fish emboldened

Acidic ocean water blunts the sense of smell in fish, making them bolder – perhaps recklessly so, according to a new study offering a glimpse of the oceans of the future. The findings suggest that, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, fish could suffer debilitating behavioral effects.

If reef fish behavior does not adapt to rising CO2 levels over coming generations, there could be serious consequences for the structure and function of future reef communities, the authors wrote in the study published in Nature Climate Change.

This is the first time people have been able to test what would happen in 100 years, said Danielle Dixson, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech University and co-author of the study, which was led by Australian researchers.

The differences are striking, said Karl Castillo, an assistant professor of marine sciences at the University of North Carolina who was not involved with the research. This is a strong study, Castillo said. “There’s no doubt there is something happening here due to acidification.” Heat Is Online, 14 Apr 2014 – The Daily Climate