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Ocean acidification turning ‘Nemo’ fish deaf

Last Updated: Friday, June 3, 2011 - 15:58

Washington: Recent studies have shown that ocean acidification causes fish to lose their sense of smell.

Now, a new study has shown that this ocean climate change also impairs hearing in clownfish that inspired the film, ‘Finding Nemo’.

Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth``s oceans, caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Working with Professor Philip Munday at James Cook University, lead author Steve Simpson of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol reared larvae straight from hatching in different CO2 environments.

"We kept some of the baby clownfish in today``s conditions, bubbling in air, and then had three other treatments where we added extra CO2 based on the predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for 2050 and 2100," said Simpson.

After 17-20 days rearing, he monitored the response of his juvenile clownfish to the sounds of a predator-rich coral reef, consisting of noises produced by crustaceans and fish.

"Fish reared in today``s conditions swam away from the predator noise, but those reared in the CO2 conditions of 2050 and 2100 showed no response," said Simpson.

The study was published recently in Biology Letters.


First Published: Friday, June 3, 2011 - 15:58

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