Fish Learn to Cope in a High CO2 World

Fish Learn to Cope in a High CO2 World

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Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) reported in the journal Nature Climate Change encouraging new findings that some fish may be less vulnerable to high CO2 and an acidifying ocean than previously feared.

“Human activity is expected to increase the acidity of the world’s oceans by 0.3 to 0.4 pH by the end of this century, on our present trends in CO2 emissions,” co-researcher Philip Munday said. “Previous studies, and our own research, have shown that growth and survival of juvenile fish can be seriously affected when the baby fish are exposed to these sorts of CO2 and pH levels. However when we exposed both parents and their offspring in more acidic water we found that the anemone fish, at least, were able to compensate for the change.” Based on evidence from past major extinction events, scientists have long feared that the acidity caused by the release of high levels of CO2 could cause havoc among sea-life, especially those which depend on calcium to form their bones and shells.

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