Ocean fish threatened by CO2 levels

Dec. 13, 2011 at 8:42 PM

STONY BROOK, N.Y., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The survival of young fish may be in jeopardy from acidification of ocean water caused by increasing concentrations of CO2, U.S. researchers say.

In a study, survival of young fish diminished as seawater's CO2 concentration rose to levels scientists expect to see between 2050 and 2100, ScienceNews.org reported.

Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York found in just-fertilized eggs of an estuarine fish knows as silversides, hatchling survival fell steadily from about 50 percent at current pH values, about 410 parts per million CO2, to about 10 percent at 1,000 ppm, a concentration scientists predict could occur by 2100 as greenhouse gas levels rise.

There was little survival risk to hatchlings that as eggs had incubated in normal pH water when they were placed in water with a 600 ppm CO2 level, researchers said.

"This indicates that most of the risk to survival occurs during the egg stage," Stony Brook's Hannes Baumann said.

CO2 values near 600 ppm could occur within 40 years, and even if CO2 emissions stabilized tomorrow ocean acidification would climb for another 50 years, he said.

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