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Rising CO2 in Oceans May Hurt Fish

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Aired 6/25/09

An experiment by UC San Diego researchers shows that rising carbon dioxide levels in the ocean have the potential to affect the health of fish.

An experiment by UC San Diego researchers shows that rising carbon dioxide levels in the ocean have the potential to affect the health of fish.

Previous studies have shown that increasing carbon dioxide levels in the ocean hurt shell-forming creatures and corals.

But a new study from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows for the first time that CO2 can impact a fundamental bodily structure in fish.

The researchers exposed white seabass to high levels of carbon dioxide.

The fish experienced abnormally large growth in their ear bones as a result of the exposure.

The ear bones are used as a sensory tool to find food.

Scripps Oceanography Professor David Checkley is the lead author of the study.

"It's difficult to know what the implications are right now but I think what's perhaps most important is that there are potential implications that merit further experimentation," says Checkley.

Checkley says any deficit in the use of the ear bones could hurt the survival of the fish.

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