Monday, July 19, 2010

Ocean acidification - Are fish in trouble?

There are many different reports from around the globe, and they all agree that our oceans are becoming increasingly acidic. This is mostly the result of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to human activity in form of excessive fossil fuels burning. Increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means that more carbon dioxide gets dissolved in the water, and thus the oceans are becoming more acidic.

Ocean acidification will not only have catastrophic consequences for shellfish that will find it hard to grow shells with the increased acidity of ocean water but on fish population too. In fact, the latest study carried out by the British scientists showed that ocean acidification will also likely have direct negative impact on many fish species as many of them will lose their ability to smell danger.

According to British scientists young fish reared in water with elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the water will likely become unable to distinguish the scent of predators and even seem attracted to their smell. This could significantly disrupt the balance of marine food chain, and cause serious decline of many fish species.

The first tests have revealed that the fish larvae that had been reared in water containing higher amounts of CO2 similar to those that will likely occur in most of our oceans by the end of the century, spent 93% of their time in the flow carrying the predator’s scent and even appeared to be attracted to this scent while fish that had not been exposed to the increased levels of acidity mostly avoided the flow of water with the predator scent in it.

And although scientists agree that it is very difficult to predict how acidic will our oceans be at the end of this century one thing looks to be sure, namely the fact that ocean acidification will have major negative impact on marine life.

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