It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Rising human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous systems of sea fish, with serious consequences for their survival, according to new research.
Carbon dioxide concentrations predicted to occur in the ocean by the end of this century will interfere with fishes' ability to hear, smell, turn and evade predators, the research found.
The Australian Research Council's Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies said it had been testing the performance of baby coral fish in sea water containing higher levels of dissolved CO2 for several years.
"And it is now pretty clear that they sustain significant disruption to their central nervous system, which is likely to impair their chances of survival," said Phillip Munday, a professor who reported the findings.
In a paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, Munday and his colleagues also detail what they say is world-first evidence that high CO2 levels in sea water disrupts a key brain receptor in fish.
"Our early work showed that the sense of smell of baby fish was harmed by higher CO2 in the water, meaning they found it harder to locate a reef to settle on or detect the warning smell of a predator fish," said Munday
The research also showed that the fish also tended to lose their natural instinct to turn left or right -- an important factor in schooling behavior.
"All this led us to suspect it wasn't simply damage to their individual senses that was going on, but rather that higher levels of carbon dioxide were affecting their whole central nervous system."