Reef fish lose brain power as oceans acidify

REUTERS

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Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology say reef fish are likely to suffer from cognitive decline as they adapt to higher levels of CO2 in the water over the next century. The scientists say they are already seeing the decline in species inhabiting waters off the New Guinea coast, where a carbon dioxide seep is providing a view of future conditions.
 
Off the coast of Papua New Guinea, there's a carbon dioxide seep that's giving marine biologists a view into the future. The water around the seep, while abundant with life, is highly acidic, with CO2 levels much like those predicted for surface ocean water 100 years from now.

Georgia Institute of Technology biologist, Danielle Dixson, says the seep is a time machine of sorts, offering a glimpse into how fish will be affected if climate models of the future are correct. She says the evidence so far does not favor the fish. Acidification has impaired their sense of smell and their ability to avoid predators.

 

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