Please select your home edition
Edition
BandG Triton2 AUS 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'.
BandG AUS Triton2 660x82Festival of Sails 2017 660x82Zhik ZKG 660x82

Related Articles

When whales meet sails
CAMPER helmsman Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez found himself nearly face to face with whale in middle of North Atlantic Ocean. Currently the database for marine mammal strikes is very sparse. We are requesting sailors and boaters help to submit information on current and past incidents, however long ago that may be. By giving a location, date, identification if possible, and any other relevant information you can help scientists better understand where marine mammals are at risk for strikes
Posted on 8 Jan
Vendée Globe – Uncertainty about weather condition in North Atlantic
Alex Thomson and Armel le Cléac'h are probably looking closely at the wind models for the North Atlantic. Alex Thomson and Armel le Cléac'h are probably looking closely at the wind models for the North Atlantic. It does not seem to be easy.
Posted on 4 Jan
Seventh and Eighth blogs from on board Perie Banou II
Jon's tales from his epic 10th solo circumnavigation continues. Jon's tales from his epic 10th solo circumnavigation continues. This time he talks about the fierce gales and waves he met rounding the Cape of Good Hope. As always, it's told in Jon's unique and inimitable style...
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
Vendée Globe – Light winds for Banque Populaire and Hugo Boss
The first one to get out of it will have a nice north-westerly flow on the edge of the high pressure system. Banque Populaire and Hugo Boss are sailing in a complex weather system in a light wind zone. The first one to get out of it will have a nice north-westerly flow on the edge of the high pressure system.
Posted on 15 Dec 2016
Great Barrier Reef managers and industry prepare for summer
Marine park managers, scientists and experts recently met for the annual pre-summer workshop Marine park managers, scientists and experts recently met for the annual pre-summer workshop to assess climate-related risks to the Great Barrier Reef over the coming months. Current predictions by the Bureau of Meteorology and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are for a summer of average sea temperatures across the Great Barrier Reef.
Posted on 7 Dec 2016
Fourth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Oh no - not the coffee cup Oh no - not the coffee cup - Jon keeps us all entertained as he approaches Reunion Island. The B&G chartplotter tells me since leaving the pleasant mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon (by world standards, an isolated town), that I have sailed some 2559 NM and have 751nm to go to Le Port Reunion Island. French. Reunion is a Suburb (department) of Paris. Population 844,000.
Posted on 23 Nov 2016
America's Cup - Images from Day 1 of ACWS Fukuoka
Ricardo Pinto was on the water for Day 1 of the America's Cup World Series, Fukuoka, Japan. Ricardo Pinto was on the water for Day 1 of the America's Cup World Series, Fukuoka, Japan. Here's his take on the first day of racing of the America's Cup preliminaries in Asia
Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Third Blog from onboard Perie Banou II
Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. It is 0830am here. 1030 in Western Australia. Windy. Rather Windy. Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. Barometer 1018 to 1020 whatever they are. Last night I tapped the barometer and it sorta went oops. 1015hPa. Blimey.
Posted on 18 Nov 2016
Second Blog from onboard Perie Banou II
This is day 13 since leaving the mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon. Remote region. Beautiful town. This is day 13 since leaving the mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon. Remote region. Beautiful town. Kept cooler by the strong south winds, which make the trees bend and grow to the north. Carnarvon is nice, especially the months of September, October, November, and December. The wind is strong. Often near gale strength, with squalls and blue skies.
Posted on 15 Nov 2016
America's Cup - Stay and cruise on a catamaran at the America's Cup
Mondo Travel are offering week-long packages, staying on-board a spacious and modern catamaran. Mondo Travel are offering week-long packages, staying on-board a spacious and modern catamaran. From the official race course viewing areas to the intimate turquoise bays of the island, your professional skippers are on hand to show you the best of Bermuda, experiencing the 35th America’s Cup without compromise.
Posted on 9 Nov 2016