Researchers from the University of Washington and NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center revealed in a new study that rising carbon dioxide levels in the oceans are harming sea creatures in ways we’ve never believed as possible. Accordingly, salmon lose the sense of smell due to carbon dioxide.
“Their sense of smell is very important in their whole life,” said Chase Williams, the lead author of the study published in Global Change Biology Monday, cited by CBC Canada. “Understanding how potential chemistry changes in the ocean would affect that sensory function for them is definitely an important question to answer,” Williams added.
Salmon usually depend on their sense of smell to avoid predators, find a mate, discover food, or find the way back upstream. Without their sense of smell, salmon are doomed to extinction, in the end, as they wouldn’t be able anymore to live their existence as they’ve used to.
Salmon Lose The Sense Of Smell Due To Carbon Dioxide
The researchers analyzed silver salmon, commonly found in the Alsek-Tatshenshini River system in Yukon. According to the scientists, the oceans suck the CO2 from the air, which is lowering the pH of the water when it accumulates.
The study’s result revealed that salmon lose the sense of smell due to CO2 accumulation in the oceans, and “there is definitely enough evidence that it is worrisome,” as Chase Williams said. “[Carbon dioxide] is actually altering the way their brain actually processes the signals they are picking up,” he added.
Pacific Northwest salmon are such a huge part of the ecosystem they’re also hugely important culturally and economically. It just shows that increasing atmospheric CO2 and the corresponding increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the oceans are having wider ramifications than we initially understood,” concluded Chase William, the study’s leading author.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.