Rising carbon dioxide confuses brain signaling in fish

Nerve cells respond to acidifying waters

By Janet Raloff, 17:59 PM January 13, 2012

A new study may explain how rising carbon dioxide concentrations — and the ocean acidification they induce — can cause topsy-turvy changes in the behavior of fish. Like a flipped switch, the normal response of nerve cells can reverse as acidifying seawater perturbs how a fish regulates acids and bases in its body, including the brain.

“This could be a big deal,” says neurobiologist Andrew Dittman of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in ...

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