Fish could lose sense of smell in acidifying oceans

August 24, 2009 • Daily Email Recap

The future’s more acid oceans could leave fish without a critical survival skill: their sense of smell.

After being raised in aquarium waters of comparable acidity to what is expected in the oceans of the end of the 21st century, clownfish demonstrated an inability to recognize smells. That could devastate the species, which relies on smell to find its way home.

Most research on acidification has focused on damage to crustaceans and coral, but the latest experiment — published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — suggests fish are imperiled, as well.

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