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As Coral Deteriorates, Fish Get Risky

8 February 2014 4:00 pm
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As Coral Deteriorates, Fish Get Risky

Wikimedia Commons/Photo by Mikhail Rogov

Fish are beginning to engage in some risky business. As coral habitats slowly deteriorate due to pollution and climate change, fish are becoming fearless, researchers say. A study published online last week in the Journal of Animal Ecology finds juvenile fish in dead coral habitats exhibit fearless behavior—like swimming farther away from safe shelter—making them 75% more likely to be devoured by predators than those who live in healthy habitats. Scientists believe the behavior may be caused by dead coral interfering with the fishes’ sense of smell and ability to detect threats. 

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