Please select your home edition
Edition
Beneteau SAIL Oceanis 35-38-41 728x90

Climate change could stop fish finding their friends

by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies on 6 Jul 2014
Anemone Fish in tropical waters off Japan. Ian McLeod, Tropwater, James Cook University
Fish prefer to group with individuals with whom they are familiar, like humans, rather than strangers. This gives numerous benefits including higher growth and survival rates, greater defence against predators and faster social learning. However, high carbon dioxide levels, such as those anticipated by climate change models, may hinder the ability of fish to recognise one another and form groups with familiar individuals.

Scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, Australia, have been studying the effect of carbon dioxide on the schooling behaviour of the tropical damselfish Chromis viridis. Lead investigator Miss Lauren Nadler found that juvenile fish normally require three weeks to recognise their school-mates, however elevated carbon dioxide levels significantly impaired this ability.

Climate change models predict that carbon dioxide levels and ocean acidity will more than double before the end of the century. To investigate if this would affect social recognition in fish, schools were kept under elevated levels of carbon dioxide, similar to those projected for 2100 by models produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Individual fish were then given a 'choice test' where they were placed between two schools – one of familiar fish and the other made up of strangers. Whilst fish kept under normal conditions consistently chose the familiar school, fish reared under high CO2 conditions showed no preference for either the unfamiliar or familiar school.

It is thought that carbon dioxide interferes with the functioning of neuroreceptors in the fish brains. Higher carbon dioxide levels change the concentration of ions (electrically charged atoms and molecules) in the fishes’ blood, altering the way that the neuroreceptors work. This impairs basic senses, such as sight and smell, which are vital for recognition in fish.

These results could have serious implications for tropical fish, whose habitat is already threatened by climate change.

'Familiarity is an important trait for defence, particularly in a predator-rich environment like a coral reef', says Miss Nadler.

'Since half of all fish species in the world school at some point during their lives, including economically important species, these effects could be critical for species that rely on group-living to avoid predators'.
Sydney Harbour Boat Storage 660x82Sail World NZ Lone WolfJeanneau Sunfast 660x82

Related Articles

Lisa Blair becomes first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica solo
The World Sailing Speed Record Council ratified Lisa Blair’s circumnavigation of Antarctica, a 183 day long journey. The World Sailing Speed Record Council has officially ratified Lisa Blair’s circumnavigation of Antarctica, a 183 day long journey. Lisa’s solo and unassisted circumnavigation was not short of challenges, with seven metre seas and 40 knot winds leading to the dismasting of her 50ft yacht, Climate Action Now, just 72 days in.
Posted on 24 Sep
New rules to better protect and enable access to the Whitsundays
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said it was vital to protect the area’s values The updates to the Whitsunday Plan of Management — an area-specific plan that manages use in this highly visited region in addition to Reef-wide zoning — follows extensive consultation.
Posted on 10 Aug
Brisbane Boat Show – 18 days to go
The Brisbane Boat Show opens in less than three weeks, capturing all the Queensland boating lifestyle has to offer. There will be a huge clearance of fishing tackle and show only deals. If you love boats, fishing and water sports you don’t want to miss the Brisbane Boat Show.
Posted on 7 Aug
Rolex Fastnet Race - New high resolution tidal model
This new model covers the race area in unprecidented detail, with a resolution of 500m and time steps every 30 minutes. We have been working hard on a new high resolution model for North West Europe and we are excited to be able to offer you the opportunity to be the first to test it in anger for the Rolex Fastnet Race.
Posted on 30 Jul
Ocean Alliance and yachting industry clean up Sydney’s beaches
Take 3, the environment advocacy group collected over 20,000 pieces of plastic and 200 recyclable bottles and cans. Backed by the environment advocacy and education group, Take 3, the group collected over 20,000 pieces of plastic and 200 recyclable bottles and cans.
Posted on 24 Jul
VMR Whitsundays celebrate the arrival of their new rescue vessel
In a ceremony hosted at Abell Point Marina last week, VMR Whitsundays announced the arrival of their new rescue vessel. In a ceremony hosted at Abell Point Marina last week, VMR Whitsundays delightedly announced the arrival of their new rescue vessel. Abell Point Marina VMR 1, as it has been named, has been 10 years in the making and certainly a labour of love for the VMR committee.
Posted on 24 Jul
Marine Notice - Official Nautical Charts
Marine Notice draw attention to importance of using only official nautical charts to comply with flag State requirements This Marine Notice draws attention to the importance of using only official nautical charts to comply with flag State requirements, which implement the relevant regulations of Chapter V of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), as amended.
Posted on 23 Jul
Marine Notice - VHF marine radios - Automatic channel switching
This Notice provides information on how VHF channel switching may interfere with safe operation of vessel communications This Marine Notice provides information on how automatic VHF channel switching may interfere with the safe operation of vessel communications.
Posted on 23 Jul
The four-year treasure hunt for the hoodwinker sunfish
Sunfish are famous for looking odd. They are the largest bony fish in the world, can grow to over 3 metres in length Sunfish are famous for looking odd. They are the largest bony fish in the world, can grow to over 3 metres in length, weigh up to 2 tonnes, and look a little bit like a suitcase with wings.
Posted on 22 Jul
Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul