Claim: Ocean Acidification and Warming Disrupts Fish Shoals

Peer-Reviewed Publication

UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE

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IMAGE: CAESIO TERES IN FIJI BY NICK HOBGOOD view more CREDIT: CREATIVE COMMONS

Researchers from the University of Adelaide have found that the way fish interact in groups is being upset by ocean acidification and global warming.

“Fish show gregarious behaviour and cluster in shoals which helps them to acquire food and for protection against predators,” said project leader Professor Ivan Nagelkerken from the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories.

“Many gregarious tropical species are shifting poleward under current ocean warming and interacting in new ways with fish in more temperate areas.”

Under controlled laboratory conditions the researchers evaluated how species interacted and behaved in new ways with changing temperature and acidification.

The rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is driving up ocean surface temperatures and causing ocean acidification. Although warming and acidification are different phenomena, they interact to the detriment of marine ecosystems.

“We found that tropical and temperate fish species tend to move to the right when coordinating together in a shoal especially when spooked by a predator, but this bias significantly diminished under ocean acidification,” said University of Adelaide PhD student Angus Mitchell who performed the experiments.

“Mixed shoals of tropical and temperate species became less cohesive under future climate conditions and showed slower escape responses from potential threats.”

Professor David Booth from the University of Technology, Sydney collaborated on the study.

“Our findings highlight the direct effect of climate stressors on fish behaviour and the interplay with the indirect effects of new species interactions,” he said.

The team of researchers published their findings in the journal Global Change Biology.

“Strong shoal cohesion and coordinated movement affect the survival of a species: whether to acquire food or evade predators,” said Professor Nagelkerken.

“If the ability for fish to work together is detrimentally affected it could determine the survival of particular species in the oceans of the future. Tropical species may initially fare poorly when moving into new temperate areas.”


JOURNAL

Global Change Biology

DOI

10.1111/gcb.16022 

SUBJECT OF RESEARCH

Animals

ARTICLE TITLE

Ocean warming and acidification degrade shoaling performance and lateralization of novel tropical–temperate fish shoals

ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE

17-Dec-2021

From EurekAlert!

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lee
December 17, 2021 10:21 pm

They were exposed for 38 days to one of 12 treatments. Acclimatisation 101. LOL.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  lee
December 18, 2021 12:43 am

Females and juvenile fish fared worse.

Jay Willis
Reply to  lee
December 18, 2021 3:59 am

They were kept in the same tank throughout. The response may tank based rather than treatment. Since it is behind a paywall I can’t review it. But it seems odd that a fish species would all evolve to escape to the right. Surely the predator would be at an advantage in that case. Also binary decisions make the stats interesting and they seem to have used very simplistic tests. Overall I suspect it’s utter bollox.

MarkW
Reply to  Jay Willis
December 18, 2021 9:05 am

Having a predictable escape pattern just makes it easier for the predators.

Rich Davis
Reply to  MarkW
December 18, 2021 2:27 pm

Here’s the algorithm. If you don’t have a fish butt in front of you swim away from the predator. If you have a fish butt in front of you, follow it.

rah
Reply to  MarkW
December 19, 2021 2:21 am

Oh, I don’t know. It’s worked for a lot of politicians for decades.

Ed Hanley
December 17, 2021 10:24 pm

The ocean is alkaline, not acidic. We all know this. So it is NOT being “acidified” because it’s pH continues to be much higher than 7.

However, from NOAA’s website: “Because of human-driven increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there is more CO2 dissolving into the ocean. The ocean’s average pH is now around 8.1, which is basic (or alkaline), but as the ocean continues to absorb more CO2, the pH decreases and the ocean becomes more acidic.”

We have escaped from the bonds of science and logic. In the same sentence our government tells us that the ocean is alkaline, which is true, and acidic, which is not true. Ladies and gentlemen of the science community, there is no hope.

Teddy Lee
Reply to  Ed Hanley
December 18, 2021 12:32 am

Surely the academic plonkers should say “ the oceans are becoming less alkaline”.However even that is ASF, Australian Science Fiction!

Chris Wright
Reply to  Teddy Lee
December 18, 2021 3:55 am

But “less alkaline” sounds much less alarming…..

Ellen
Reply to  Chris Wright
December 18, 2021 8:48 am

Try “debasing”.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Chris Wright
December 18, 2021 2:10 pm

Worse than that! It would sound beneficial.

The real problem with the oceans is all the DHMO that has accumulated in them. It has to be having some effect on the fish!

WXcycles
Reply to  Ed Hanley
December 18, 2021 8:18 am

The ocean is alkaline, not acidic. We all know this. So it is NOT being “acidified” because it’s pH continues to be much higher than 7.

oh, picky-picky!

WXcycles
Reply to  WXcycles
December 20, 2021 1:18 am

I see /sarc rules apply still, even now … lol

twobob
Reply to  Ed Hanley
December 18, 2021 9:44 am

When the glaciation took place and the sea levels fell.
what happened to all that salt?
When all the ice melted 10,000 years ago where did all the fresh water go?
e

Last edited 1 month ago by twobob
LdB
December 17, 2021 10:32 pm

“Under controlled laboratory conditions the researchers evaluated how species interacted and behaved in new ways with changing temperature and acidification”

So in a non normal enviroment species behave strangely and when you vary the conditions they behave even stranger … and I thought biology had learned the lessons from the past stupidity in the field and made advances but clearly not. Hell if it gets warm enough they could all just get like a dog chasing it’s tail and go round and round in circles eventually dying.

Look on the bright side the sharks are apparently getting right handed as they get warmer as per an earlier study on this sort of stupidity.

If you think I am being harsh perhaps look at works on species “handedness” the mystery was solved in 2017 and for every species studied that preference is set before birth.

Last edited 1 month ago by LdB
Flash Chemtrail
Reply to  LdB
December 18, 2021 9:44 am

Climate Change Causes Systemic Right Supremacy!

December 17, 2021 10:33 pm

One would get the impression from the article that the Oceans are acidic and getting more so. However, in chemistry, pH is the measure of the acidic or basic nature of a solution. Pure water has a pH of 7.0, which is neutral. A solution with a pH over 7.0 is considered basic, or alkaline. One with a pH lower than 7 is acidic.
The pH of the oceans is above 8, which makes it basic. Something like vinegar has a pH of 2.5. Oceans at a pH of 8 are not acidic but alkaline. Alkalinity is more damaging to life but ‘acidic’ is much scarier to the public.

Phil Rae
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
December 18, 2021 5:48 am

Agreed, Nicholas. Much more important, however, is the fact that the ocean is extensively buffered against major pH shifts. The CO2/HCO3- system is one of the most important buffering systems on the planet and operates not only in the oceans but also in humans and the vast majority of life on the planet. It would be practically impossible to significantly affect the pH of seawater since it is tightly controlled within 1 pH unit above or below the pK of the bicarbonate ion. And of course there’s also massive deposits of carbonate rock around to act as the ultimate guarantor that pH will remain in safe territory.

Mango Thonotosassa
Reply to  Phil Rae
December 19, 2021 12:21 am

And let’s take a moment to contemplate those massive deposits of carbonate rock: CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere reacts with ocean water to form carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is quickly buffered to bicarbonate. Bicarbonate is converted into CaCO3 by sea creatures to make coral, sea shells, etc., which eventually becomes limestone. In this way, over the course of hundreds of millions of years, massive amounts of CO2 are removed from the oceans, (and presumably from the atmosphere) and converted into limestone. That would explain what happened to the enormously high concentration of CO2 that was present in our atmosphere at the end of the Pre-cambrian period. It was gradually removed from the atmosphere by marine organisms, plankton, and terrestrial plants, and converted into limestone, oil & gas, and coal.

Hmmm…, so how much CO2 did it take to make the carbonate rock deposits we see around the world? Here’s a quick, ‘back of the napkin’ calculation:

For each lb. of limestone, ~0.45 lbs of CO2 is removed from the oceans. We know this because during the cement making process, 100 lbs of calcined (crushed & heated) limestone yields only ~55 lbs of CaO (Portland cement). The other ~45 lbs. get off-gassed as CO2. Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore estimates that limestone makes up ~8% (or ~100 million billion tons) of the earth’s crust. So since the end of the Pre-cambrian (~500 million years ago), marine organisms have removed ~45 quadrillion tons of CO2 from the Earth’s oceans (and much of that presumably from the atmosphere) and converted it into the limestone deposits we see around the world.

Phil.
Reply to  Phil Rae
December 19, 2021 9:03 am

The pKa of bicarbonate is about 6.1, the attached Bjerrum plot shows the range:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bjerrum_plot#/media/File:Carbonate_system_of_seawater.svg

Brad
December 17, 2021 10:49 pm

Just wait until they “develop” a fish translator so the fish can tell us how scary it is in their own “words”.

Redge
Reply to  Brad
December 18, 2021 1:25 am

No need, the “scientists” are already translating the fishes feelings through the medium of interpretive dance

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Redge
December 18, 2021 8:51 am

Well put. 🙂

Rich Davis
Reply to  Brad
December 18, 2021 2:14 pm

Here’s the transcript:

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Brad-DXT
December 17, 2021 11:42 pm

When I saw that line “Under controlled laboratory conditions the researchers evaluated how species interacted and behaved in new ways with changing temperature and acidification.” my BS meter pegged out.
I believe this was peer reviewed by pals.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Brad-DXT
December 18, 2021 8:54 am

They should evaluate the fish species in the place they live, the oceans.

Apparently, the oceans are not warm enough or “acidic” enough for them.

PCman999
Reply to  Brad-DXT
December 19, 2021 11:48 pm

I believe this was peer reviewed by the fish themselves, and they didn’t say anything was wrong so it must be good, right?

December 18, 2021 12:33 am

Under controlled laboratory conditions the researchers evaluated how species interacted and behaved in new ways with changing temperature and acidification.

In other news: Scamentists identify a gigantic fish tank hiding in plain sight on planet earth.

Coeur de Lion
December 18, 2021 12:40 am

The fish couldn’t escape, either

December 18, 2021 12:43 am

It is believed that 3,000 years ago, the forests were much larger, even reaching the highlands. Approximately 500 BC, the climate became colder, and glaciers began to form, destroying parts of the forests.

Mango Thonotosassa
Reply to  zee raja
December 18, 2021 10:32 pm

Yes, and the stumps of large trees that are exposed by melting glaciers is evidence!

Alan the Brit
December 18, 2021 12:53 am

“Under controlled laboratory conditions”

Questionable impartiality!!! Also, isn’t there around 50 times as much CO2 naturally in the oceans than in the atmosphere???

Rhoda R.
December 18, 2021 1:05 am

How can increasing warmth of the oceans cause it to absorb more CO2? I thought that with rising heat most liquids (water IS a liquid, I assume) release gases.

Philo
Reply to  Rhoda R.
December 18, 2021 5:46 pm

You are correct, Rhoda. A good clarification to call.

Phil.
Reply to  Rhoda R.
December 19, 2021 9:09 am

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing faster due to combustion emissions than the solubility/temperature relationship so the oceans continue to absorb CO2.

PCman999
Reply to  Phil.
December 19, 2021 11:53 pm

But the measurements of ocean pH levels are few and far between. Even the new Argos temperature measurements are inadequate to the task of taking measurements fine enough to understand what’s going on in the oceans.

fretslider
December 18, 2021 1:37 am

“ Tropical fish became bolder under ocean acidification (after 4 weeks),”

I would argue they’d probably had enough of being messed around

Rory Forbes
December 18, 2021 1:40 am

If these cretins are claiming such disastrous “acidification” from only a ~35% increase in CO2, one can but wonder what the 10 + times higher CO2 concentrations, in the past, did to the pH. Think of the marine life … oh the horror! In any event, shouldn’t a warming ocean be forcing CO2 into the atmosphere? I could see, if the oceans were cooling, a slight reduction in pH … but not from warming. Someone is very confused. Perhaps one of our trolls can explain it.

Once a pathological liar is allowed to continue unchecked, they’ll just invent more and more lavish stories … exactly as Brandon has been doing his entire career.

comment image

WXcycles
Reply to  Rory Forbes
December 18, 2021 8:29 am

Been a very long time since the truth was considered interesting, let alone vital … it’s not been hip since about mid 1992.

PCman999
Reply to  Rory Forbes
December 19, 2021 11:55 pm

That graph alone should be more than enough to silence any sensible climate alarmist, but none of them are sensible.

Greytide
December 18, 2021 2:05 am

Having just been diving in the Indian Ocean (Very Large Tank!!), the shoals of snapper etc seemed to be just fine. Not one was complaining…..

Last edited 1 month ago by Greytide
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Greytide
December 18, 2021 9:12 am

The only place the fish are having trouble (I guess turning left instead of right is considered trouble) is in the fish tanks the scientists put them in. Put them in the ocean and they will do just fine.

Climate believer
December 18, 2021 2:58 am

According to NOAA the ocean’s average pH is now around 8.1, it used to be around 8.2.

It has taken at least 200 years to do that. That is not rapid change. Life will adapt.

This is a climate alarmists nothing burger.

Ed Hanley
Reply to  Climate believer
December 18, 2021 4:19 am

“Life will adapt” is not in the vocabulary of the climate alarmists and is, in fact, a forbidden thought. Please report to the Ministry of Truth for re-education.

WXcycles
Reply to  Ed Hanley
December 18, 2021 8:33 am

Whipper-snappers in the UK, holiday in Bali … oh … the humanity!

Mike McHenry
Reply to  Climate believer
December 18, 2021 8:12 am

pH is an early 20th century concept. So NOAA must be using a MODEL

Joao Martins
December 18, 2021 3:17 am

Some more fishy BS…

Peer review is dead, a thing of the past.

Garboard
December 18, 2021 4:57 am

Doesn’t ph around a reef or other biological ly active area fluctuate greatly depending on a number of variables? There is no uniform ocean ph

Last edited 1 month ago by Garboard
Rud Istvan
Reply to  Garboard
December 18, 2021 9:44 am

Yes. The extreme illustrated in essay Shell Games in ebook Blowing Smoke was Florida Bay. From where the Everglades empties into it via the mangrove fringe to Key West is 60 miles. On the brackish mangrove shore fringe, winter pH can be as low as 5.4 (actually acidic thanks to Everglades fresh water). While in August near Key West the afternoon pH can be 9.6 because of thallassia sea grass photosynthesis. Yet FB marine life thrives year round because adapted. Conch (Key West is nicknamed the Conch Republic), snook, tarpon, spiny lobster….

Right-Handed Shark
December 18, 2021 5:42 am

I for one am pleased to hear that it’s not just us sharks that are affected by climate change. Only in our case, the CO2 gave us the right hand tropism whereas it seems to have taken it away from my cousins.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
December 18, 2021 9:16 am

Now you sharks have an advantage, since by reading this article you know the fish turn right when they are frightened by predators.

I wonder if those other fish, who are afraid of sharks, read WUWT? If they do, they may turn left next time to throw you off the track.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tom Abbott
david chorley
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 20, 2021 9:01 am

If they watch Alec Baldwin films they may do a “Crazy Ivan” and then shoot you

H. D. Hoese
December 18, 2021 6:31 am

Nagelkerken is the corresponding author, also on this other one and has a long list as a co-author on a variety of subjects, including one on mangroves and nematodes. The article below where they “quantified 14 behavioural traits” of “feeding and shoaling behaviours” seems to come to a different conclusion. Not sure how they did this, but putting fish in an aquarium like enclosure might be interesting, but not necessarily predictive. Schools are tight in single species forage species most probably to slow predation, predators the opposite, looser schools with more species. No data available and apparently used “mixed species or temperate only,” but behavior change would not be unusual whatever the cause(s). Abstracts may or may not reflect the paper well.

Angus Mitchell, David J. Booth, Ivan Nagelkerken. 2021. Ocean warming and acidification degrade shoaling performance and lateralization of novel tropical–temperate fish shoals.
Global Change Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16022
   Final conclusion in abstract
“Because strong shoal cohesion and lateralization are key determinants of species fitness, their degradation under ocean warming and acidification could adversely affect species performance in novel assemblages in a future ocean, and might slow down tropical species range extensions.”

Ericka O. C. Coni, David J. Booth, Camilo M. Ferreira, Ivan Nagelkerken. 2021. Behavioural generalism could facilitate coexistence of tropical and temperate fishes under climate change. Journal of Animal Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13599
   Final conclusion in abstract
“4.We here show that at warmer and colder range edges where community structures are being reshuffled due to climate change, behavioural generalism and niche modification are potential mechanisms adopted by tropical range extenders and native temperate fishes to adjust to novel species interactions under climate change.”

Of course EurekAlert is going to put out the negative. Reverse of old song, now Accentuate the negative, eliminate the positive. Tropical species often do poorly in temperate waters!

Simonfromashby
December 18, 2021 6:34 am

More acidic, less alkaline; more or less that what and when?

More or less than yesterday? Last week? Last year a decade ago.

Baring in mind the cyclical nature of climate, weather and ocean currents, how long a data set would be needed to able to accurately claim that a clear trend had been established in any one place never mind the world’s oceans as a whole?

As for replicating the world’s oceans in a laboratory – I’m not buying it.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Simonfromashby
December 18, 2021 9:19 am

“As for replicating the world’s oceans in a laboratory – I’m not buying it.”

I like your attitude.

Andy Pattullo
December 18, 2021 8:15 am

Where did real science go? This is utter nonsense and means nothing about natural ecology. One of my first University research projects was doing similar CO2 driven fish experiments that had no real link to nature and from which no reliable conclusions could be reached about the influence of natural changes on fish in the wild. Fortunately I got a real job that depends on real science and never had to repeat that experience.

WXcycles
December 18, 2021 8:17 am

They needed a professor for that …

MarkW
December 18, 2021 9:00 am

It’s amazing how a change of 0.002C in water temperature can impact fish behavior.

Stephen Skinner
December 18, 2021 9:05 am

As the oceans become more ‘acidic’ how would they be described when ocean Ph = 7?
Currently oceans have a slight negative charge. Is there anywhere on the planet where the seas have a positive charge and if so why?

Paul S.
December 18, 2021 10:43 am

EurekAlert. What a bunch of carp.

Philo
Reply to  Paul S.
December 18, 2021 5:57 pm

I wouldn’t slam Eureka Alert. They do a good job highlighting the bad papers by pushing them into the lime light.

The current paper probably would have some good press, it probably will anyway, but the scientific world has had time to highlight the misconceptions shown.

Rocketscientist
December 18, 2021 12:07 pm

Maybe the fish were American tourist fish who didn’t know the Aussie rules of driving. News flash to the authors: fish navigate in 3 dimensions.
All my years of diving among reef fish has demonstrated that when presented with a potential predator the shoals of schooling fish will divert left, or right, or both left and right, or left right and up and down too!

markl
December 18, 2021 12:50 pm

“Under controlled laboratory conditions” says it all. It would take an extremely large tank and lots of environmental controls to mimic fish schools in the ocean.

Kevin McNeill
December 18, 2021 1:11 pm

Orbs, big brass ones.

Doonman
December 18, 2021 2:19 pm

The rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is driving up ocean surface temperatures and causing ocean acidification.

The ocean is a basic, infinitely buffered solution which can never become acidic and it is impossible for the atmosphere to heat the ocean.

This article has been peer reviewed. That must mean that any peers accepting these assumptions make those peers idiots too.

Tom in Florida
December 18, 2021 3:44 pm

“We found that tropical and temperate fish species tend to move to the right…”

Of course that is bad for liberals.

observa
December 18, 2021 4:28 pm

Hold on broiling fishies as the ice cavalry are coming are coming to the rescue-
The ‘doomsday’ glacier is on the brink of collapse (msn.com)

Dennis Kelley
December 18, 2021 4:38 pm

According to the news release, “The rising oncentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is driving up ocean surface temperatures and causing ocean acidification. Although warming and acidification are different phenomena, they interact to the detriment of marine ecosystems.”

And according to NOAA, “Because of human-driven increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there is more CO2 dissolving into the ocean. The ocean’s average pH is now around 8.1, which is basic (or alkaline), but as the ocean continues to absorb more CO2, the pH decreases and the ocean becomes more acidic.”

One question that has arisen for me is, if warming ocean water releases carbon dioxide because it is less able to hold CO2 in solution as it warms (which we know is true), then how do warming oceans increase in acidification because more CO2 dissolves into the ocean? 

Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for this, but it seems on the face of it to defy logic. I hope that some of the truly knowledgeable folks here can address this.

Phil.
Reply to  Dennis Kelley
December 19, 2021 9:33 am

There is an equilibrium between the CO2 concentration in the seawater and that in the atmosphere. This equilibrium is sensitive to temperature so if the seawater temperature increases then the ratio of the atmospheric CO2/seawaterCO2 will increase. However if the atmospheric concentration is increased due to other means (combustion) then it’s possible for the ocean to continue absorbing O2 regardless of temperature.

PCman999
Reply to  Phil.
December 20, 2021 12:33 am

I wonder if an idea I have for carbon capture would work, not that it’s really needed but in order that climate alarmists can stop soiling themselves. The solubility of CO2 varying with temp has been mentioned here many times, also that the bottom of the oceans is very cold, close to 0°C. So what if you ran a pipeline from big emitters of CO2 to the bottom of the oceans, pumping out the CO2 down there, thinnly spread out so the CO2 is likely to be absorbed by the time it floats to the surface.

Dennis Kelley
Reply to  Phil.
December 20, 2021 8:11 am

Of course – makes sense! Thank you for your reply, which dusted off some of my brain cobwebs and reminded me of some basic college chemistry principles.

Pat from kerbob
December 19, 2021 3:32 pm

The ocean holds a 1000 times as much heat as the atmosphere
So I still don’t grasp alarmist science that says GHE in the atmosphere of 1 degree can raise the ocean temp by 1 degree?

Maybe in a couple thousand years. But in a few decades?

Pat from kerbob
December 19, 2021 3:38 pm

And
Is this acidification and temperature why the Russians teach their pilots to break left when the rest of the world breaks right if faced with imminent collision?
Maybe Putin needs to talk to the fish

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