Saturday, 13 September 2014

Acid oceans rob sharks of the ability to smell prey

The study of a smooth dogfish revealed how badly it was affected by carbon dioxide in the water

The increasing acidification of ocean waters caused by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could rob sharks of their ability to sense the smell of food, a new study suggests.

Elevated carbon dioxide levels impaired the odour-tracking behaviour of the smooth dogfish, a shark whose range includes the Atlantic Ocean off the eastern United States.

Adult sharks significantly avoided squid odour after swimming in a pool of water treated with carbon dioxide.

The carbon dioxide concentrations tested are consistent with climate forecasts for the mid-century and 2100.

The study, published online in the journal Global Change Biology, suggests that predator-prey interactions in nature could be influenced by elevated carbon dioxide concentrations of ocean waters.

Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is absorbed into ocean waters, where it dissolves and lowers the pH of the water.

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