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Fish Disorientated as Ocean Acidity Rises

by 5m Editor
4 February 2009, at 12:00am

GENERAL - As the carbon levels rise, ocean acid levels also rise giving fish a biologically difficult time living in the seas.

According to a recent article, when fish grow and develop in waters with high acidity they lose certain senses. For example, a study found that baby clownfish rely on their sense of smell to search for a home, reports TGDaily. When exposed to high acidity levels, they no longer responded to smells which should have been familiar.

Marine biologists Phillip Munday and Kjell Doving conducted a study which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists. It was found that if acidification of the ocean continues without any slow down, then the sustainability of marine wildlife populations will be significantly reduced because the fish will be growing and developing with reduced sensory abilities.

The study was conducted due to the reportedly rapid rise in acidity in of Earth's oceans.

The process works like this: Seawater absorbs carbon dioxide, when this occurs the proportion of hydrogen ions fall. Since pre-industrial times the pH of the ocean has fallen by .1, and it's predicted that it will "more than likely fall" by another .3 to .4 within the next 100 years. These numbers probably sound small, but they represent an unprecedented change - not only in degree but also pace when compared to the past 650,000 years. Marine life might not be capable of survival.

Typically research on acidification and the environment has focused on the vulnerability of shellfish, corals, and crustaceans whose shells become not only weakened but also dissolve within the confines of acidic waters. The latest findings prove that fish could also be directly and significantly affected.

5m Editor