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Fish ignore alarming noises in acidifying seawater

Like clueless teens in a horror movie, juvenile clownfish don’t swim away from scary sounds

By
6:56pm, May 31, 2011

Greenhouse gases dissolving in the world’s oceans may have the eerie effect of disrupting young fishes’ natural reluctance to swim toward scary noises.

When raised in water mimicking the predicted acidifying chemistry of future oceans, juvenile clownfish appeared perfectly willing to swim toward speakers broadcasting the recorded daytime sounds of a reef teeming with predators, says fish ecologist Steve Simpson of the University of Bristol in England. “When you’re a centimeter long as a fish, anything is a predator,” he says.

Juvenile orange clownfish (Amphiprion percula) looking for a home on the reef normally spend minimal t

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