just fine."

Booth said the growth of tropical fish species off Sydney's coast and the increasing temperatures are indicative of global climate change.

Peter Doherty, Australian Institute of Marine Science director, said the warming current has also allowed the New South Wales black sea urchin to survive in Tasmanian waters. Doherty told the Morning Herald the undersea creatures wreak havoc on the sea floor by destroying kelp beds.

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