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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: CO2 Makes Fish Dumb
16 August 2011 7:01 pm
To survive the complex, often-dangerous environment of a coral reef, the colorful reef fish Neopomacentrus azysron has to be a clever fish. Like many intelligent animals, it uses the right and left hemispheres of its brain for different purposes, which allows for quick problem-solving. But this reef fish could be in danger of losing its smarts as levels of CO2 in the ocean continue to rise due to human activity, according to a new study. Researchers raised one set of reef fish larvae in normal seawater and one set in water containing twice as much CO2—the level that the Pacific Ocean is expected to reach by 2100. When the fish grew up, the team put them in a maze. Each fish that had been spawned in the normal water consistently preferred to turn either right or left every time it reached the barrier, a sign of "handedness." But fish that had been spawned in high CO2 didn't have a favorite hand: they turned right or left at random each time they hit the barrier. This loss of handedness, the researchers report today in Biology Letters, may be a sign of other, more subtle developmental brain dysfunctions that might hurt the ability of this fish, and other marine species that could be similarly affected by CO2, to survive in a high-carbon future.
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