This study was carried out to determine upper (CFMax) and lower (CTMin) thermal tolerance, acclimation response ratio (ARR) and thermal tolerance polygon of the European sea bass inhabiting the Iskenderun Bay, the most southeasterly part of the Mediterranean Sea, at three acclimation temperatures (15, 20, 25 degrees C). Acclimation temperature significantly affected the CTMin and CTMax values of the fish. At 0.3 degrees C min(-1) cooling or heating rate. CTMin ranged from 4.10 to 6.77 degrees C and CTMax ranged from 33.23 to 35.95 degrees C in three acclimation temperatures from 15 to 25 C. Thermal tolerance polygon for the juveniles at the tested acclimation temperatures was calculated to be 296.14 degrees C-2. In general, the current data show that our sea bass population possesses acclimation response ratio (ARR) values (0.25-0.27) similar to some tropical species. The cold tolerance values attained for this species ranged from 4.10 to 6.77 degrees C, suggesting that cold winter temperatures may not pose danger during the culture of European sea bass in deep ponds or high water exchange rate systems. Upper thermal tolerance is more of a problem in the southern part of the Mediterranean as maximum water temperature in ponds may sometimes exceed 33-34 degrees C, during which underground cool-water should be used to lower ambient water temperature in the mid-summer. For successful culture of sea bass in ponds, temperature should be maintained around 25 degrees C throughout the year and this can be managed under greenhousing systems using underground well-waters, commonly available in the region. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.