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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Losing Nemo?
6 July 2010 3:02 pm
If carbon emissions continue at their current rate, the lives of clown fish and other coral reef denizens may not end as happily as in the popular computer-animated film Finding Nemo. Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere eventually seeps into the ocean's surface, causing the water to become more acidic. In this new environment, young clown fish may be unable to sense chemical cues directing them away from predators and toward a suitable adult habitat. According to the new study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, clown fish swim toward streams of water containing a predator's pheromones and venture farther away from the safety of their reef habitats. Researchers detected the abnormal behavior when the water contained as little as 700 parts per million of CO2—a concentration some scientists say may be reached by 2100. This study is the first to show that an impaired sense of smell can have behavioral consequences for wild-caught fish and reveals that damselfish as well as clown fish are vulnerable. Researchers have known for some time that high CO2 concentrations in water can affect the ability of shellfish and crustaceans to build shells and skeletons. The new work describes how other marine species may suffer as well.