Image via: Getty Images
Turns out clownfish the world over may soon become "lost" as the increasing carbon dioxide in oceans waters causes the clownfish to become disoriented, reports The Guardian. Clownfish, and to be honest, quite a number of other marine life depend on "odours in seawater" to determine proper habitats to live in. With the increase in carbon dioxide in the water, things start to smell, well fishy, causing the clownfish (and others) to lose their way.As we release more carbon emissions into the atmosphere, many of them settle in the oceans, which act as a carbon sink. Since preindustrial times, ocean pH has dropped 0.1 points, but scientists estimate that we can see another 0.3 to 0.4 point drop by 2100. This change in pH is estimated to "damage their olfactory system," causing them to "sense vital odours in the more acidic waters." Even worse is that the fish have a hard time distinguishing their parents and other fish, and go near objects that they previously avoided.
In normal seawater (8.15 pH) the clownfish have no problem finding the reefs and anemones that they typically call home. In water with pH of 7.8 (which is estimated conditions in 2100) the fish started wandering toward habitats that are unsuitable for their survival. Just a few points lower, at 7.6 pH, the clownfish were completely disoriented and just swam around in a haphazard pattern - more haphazard than fish normally seem to swim in.
With fish losing their way, seeking out things they normally avoid, and generally not able to find their way home, this could be devastating to fish populations - as if they're not already having enough trouble as it is. Poor Nemo, will he ever find his way home now?:The Guardian
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